The Lasting Impacts of
Industry and Community Partner
Brimbank City Council
Deep Industry Partnership
- Broad or deep partnerships with industry partners
- Engaging multiple disciplines
- Community engaged
- Engagement of alumni
Key enablers of the RMIT and BCC partnership and WIL initiatives include:
- RMIT’s Industry Engagement Portfolio maintains close ties with past connections and are always looking to develop new opportunities for engagement with Brimbank. They are able to provide the Council with relevant statistical data to validate ideas and connect them to key staff within Schools across the University.
- 59 RMIT alumni across various disciplines are currently working with the City of Brimbank. A great number of alumni have been keen to ‘give back’ by maintaining contact with RMIT and seeking to create new opportunities for RMIT students.
- RMIT is approachable and very supportive of local government.
- Pilot projects are funded to test new approaches and inform the design/scalability of continued projects.
- RMIT’s reputation for quality academics and well-rounded programs was a drawcard for the initial partnership.
- Brimbank City Council are willing to take risks and try new ideas/approaches.
- Trust is important and has been established over many years.
- Reciprocal relationship is further strengthened by a formal 3-year Memorandum of Understanding.
- Brimbank is one of the largest catchment areas for RMIT students.
For more information
The longstanding partnership between Brimbank City Council (BCC) and RMIT University provides a myriad of opportunities for the local council and its community to connect with students and the university through genuine WIL initiatives.
Over 10 years ago an alumni working in the Council reached out to the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT and created the first WIL scholarship for urban planning students. Following the success of the original WIL scholarship, students from RMIT studying community social work were recruited to address the growing issues around diverse and disaffected youth in the council. Since this time, working in deep-partnership together, RMIT and BCC have created the following WIL initiatives for students:
- School of Engineering: students develop practical skills working alongside experienced engineering staff completing footpath and roadside inventory and condition audits, utilising industry technology and systems to report on the condition of the Council’s infrastructure assets.
- School of Mathematics and Geospatial Science: students use heat maps to measure local area temperatures and find ways to keep certain public spaces cooler by planting specific types of trees for each area.
- Across RMIT: students are connected with local secondary schools working with the Community Health Advancement and Student Engagement (CHASE) mentoring program. These RMIT students “buddy” with “at risk” students in the local area.
- School of Art: the Council has commissioned students from the School of Art to create public art, including murals in some areas to encourage a stronger sense of community spirit.
- School of Global, Urban and Social Studies: A new BCC project is currently forming, working with refugees, unemployed and minority groups to increase learning and community participation.
In all cases, RMIT works with BCC to develop projects that support the Council’s strategy and benefit the local community. Where possible, WIL programs are strategically incorporated into the Council’s annual operational plans by aligning timelines of projects with RMIT’s academic calendar.
The depth of partnership between RMIT and BCC extends well beyond RMIT students undertaking WIL projects. Local councils often do not have the budget to undertake research and RMIT can fill these gaps as well as providing consultancy when new ideas need to be tested.
Impact / outcomes
Students: A number of students have been offered professional positions in other organisations based largely on the references and experience they gained through this WIL program. These WIL projects provide students an introduction to work culture within their chosen field.
Community/industry partner: The active partnership between RMIT and BCC continues to strengthen and expand to other discipline areas within RMIT’s programs working with a variety of departments within the Council. There are plans for more WIL rotations, adding more disciplines and a range of community engagement activities for numerous students. In turn, these projects provide the Council opportunity to identify promising new talent for future recruitment.
Teaching Staff: With plans to branch into other WIL approaches, new opportunities are being explored to extend into program discipline areas.
All students undertaking WIL via Brimbank City Council are assessed in various ways, including reflective reports, in line with course requirements.
Based on anonymous feedback surveys completed by students at the conclusion of their placement, RMIT and BCC work closely to identify any issues and take necessary action to implement improvements.
Staff within the Industry Engagement Portfolio at RMIT regularly meet with key contacts at Brimbank to monitor progress of the various relationships via WIL activities in place, and to look at ways to enhance and broaden the RMIT-BCC partnership.
Photo of civil engineering students Andrew Tsacalapolous, Zahraa Tazheli and Javed Khan.