An area of specific collaboration, which deserves increasing collaborative effort is in providing high quality educational experiences in work-based or oriented environments. Governments, industry, universities and the professions agree that Australia needs graduates who are well-educated and fully employable. Even while studying, Australian university students contribute substantially to the Australian workforce. Internships are intended to enhance work-ready skills, in a structured way that complements and enhances traditional studies. There are many and diverse examples of employers, universities and students engaging in successful programs of this type. There is considerable scope to expand such placements and experiences for the mutual benefit of those involved.
Integrating study and work experience in a systematic way is not new to university experience. The professions have long forged close links between the tertiary education process and the workplace, and other areas have followed suit. There is compelling evidence, however, of an even wider unmet need for generally trained, flexible graduates with relevant experience and enhanced work readiness. Recent progress in this direction has been impressive, but much more can be done.
Universities Australia is currently working with a range of universities and educators and key business and government bodies to explore opportunities to strengthen these relationships.