With the return of Parliament this week, Christopher Pyne has vowed to once again put his failed plan for $100,000 university degrees before the parliament for a third time.
Instead of wasting their time trying to convince the Australian people that their plan for $100,000 degrees is good for students, Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne should instead be focused on improving employment outcomes for Australia's university graduates.
Our graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to find employment once completing their studies.
Figures from Graduate Careers Australia reveal the growing problem in graduate unemployment, with 31.4 per cent of new graduates seeking full-time work four months after graduation in 2014.
Given the growing gap between graduation and employment, more must be done to ensure that graduates are prepared for work after graduation.
While the experience of parttime work for university students in order to pay the bills was once enough in the eyes of employers, industry is now screaming out for greater access to graduates with industry specific experience.
Work Integrated Learning is a practise whereby universities partner with employers to provide placements and practical industry experience to university students. It is designed to improve employment outcomes for our graduates.
While student placements in many professional degrees such as teaching and medicine have been incorporated as part of the degree, industry and employers are calling for meaningful industry specific work placements to be included in a much wider number of disciplines.
Far from the obligatory work experience week where students file or undertake some otherwise menial task, an industry specific work placement is designed to expose students to the core undertakings of the business; experience that can then be applied and compared to their in-class studies.
The purpose of Work Integrated Learning is to expose students to the practicalities of their chosen field of study from early on, stoke their interests and ultimately lead to improved graduate knowledge and employability while building greater industry connections.
Not only will this help bridge the gap between graduation and employment for our university graduates, but will also make our graduates highly competitive and desirable against intense international competition in the labour market.
Anecdotally, many industry specific work placements have led to fulltime employment post-university, with employers often keen to take on graduates with whom they have an existing relationship and who they know have the knowledge and skillset required for the job.
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