Student experience, academic rigour, networking opportunities, intellectual enhancement – they’re all important of course. But surely, a university education today, more than ever, is about finding the right job at the end of it all.
International students pay a lot for an Australian education. Let’s be clear about this: it’s a huge investment and the culmination of years of hard work and a typical spend of $60,000 - $100,000 just for the course, before you even consider the living and other costs.
For this outlay, you’d expect a tangible outcome. A job, perhaps? Ideally even a career. A return on investment, in simple business speak. Why else would a young student leave home and family behind to work long hours to help support themselves while studying hard in a foreign land?
These are brave young people. They risk a lot to gain a quality, globally-recognised qualification from an Australian university. Most international students are not from wealthy backgrounds with free access to the Bank of Mum & Dad. They are in Australia, doing it the hard way. They embark on a bachelor or master degree armed with more determination than money. They work in casual, low-paid jobs to help finance their living costs and often commute an hour or more to save on living expenses. Surfing at Bondi and living the dream they are not.
The key motivator for them is work and the prospect of building a future where there are opportunities. These students are looking to better themselves; looking to boost their career chances by moving to Australia and getting the qualification and skills that will help them succeed in a competitive, globalized economy. We should celebrate their grit and determination and give them all the support we can. In a global workplace, we know that recruiters place value in candidates who live and work abroad as a differentiator – it forces them to step outside their comfort zone, which opens up opportunities to develop new skills and life experiences.
At Education Centre of Australia, the focus is all about employability. Operating in Sydney with both Victoria University and Swinburne University of Technology, their international students are supported in a number of ways:
Firstly, they offer a series of soft skills workshops, free of charge, for their students to take during their degree programs. These ‘ECA Advantage’ sessions are designed to develop the skills that employers are looking for, beyond the formal qualification and technical skills that a bachelor or master degree offers. They include interview skills, LinkedIn networking, presentation skills on how to set up a business and so on.
On graduating – and sometimes during the final semester – students are invited to undertake an unpaid 12-week internship in their chosen field. ECA places more than 2,000 interns per year via its ECA Internships department with a dedicated team of 15 supporting work placements.
The results are impressive: 1 in 2 ECA students is offered a full-time job on completion of the internship. At the end of the day, the host companies are looking for skills and the right candidates are not easy to find. The internship is a way for new graduates to demonstrate their skills and attitude within their industry, gain experience and to launch their career. Even if their host company don’t offer them a paid role, the industry experience is frequently a springboard for the intern to land another job.
ECA is looking to expand the internships offering beyond Australia too. That way, graduates will have the choice of an Australian or an offshore placement.
Commenting on the employability of ECA’s graduates, ECA Internships Manager Loren D’Souza said: “It’s a competitive landscape for graduates. There are no longer guarantees that a degree will open doors to a career in Australia or overseas. So, we believe it’s important to give our graduates a head-start in their career. Internships are a great way to do that. For employers, it’s an opportunity to gain fresh perspective and possibly new insights. For graduates, it’s a chance to get real-world industry exposure and shine in a way that it’s hard to do in just a 30-minute interview.”
If you’re an international student with a dream to study and live in Australia, one the fastest growing economies in the world, you should definitely explore the various programs offered by Victoria University and Swinburne University of Technology in Sydney. Not only do these universities offer a range of industry-acclaimed programs to help you develop your career of choice, they provide a multicultural environment where you can learn from peers and experts. They also open doors to various networking opportunities with industry professionals from time to time so you can put your best foot forward in the job market once you graduate. At ECA, you have the added advantage of enhancing your skills to get job ready.
To know more about your options, contact us today. It’s time to make your dream a reality, and do it with the best.