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Looking beyond an Internship

Looking Beyond An Internship

Joshua Tinner, Placement Consultant At Outcome.Life, Discusses Long-Term Planning And How To Prepare For Your Post-Internship Career

What's next?

So you’re approaching the end of your studies and, having realized that you need to ‘boost’ your resume with some practical workplace experience, you have lined-up an internship to round-out your education. Fantastic! But have you thought about what will happen when the internship is finished?

Many soon-to-be graduates forget the importance of practical experience in kick-starting their career but simply completing an internship isn’t the solution to inexperience. As with all things in life, planning several steps ahead is key to unlocking the potential of your studies and starting your career on the best footing possible.

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

The first step in your planning is to remember the purpose of doing an internship: an internship is a means to an end, and that end is your first career-relevant full-time job. Keeping your eyes on the prize will focus your thinking and help your thinking and help you maximize the opportunities that an internship will present, making sure that everything is geared towards moving into employment.

Now that your vision is firmly locked on target, here are some ways to squeeze your internship for every drop of advantage:

1. Up-skill into career-relevant skills. Every industry has a universal set of skills that you need, whether it be the ability to use specific software or understanding how to navigate a particular bureaucratic process. Demonstrating this knowledge is a critical way to get an advantage over people without practical experience. Once you’ve found these skills, your internship is the best time to practice them!

2. Learn your marketFind out who the trendsetters are, which companies specialize in what areas, in which fields there are (and are not) strong innovators, and other localized industry information. This kind of knowledge is something you will only pick-up by involving yourself with your host company and it will give you a fundamental  understanding of how your industry operated over the long term.

3. Find out where your industry is goingObviously, if you’re looking to your future career then you need to know what the future will look like! Understanding what’s changing and what might be around the corner will give you an advantage in your learning, guiding you to what skills to pick-up to be ready for ‘tomorrow’ and showing employers that you have a forward-thinking market. 

 

How to expand your network:

4. Form strong professional relationships with your workmates. The people you intern with will be the ones to start your network, so make sure those relationships are strong! The ability to get along with people is particular important in Australia where we value affability over skills. if you struggle with this skill, don’t worry: ask your supervisor for help and they’ll give you some specific tips as to how to get in your colleague’s good books.

5. Get to know other people in the industry. This is how you ensure your long-term success in your career. Jobs, advice, healthy debate, upcoming changes: all these and more are fed through people’s networks and it is critical that you get yourself out there and meet as many as new people as you can. (This point is so important that we have devoted an entire blog article to this alone, so go read that!)

If you follow-through on each of these five points, you will finish your internship with an ‘unteachable’ advantage over graduates without practical experience. Now it’s time to put your plan into action and start building your career.

Joshua Tinner is part of the placement team at Outcome.Life. As part of this team, Joshua talks to new students and host companies every day about the importance of work-integrated learning. With several years’ experience in people-focussed industries, Josh is always up for a chat and his booming voice can often be heard echoing down Hardware Lane! Josh is a life-long student of the humanities and envisions a world where a balance exists between education making us well-rounded members of society whilst also practically preparing us for our working lives.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Having lunch with your Supervisor

Having lunch with your supervisor

Stephenie Pulis, COO At Outcome.Life, Discusses How To Leave A Lasting Impression On Your Supervisor

It's all about the team culture

A huge component of any Australian workplace is the building of a great team culture. This workplace culture is built by all staff, including interns.

Many businesses run team building events on a weekly or monthly basis in order to build their culture. These events can include dinners, lunches, or time away from the business that involves some sort of socializing. If this happens during your internship, you need to make sure you are engaged in these activities as much as possible.

The reason businesses focus on culture-building activities is because teams operate better when people work cohesively. Often it’s the personal aspects of each teammate’s lives that allow for bonding on  a personal level, in turn engaging the team in more productive work, better developed team ethics, and a better understanding of each team members’ motives and behavioral quirks that make us who we are.  

As an intern, you can use this to your advantage. Embedding yourself as an integral component of the workplace family will help you to build your professional network and, of course, stand out as  a perfect candidate for future positions within the organization.

Now that we can see how team culture is created, we have to think of the right way to go about embedding yourself in team culture. A great way is to ask your supervisor to go to lunch with you. 

At what point in your internship you should ask? 

This depends on the relationship you have already developed with your supervisor, however a suggested time in your internship might be towards the  halfway point. If you’ve been there a few weeks and you’re starting to understand a little more about the business and how your supervisor works, you should have a great starting point for conversation during the lunch.

How to request the lunch date? 

Asking your supervisor to go to lunch can be daunting but it doesn’t need to be. Given that most Australians are fairly laid back, a supervisor is often happy to have a casual lunch to get to know the people working around them.

When asking your supervisor to lunch you should do so in a way that is comfortable for you. Something simple such as “Hi I would like to take you for lunch one day this week  if you have some spare time?”

This allows them to have a choice yet sets a timeframe in which you would like to do it. 

Preparing yourself for lunch

The first thing you should do is prepare a few questions that will help you better get to know your supervisor. There is nothing worse than going to lunch with someone who sits there silently. Your questions should allow you to learn a little more about your supervisor as a person, both in and out of the workplace, whilst staying in line with your interests. This is so you can continue the conversation and add in a bit about your life (don’t forget that your supervisor also wants to get to know you!).

Some examples of good questions to ask are listed below. Asking them about what sports or sporting teams they go for is always a great conversation starter, especially if you also enjoy sport. Australians tend to love sport and this will potentially allow you to both share about something you’re passionate about.

You might have seen a really funny movie on the weekend, so asking if they have seen it and making a recommendation is another way you can get to learn more about their likes and dislikes on a personal level.

You may also like to learn more about the career of your supervisor, so asking “how did you get to your current position” will open up a conversation about their career path and will often lead you down an interesting road.

Of course you could always have some open questions in which you ask them for suggestions about what you could be doing right now to propel your career. 

One word answers

It is likely your supervisor is going to ask you questions in return (this is part of your goal!). When answering these questions, try not to answer with one-word answers as this tends to halt a conversation very quickly.

For example, if your supervisor asks you if you have an AFL team and you know nothing about it, you can respond by saying “I actually don’t know much about AFL but it is on my bucket list to go to a game during the next season. Is there a team I should be barracking for?”

Or you could say “I’m not the biggest fan of AFL. I grew up watching soccer and cricket and I am an avid supporter of the Liverpool Fotball Club. Do you watch any soccer?”

It really doesn’t matter what your answer is as long as it’s not ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ without any explanation!

Try not to pig out!
This goes without saying: don’t pig out or order super messy food! The same goes for the opposite: don’t ask someone to have lunch with you and just order one spring roll. It can be awkward for your lunch companion as well, so just make sure you behave the same way you might if you were having an important lunch with the Queen!

Express your gratitude

A personal lunch is a great time to thank your supervisor for the experience they have provided to you. Showing appreciation for not only the opportunity of the internship but the time they’re taking to spend with you during that lunch will always be well received. You never know: your supervisor might share some appreciation for you as an intern and the work you have done at the company. This is a great step towards employment!

The most important thing to remember when having lunch with your supervisor is to be yourself! Just like you want to get to know them, your supervisor wants to know the real you. If a supervisor feels they understand and trust a member of their team it helps to break down walls and delivers a much more authentic experience. Never forget that people do business with people and showing true colors helps to build trust and authenticity.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Expanding your Professional Network

Expanding your Professional Network

Joshua Tinner, Placement Consultant at Outcome.Life, discusses the importance of 'who you know' and how to grow your contacts list

Utilizing your network?
What does this even mean?

People often talk about ‘utilising your networks’, ‘expanding your connections’, and ‘it’s who you know not what you know’, but what does this actually mean? How do you professionally connect with people, and once you’ve done that how does it give you any advantage?

It is often said about Australia that the overwhelming amount of available jobs are never advertised but only passed through word-of-mouth. Australians are well-known for hiring people based upon who the person is behind the skillset, that is to say that your personality matters as much as (if not more than) the skills that you possess. Of course, the best way to show someone your personality is to talk to them: this is where your network comes into play!

How it works

By having a large and strong network of professionals, you increase your chances of knowing someone (or knowing someone who knows someone else) that is hiring. The advantage this gives you is that you can strike-up a conversation with the hiring person if you already know them, or have your mutual connection introduce you if you do not. This conversation is effectively an informal interview for the position and you may secure the job from this discussion without ever submitting an application.

Here’s an example of how this works.

At an industry networking event, you start a conversation with someone that works in your industry. You get along well and in the conversation you end up mentioning that you’re currently looking for a job. The next day you message this person and thank them for their chat, to which they message you back saying that a business they have worked with before is looking to hire someone with your skill set. This person kindly offers to take you out to coffee with their friend that still works there and voilà: you’ve got yourself an informal interview!

 

You may think this scenario sounds fanciful, so think of it this way: it is not
uncommon for advertised jobs to get more than one hundred times as many applications as there are vacancies. If this many people get rejected from applications, how does anyone get a job? Once you start talking to people in the industry, you will see just how many ‘applied’ for the roles they currently occupy. So now we know why it’s so important to expand your professional network, of course the next question is how to do it.

How to expand your network:

There are two main ways you can expand your network:

1. Have people you already know make introductions. If you already know some people in your industry, whether you’ve worked with them before or they’re a friend from university, ask them if they would mind introducing you to their colleagues. This is certainly the easiest way to start building network and is a great way of keeping touch with many people.

2. Go to networking events. And again, go to networking events! It is impossible to overstate how important this is for building and maintaining your professional network, to say nothing about the useful information formally discussed during the presentation at the event. People go to these events to build their own networks and employers attend to scout for new hires so you must, make sure you regularly attend such events and that you talk to new people every time. 

When it comes to it, building your professional network is no different to making new friends. There are many different tips and tricks, but at the end of the day the most important step to take is the first one: just get out there out there and start talking to people!

Joshua Tinner is part of the placement team at Outcome.Life. As part of this team, Joshua talks to new students and host companies every day about the importance of work-integrated learning. With several years’ experience in people-focussed industries, Josh is always up for a chat and his booming voice can often be heard echoing down Hardware Lane! Josh is a life-long student of the humanities and envisions a world where a balance exists between education making us well-rounded members of society whilst also practically preparing us for our working lives.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

10 Things To Do Before Your Internship Ends

10 Things To Do Before Your Internship Ends

Domenic Saporito, co-founder of Outcome.Life, discusses the top things that you should do before finishing your internship to maximise your employability

Congratulations - you're halfway!

So it’s week 6 of your internship. Things have been going great. You have learnt lots and met heaps of new people. So what now?

Well, unless you were thinking of going on to more study, this is the best time to start taking steps to secure a job. After all, the whole purpose of an internship is to give you the local relevant experience that employees are after. 

Work On it

Here are 10 tips that can make getting a job at the end of your internship happen:

1. Check-in with your Host Company if there is a role for you.
Let’s face it, your Host Company will spend 10-12 weeks training you in your role. You have made yourself indispensable by doing great work, turning up on time, being a great person to be around, and adding value to the business. If this is the case, why wouldn’t your Host Company want to keep you? If they let you go, they will only have to train someone else. So you are actually doing them a favour!

2. Start applying for similar roles with other companies.
The best time to get a job is when you already have one. I am sure there is a ton of psychology that can explain this, but all I know is that businesses do not like to wear a learning curve of a new graduate. They love the idea that someone else, a competitor, has trained you up for a role with them previously.

3. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date.
In Australia, your LinkedIn profile is as important as your resume. Make sure your profile is up to date with the new skills that you have learnt. Make sure you have a recent photo… of your head only, and you are smiling! LinkedIn is about careers, not education.

LinkedIn small logo

Be the best version of yourself

4. Make sure every person at your Host Company knows who you are and what you do.
Aussies love to refer to good people to their friends and acquaintances. If your Host Company can’t employ you, someone at the Host Company knows someone who can employ you if you’re a good person that does good work. Don’t be the best kept secret at your Host Company and make sure you are connected on LinkedIn.

5. Having lunch with someone every day.
Every day is an opportunity to have lunch with someone that may be your future employer, or will refer you to your future employer. If you are an International Student, you have probably just spent around $100,000 on an education. This is not the time to save a few hundred dollars by bringing your lunch to an internship. Sharing a meal or a coffee with someone every day during your internship expands your professional network. Don’t compromise building your network to save a few dollars.

6. Let recruiters know you are skilled up and ready to go.
You are no longer a graduate with no local or relevant experience. You now have skills employers want, meaning you are much easier to place for recruiters. Let them know about your found skills and that you are looking for a role. 

Network and Demonstrate your Skills

7. Tap into your personal and professional networks.
Hopefully, you have been attending meetups and networking events relevant to your industry and discipline. If not, why not? What are you waiting for? Approximately, 85% of all jobs in Australia are filled through your network and are not advertised online. Meetups are a great way to build the exact network that can deliver you a job. Remember, no employer wants to pay a recruiter $5,000 to $10,000 for a graduate with relevant experience. Meet your future employer at a meetup and let them know you are available.

8. Get permission to show examples of your work.
A picture tells a thousand words, so the best way to demonstrate your technical ability to a future employer is to showcase your work. This includes work that you have completed during your internship. However, you must respect your Host Company’s confidentiality and intellectual property. Ask your supervisor what you can and can’t show to a prospective employer. They may allow you to simply remove the sensitive parts of the project and show the rest in a portfolio.

Expect the unexpected

9. Have your “elevator pitch” ready. Everyone you meet from now on is a prospective employer, or a referrer to a prospective employer. When you meet someone you have less than one minute to let them know why they should hire you. Don’t be the best kept secret! A well-rehearsed elevator pitch that articulates exactly who you are and what you do is how you get an interview.

10. Get feedback on your performance. No one is perfect! So, it is important to constantly ask for feedback on what you can do to get better. Show your willingness to learn from your experiences by showing that you are up for constructive feedback. Take the feedback on board and do something with it. Fill in the gaps by upgrading your understanding with self-learning if you lack technical skills. Just because you have graduated, doesn’t mean you stop learning. Life learning has been more in demand from employers of choice.

Did we miss any? We’re sure there are at least a dozen more things you can do towards the end of your internship to get that job. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. One thing is for sure though, jobs don’t come to you, you need to make it happen. Hopefully, the tips above can help.

Domenic Saporito is the co-founder of Outcome.Life and GADA Technology. Dom has started, run and sold many businesses throughout his career, ranging in industry from property to tech, and even golf! As a business owner, product developer and chartered accountant with 15 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, Dom enjoys sharing his knowledge, insights and advice with international students looking to enter the job market in Australia.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Requesting A Feedback Session With Your Mentor​

Requesting A Feedback Session With Your Mentor

Joshua Tinner, Placement Consultant at Outcome.Life, discusses how to approach your internship supervisor to request valuable feedback on your performance

Asking Does No Harm

We all know that feedback from others is important. When other people see what we don’t, it helps us fix issues we weren’t aware of. It can also offer guidance on our path to self-improvement. Nowhere is this more true than in an internship, given that one of the reasons for being an intern is to get feedback from seasoned professionals.

Despite this, or because of it, feedback can be scary. Asking for feedback can feel like asking someone to tell you everything you’re doing wrong and pick up on all the mistakes that you make. This belief misses the fundamental truth of mentor-intern relations: mentors want to see you succeed!

Be Open To Feedback!

Feedback sessions are not about bringing you down but about giving you tools to succeed. You may feel like you’re doing too much administration and not enough fulfilling work. Maybe you feel like you haven’t received enough guidance on structuring your workday and a productive workload. Formal conversations can be useful in this. You can discuss what you have done, how well you’ve done it, and what you want to be doing. Feedback sessions are perfect opportunities to air any concerns you have about your role in a safe environment.

Also, let’s not forget that feedback sessions are also about positive feedback! These sessions are great platform to talk about your long-term goals. Ask your mentor for extra responsibilities in the areas you find most fulfilling. You never know what you could be doing unless you ask and there is no better time than during these meetings.

Work On It

We all know that feedback from others is important. Now that we’ve gone over why feedback sessions are important, here are some tips on how to approach asking for one:

1. Think about what you want to discuss. Don’t ask only “for a feedback session”, but be specific with some of the items you would like to discuss. This gives you a framework to structure the meeting and provides your mentor some time to pull together targeted feedback.

2. Be polite but confident. Being polite should go without saying (be polite to everyone!) but stress can make us all forget ourselves. Being confident when approaching your mentor shows that you are a professional. This will also set the tone for the meeting to focus on your professional development.

Preparation is a must

3. Schedule the session for the next week.
Even if you already know exactly what you want to bring up, you still need to give your mentor some time to prepare. They also need to gather their thoughts so that you can get the most beneficial feedback. Bonus points if you can get access to your mentor’s calendar. Approach them with the times they will be available!

4. Write down what you want to say.
Everything could be a clear in your head as you walk into the meeting but you never know what you might forget. Be organised!

5. Take notes.
The whole point of this session is to talk about you and your place in the business. If you’re not writing it down, you might forget some of what you discuss. It can also show your mentor that you aren’t invested in your self-improvement or aren’t paying attention.

There we go! You can now successfully combat your fears about receiving feedback. Book for a time next week with your mentor  and write down all the thoughts you’ve got. Now you’re ready to be a professional and start taking long strides along your chosen path.

Joshua Tinner is part of the placement team at Outcome.Life. As part of this team, Joshua talks to new students and host companies every day about the importance of work-integrated learning. With several years’ experience in people-focussed industries, Josh is always up for a chat and his booming voice can often be heard echoing down Hardware Lane! Josh is a life-long student of the humanities and envisions a world where a balance exists between education making us well-rounded members of society whilst also practically preparing us for our working lives.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Effective Workplace Communications

Communicating Effectively in the Workplace

Outcome.Life Placement Coordinator, Jack Clayfield, highlights the importance of effective communication practices with your supervisor, colleagues and clients

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It’s hard to find the right job...

It’s hard to find a job, especially when you are still a student or a recent graduate. You might have sent out more than 50+ applications for jobs and received no answer. It can be so frustrating to continue your job search with little to no positive response.

Don’t lose hope! There exists a master skill that has appeared on job applications since job applications have existed. This skill, if mastered, will single-handedly set you apart from your competition. Any guesses. 

One word – COMMUNICATION.

Communication Strategies

Communication is the process of conveying messages. It could be verbal, non-verbal, written and visual and, it aims for an effective outcome. This is an important management component in any organization.

Due to failed communication, many relationships are gone. But there are various tips and strategies we can do to have effective communication.

Here are some effective communication strategies and tips you should bear in mind:

Our number one tip: Be visible. It’s a major factor in how your employer feels about your performance. Be presentable enough and always be active in the team. 

Our number two tip: Presentations and Reports. It will develop an essential workplace skill. Prepare presentations ahead of time and send reports at the end of each week even if you aren’t asked to. Use visual templates – make them memorable and be proactive – don’t wait for your supervisor, just keep going.

Our number three tip: Spelling and Grammar. Make sure to use correct  spelling and grammar. You can also ask anyone you trust to check your work.

Work on it

4. Communicate the way that your supervisor communicates.
Strong communication with your supervisor is critical to your success in your internship. Finding out how your supervisor prefers to communicate is something that you should do on your first day.

Even if your supervisor doesn’t use the phone, we recommend that you get very comfortable making phone calls. This is an extremely important skill that you should develop.

Our tips:

  • Practice using the phone as much as possible
  • Set a professional voicemail and check it!
  • Always ask someone if they are available to speak when you call them
  • Find out the business’ internal communication software (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Slack, Monday) and learn about it before your first day
  • Have an important reason for communicating and try to address a number of questions in one call

5. Use Your Calendar! This will make you on track. Always relevant subject line so they understand the agenda. Include agenda items in the calendar body and always be on time or early if you set the meeting. 

Whether you are just starting your employment search, internship process or are starting a new job, we hope the above tips and information will support you in establishing your dream career.

Good workplace communication will always be an in demand skill for employers. Have you got a great story about how effective communication strategies helped you into employment in Australia? We’d love to hear about it!

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or get in touch with us via the form below!

Is this the ‘WORLD’S BEST KEPT SECRET’ for Australian Business Owners?

In an economy where resources are stretched more than ever, businesses struggle to find capable talent. With wage costs increasing, many businesses owners find themselves with far more work than available time.  Many would like to engage an intern to help, but simply can’t afford to pay them – but do they need to?

Heralded as the ‘world’s best kept secret’ for business owners, it is not only possible to have an unpaid intern, but very advantageous to do so.  So if you’re under-resourced and time poor (read: everyone!) here’s why you should consider engaging an international student intern, and how you can obtain one:

Why should I consider an international student intern?

A qualified (and possibly experienced) extra set of hands

Every business appreciates an extra set of hands for the projects that they just don’t have time to do themselves.  With interns qualified in areas such as accounting and ICT, there is a vast array of valuable and important projects you can receive assistance with.

What’s more, many international student interns also have work experience, that they obtained previously in their home country.  This means that only minimal training may be required, and you may be able to receive assistance on more senior projects.

Motivation and positivity in droves

No matter how great your business is, it can always benefit from more positive and motivated employees! International students who are at the beginning of their careers in Australia are known for their positivity, motivation and great work ethic, and as such can be a great asset to your team.

Value in diversity

Cultural diversity is so important for any business – organisations that are culturally diverse are more profitable, as well as more innovative, and all employees of culturally diverse organisations are more engaged, and happier at work. International students can also bring particular diversity benefits including the ability to talk to your customers or clients in different languages, and an in-depth understanding of overseas markets and business cultures.

It’s free (legally)

As all business owners would know, it is very difficult to (legally) hire an unpaid intern.

However, when you engage an international student intern, they complete their intern placement (usually 12 week, full-time or part-time) as part of a course called Professional Year, So, it is perfectly legal to engage them in this manner, and one of the only legal ways to do so (vocational placement according to the Fair Work Act).

How can I obtain one?

Outcome.Life is proud to be able to provide businesses with talented and motivated international student interns.  Feel free to contact me at domenic@outcome.life  , reach out via LinkedIn, or give me a call on 0410 662 393 to find out more.

Outcome.Life is a visionary portal that helps to transform the lives of international students through education, connectivity, community, and much more.

Why hiring graduates isn’t a cost to small business

New graduates are stepping out of university and finding it harder than ever to gain employment.

They often turn to the graduate programs offered by large companies, where in some industries they take on hundreds of new recruits annually. For those that aren’t successful in these initiatives, or find themselves in an industry where programs like this don’t exit, it can be cause for concern.

These graduates are particularly reliant on small businesses to fill the gaps.

LinkedIn Insights shows that 80% of small businesses hire graduates but only 12% have formal graduate recruiting programs. These stats illustrate that most small-medium enterprises (SMEs) want to hire graduates but hardly any commit to it becoming a regular aspect of the business through a dedicated system.

The number of applicants far outweighs the number of graduate jobs today and small businesses should be taking advantage of this talent pool available to them. Small businesses in Australia employ around 2.5 million people and without them, the local economy would have difficulty functioning.

So why should small businesses take on a graduate?

It’s a cycle that needs support

As many university and TAFE courses today include a work integrated learning component, students are able to gain experience while studying. This type of work is usually in the form of an internship and is undertaken unpaid.

While some students look at it negatively as they don’t have the potential to earn money, it is somewhat necessary to reduce the cost that they may have on small businesses. Being able to take on a student without the need to pay a full wage makes small business much more inclined to participate as a host company.

It’s a cycle that needs to be supported by both businesses and students to work effectively.

The cost is on the decline

As students are now graduating with more experience than previously, it means that the cost of hiring someone straight out of university is getting lower.

Graduates now usually have some experience under their belts, so when they are getting paid in a graduate or entry-level position, there is less of a cost to businesses again as they can get into regular work quicker.

The learning curve that graduates have traditionally come with is no longer as steep. This is because they will require less time training for basics and will already have an idea of what working in the industry is like.

Host companies can use student internships to their advantage as a way to ‘try before they buy’. A 12-week internship, for instance, can be seen as an extended job interview where an ongoing position can be offered based on this.

Graduates shouldn’t be seen as a cost

Graduates are young and beaming and can bring something new to an office or workplace, as they have the most up-to-date knowledge and education compared to experienced workers.

Those from overseas can prove to be particularly valuable as they have a cultural and global awareness. Graduates can offer a fresh take on things and can adapt quicker as they aren’t used to being buried in bureaucracy.

The last thing that they should be classified as is merely an expense. The view that they may leave after having time invested in their learning shouldn’t be a deterrent as, if you offer them the right conditions, they won’t want to leave at all.

The value that the can add to a business is huge and is often overlooked since it can’t be quantified with a dollar value.

While graduates may not necessarily be able to bring in new business right away, they can offer the perspective that is needed to retain and enhance existing projects.

Why internships aren’t what they used to be

There are more people doing internships now than ever before and this increase didn’t happen overnight. However, it’s not only the increase in students undertaking internships that is noteworthy. It’s the nature of the internships themselves that are different from how they once were.

Back in the day, people only undertook internships, work placements or periods of unpaid work to find out more about an industry. Placements existed to help students gain a better understanding of work in a particular field and guide them in selecting the right subjects or courses to reach their career goals.

Take the Year 10 work experience program, for instance. In theory, it is designed to give students a taste of life at work and help them select the right subjects as they enter Years 11 and 12, to match their preferred career path.

In reality, it’s not like that for all students.

Here’s why internships aren’t the way they used to be.

Internships lead to employment

The kids in Year 10 who are only 15 or 16 years old are already feeling the brunt of how hard it is to find a job, which is why they are using their work experience opportunity to gain experience in an area where they could potentially find employment in the short term.

Many of these students are desperately seeking to undertake their internships at retail stores, with the hopes that they will be hired by the company in a more permanent capacity.

While this is the case at high school, students and graduates at all levels are looking to complete an internship with the intention of it leading to employment.

Graduate Careers Australia found that in 2015, 67.4% of bachelor degree graduates were employed four months after graduating. These statistics combine full-time and part-time work and do not take into account the number of students who are working in fields not related to their area of study.

Students and graduates at all levels of education are feeling the need to intern, as they see that it not only leads to a job, but a job they want.

Internships are no longer an option

Internships are often embedded in courses, even at tertiary level. Education providers are seeing the need to give students practical experience and have introduced compulsory requirements of courses that involve internships.

These courses do not give students the option to intern. Rather, it is mandatory.

As these internships are completed by students already locked into their preferred course, they are not designed to help them discover their desired area of study, but again have a focus on obtaining experience for future employment.

This is another reason why internships aren’t fulfilling the purpose they once were designed to achieve.

Experience is expected

Employers don’t want to hire someone with only the theoretical knowledge learnt at university or TAFE.

It’s now an expectation that work experience has been completed to complement studies. Some students even actively seek courses involving a working component, over courses that do not offer such a thing.

The existence of the Professional Year program for internationals is an example of this. Designed with work experience front and centre, the course aligns with the nature of internships today, and that is, that internships are a vital pathway to gaining permanent employment.

With a shift in the role that they play, internships are now more important than they have ever been, as they’re no longer just to get an insiders look into an industry, but rather a foot in the door.

Why startups and education providers should go hand in hand

Innovation and startups are set to be the future of the Australian, and possibly even global, employment landscape.

However, educational institutions place a greater  emphasis on students and graduates obtaining employment in established companies in favour of startups.

With reports stating that the concept of automation will see five million Aussie jobs gone in the next 10 to 15 year,  Australians should be thinking about their current skill set and the changing nature of the industry they are in to ensure ongoing employment..

           The alliance between  industry, including startups and educators, has never been more important.

Australia needs to maintain and advance upon our global ranking of 7th in the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Index.

Despite this seemingly high ranking, Australia still has a relatively low rate of startup formation for a developed nation.

Education providers need to be taking this into account in not only the types of courses they offer, but also the components taught in existing courses, including more emphasis on startups.

Greater emphasis on startups in courses

Universities usually encourage their graduates to find employment at large, multi-national companies, as these are traditionally seen as employers of choice

However, there should be a push for graduates to think about joining startups and/or starting their own business from early on, ideally when they are still students and generally don’t bare financial and family responsibilities .

While financial limitations will hamper young students’ ability to start their own businesses, it should be ingrained into them that the goal is attainable, even if at a time in the future.

This can be taught in courses and experienced by partnering with the University’s local startup ecosystem; making students feel that they are equipped to commence a business of their own.

Teaching a diverse skill set of entrepreneurial skills, as well as promoting an entrepreneurial mindset,will provide immense benefits for those looking at launching their own startup and putting their ideas into action.

The right working spaces

There is a growing number of co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and small businesses, but not many are aligned with universities, nor designed with students in mind.

Co-working spaces are becoming more niche.  For instance, our Outcome-Hub in Melbourne is a co-working space designed specifically for international graduates to start their own businesses in Australia, rather than in their home country.

Universities are places where this type of co-working should commence. Regular ‘libraries’ are suited to study and research but a greater emphasis needs to be placed on the concept of co-working and the development of business at educational institutions.

Universities should create and promote dedicated spaces open to students at all levels and from all faculties to foster an entrepreneurial environment. This could have dedicated mentors available to allow for greater discussion and implementation of ideas between students.

Interns at startups

Internship opportunities at startups should be pushed so that students can see first-hand how new startup business operate.

Instead, Universities generally encourage their students to take intern roles, as part of courses, at established, long-standing companies where they become a small cog in a very large machine

While this type of experience is also important, students should be given the chance to apply their skills and knowledge in startups where, typically, they are given a greater range of roles and responsibilities.

Interns at startups can also make a greater impact on the business, especially in its infancy. Being resource poor, student interns are encouraged to do more, and think outside the box, something the Universities say they teach, but rarely implement outside the classroom.  The experience in startups for interns is real, rather than observational as it often is at major firms.

If we agree that innovation and startups are set to be the future of the Australian employment, Universities need to incorporate entrepreneurial thinking and experience into their courses.  After all, grass level learnings are always a better way to ingrain important concepts in people’s minds.