Work experience is vital to get a job

Practical placements crucial for tertiary students

This story appeared in the SMH last December and demonstrates than relevant practical placements while studying is crucial to university students’ job prospects.

When I write graduate resumes, my heart sinks when I see that a client hasn’t completed any work experience in their degree or TAFE diploma.

A report for the Morrison government has warned employment prospects for Australian university graduates have been deteriorating since the GFC, with a growing number of graduates mired in part-time, low-skill and low-paid jobs.

But students who receive work placements as part of their studies get a head-start on their peers, research shows.

Research by Victoria University shows university graduates with work experience are between 15 per cent and 32 per cent more likely to find a high-skilled job by the age of 25.

Yet work experience while studying remains the exception in many of the most popular fields of higher education, including the sciences, management and commerce, humanities, creative arts and IT, with less than 30 per cent of university students enrolled in a unit that includes a work experience component.

The report draws on data from the longitudinal survey of Australian Youth, which has analysed young people and the pathways they followed since 2005. Its shows that Australia’s universities must integrate work experience in to course content.

The popularity of higher education among school-leavers has soared in the past 15 years, rising from 41 per cent of secondary school graduates to 55 per cent between 2005 and 2019.

All other major options – moving directly into the workforce, vocational education and training and apprenticeships and traineeships – have either dipped in popularity or remained static in that time.



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