Businesses are shaping the future workforce by taking on university students as interns as part of the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program.
It’s a win-win situation – businesses sign off on projects they don’t have the time or resources to do, while students attain invaluable workforce experience that can set them up for their career.
Curtin student Simon Ho on how the WIL program has helped him.
WIL Adviser Emma Williams, who is stationed at Curtin University in the business school, was approached by workplace rehabilitation service Incite Solutions Group for a student who could create a client portal for ex-veterans.
As Williams has access to more than 8000 students, she was able to match Incite with third year Commerce student Simon Ho, who is majoring in IT, and was keen to extend his skills.
Despite being his first time in a workplace, Ho impressed his employer so much that they decided to hire him on a more permanent basis.
Ho says he was able to plan and execute the portal using programs he had never used before.
“There were ups and downs throughout the project using a content management system, which was WordPress,” he says.
“Most of the time it was fine but there were times where it was a bit challenging and I had to really use online resources to help me achieve my goal.
“Once the project and the internship came to an end, I started working at Incite Solutions once a week.”
Ho says he gained technical skills and workplace experience that will give him the competitive edge when he completes his degree early next year and steps out for full-time work.
“I just think it’s a great program. It’s very beneficial and more students should take advantage of it because honestly, it doesn’t take money, it doesn’t take any resources and it opens up a lot of experiences and opportunities for you,” he said.
Williams says about 350 students completed internships this year with about 250 companies.
Internships are offered across the full spectrum of business relevant disciplines including accounting, finance, economics, HR and IR, information systems and technology, logistics and supply chain, international business, advertising/public relations and event management.
Williams meets with host companies to help structure the internship then matches them university students.
IT interns can support an IT team to implement or maintain hardware, software and other systems, undertake specific projects to troubleshoot or research systems, write and update documentation.
They can also potentially be involved in cybersecurity, programming, analytics and data centre management projects.
Most businesses can host a student in an internship. Many come back with new projects after realising the benefits.
► Find out how you can participate in CCIWA’s Work Integrated Learning program here.