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‘Hunger and drive’: why studying at UNSW could land you a top job

More than 90% of UNSW job seekers are in full-time jobs within three months of completing their degree. What makes UNSW graduates so attractive to employers?

When prospective employers interview graduates for a job, it is seldom their academic performance that tops the list of selection criteria.

A survey of 3,296 successful graduates and 166 graduate employers conducted by the Australian Association of Graduate Employers and High Fliers in 2012 found more than 86% of graduate employers rated team work, oral communication, interpersonal and problem solving skills as ‘very important‘ competencies.

More than eight out of 10 of the successful graduates had worked on a part-time or casual basis and 51% had done volunteer work while at university.

 “It’s really not just about academics and the information they have learned, when we’re interviewing it’s more about their hunger and their drive and their genuine interest in the industry,” says Elaina Griffiths, Head of Graduate Acquisition and Development, Australia and NZ at UBS.

Job-ready graduates are sought after employees
Graduates from UNSW are among the most employable in Australia, according to the 2012 Australian Graduate Survey. Employers look to UNSW graduates because their knowledge is largely fact based – they learn about real work scenarios rather than purely theory, meaning they are work-ready when they leave the university.

 “UNSW students come to us with skills that are ready to be applied in the business. With a bit of training they deepen their skill set and they are very good at picking up on instruction and applying it, that represents a big saving in energy for businesses,” says Paul Bailey, Director of Axiom Forensics, a Sydney company specialising in forensic accounting.

UNSW is one of Australia’s leading research-intensive universities. Combining high-quality research with extensive industry partnerships has opened the door for many graduates.

Bluescope Steel is a research partner of UNSW and has employed several graduates after working with them during the UNSW Co-op Scholarships Program, an industry-linked scholarship program providing industry training, professional and leadership development to selected undergraduates in Business, Engineering, Science and Built Environment.

“UNSW has always been one of my preferred providers of people because the students are highly aligned with what we want, as they do their industrial training periods here through the co-op program,” says Phil Barker, Bluescope Steel’s Technical Leader of Polymer Research.

Putting students ahead of the pack
UNSW runs a variety of programs aimed at giving students a stronger competitive edge in the job market. These include the Professional Development Program for international students, which helps them further develop their communication skills in a professional setting, as well as gain practical experience in the workplace through 50-hour internships.

There is also the Advantage Program, in which students can choose from more than 500 co-curricular activities to develop skills such as communication, problem solving and teamwork. All of the activities completed appear on students’ Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement.

“It’s not just a degree that will get you a job. Employers are looking for graduates with teamwork, communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills and it’s important to develop these skills through not only university study but through work experience and extra-curricular activities,” says Taye Morris, Manager of UNSW Careers and Employment.

“It’s this diverse range of experiences that our students are engaged in, as well as our high academic standards, that makes UNSW graduates so highly sought after by employers in Australia and internationally.”

 

For more information about UNSW, visit: www.international.unsw.edu.au

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