Lightning Talk Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency Conference 2019

Hitting the Ground Running Driving the Quality of Education through Industry Partnerships (#6)

Ana Delevska 1
  1. Melbourne Polytechnic, Preston, VIC, Australia

The global competitive landscape has imposed pressures on businesses, which want to hire competent and experienced workers to help them thrive in an ever-increasing competitive environment (Borg, Scott-Young & Turner, 2019). This has led to one of the central challenges for higher education providers: to plan and deliver curricula that produces work-ready graduates (Billett, 2009; Trede, 2012). To bridge the experience gap and drive the quality of education, Melbourne Polytechnic (MP) has wholeheartedly embraced reciprocal partnerships with industry to secure work-integrated learning placements for students as an element of their studies. MP’s strategic student-centred targets involve embedding authentic professional experiences in the curriculum to replicate and simulate workplace challenges, where students work with real SMEs to develop solutions to complex business issues.

The overall results are exceptionally positive, the initiative has allowed the institution to strengthen engagement with the industry, add value to the curriculum and incorporate the students’ preparation for the workforce into their academic experience. The benefits these partnerships have yielded are supported with tangible evidence of the students’ increased employability. Now the goal is to ensure continued collaboration between the institution and SMEs, and to pay close attention to the changing needs of businesses in order to continue to align the graduate capabilities with the needs of the industry.

  1. Billett, S. (2009). Realising the educational worth of integrating work experiences in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 34(7), 827-843.
  2. Borg, J., Scott-Young, C. M., & Turner, M. (2019). Smarter Education: Leveraging Stakeholder Inputs to Develop Work Ready Curricula. In: V. Uskov, R. Howlett, & L. Jain (Eds.), Smart Education and e-Learning 2019 (vol. 144, pp 51-61). Singapore: Springer.
  3. Trede, F. (2012). Role of work-integrated learning in developing professionalism and professional identity. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 13(3), 159-167.