Swinburne College students given real workplace experience

Tuesday 8 April 2014

AMDC and ATC buildings in Hawthorn captured in the morning on the first day of semester 2015.

A unique program at Swinburne College is giving International Students an exclusive insight into Australian workplaces.

English Plus Volunteering, a Swinburne College Group Program which runs for six weeks, is an English language program held at Swinburne University of Technology’s Hawthorn campus. The program gives international students the chance to improve their English skills while undertaking a volunteer placement at an Australian business.

Tim Field, Swinburne College Business Development Manager, said that the students who undertook the one day a week placement- for five weeks and then a final week full time- did it in a range of industries.

“We always try to place the students in an industry that they are interested in working in upon completion of their studies,” Mr Field said.

“So far we have had students working in the not-for-profit sector, local schools, child care, tourism and hospitality industries.”

Ayaka Kondo, a Japanese student who came to Swinburne College to do the English Plus volunteer program, completed her placement at serviced apartment business Quest Hawthorn. During that time she was able to take on a range of different tasks, which included housekeeping and administrative duties.

Ayaka was able to practice her English, gain confidence and exposure to cross-cultural communication in a real-world setting, while also engaging in practical industry experience through her placement. 

“Working at Quest has helped me to practice my English conversational skills. All of the staff have been friendly and have helped me to improve my understanding of the English language,” Ms Kondo said.

Fiona Coles, the Business Development Manager at Quest Hawthorn, said that over the six weeks they noticed that Ayaka began to engage more with the staff.

“Throughout Ayaka’s placement, she learnt new words and was able to gain an understanding of the day-to-day tasks involved with working in a hotel,” Ms Coles said.

“Ayaka was always enthusiastic to come to work and we enjoyed having someone from another culture work with us.”

English Plus Volunteering programs just one of the unique Group Programs offered through Swinburne College, which is a part of Swinburne University of Technology. English Plus Volunteering is available to International students only. You can find out more about enrolling in a course at Swinburne College here.