In summary

  • Swinburne’s Horizon 2025 strategy includes a highly ambitious moon shot that every Swinburne graduate gets a job
  • Work integrated learning and collaborations with industry play a significant role in achieving this moon shot
  • Industry collaborations also benefit from working closely with universities to train the next generation

In 2021 Swinburne outlined its highly ambitious moon shot that every Swinburne graduate gets a job.

It’s a stretch target, but last year we saw our Bachelor of Accounting and Business Information Technology (Professional) (BABIT) crack the code with 100 per cent of students securing a job (many with multiple offers) before they graduated. Meanwhile, the closely related Bachelor of Business Information Technology (Professional) course (BBIT) saw 86 per cent of students employed, where the remaining 14 per cent chose to continue onto further study at Swinburne. This follows an impressive track record from both courses.

Diveena Bajwa was invited to extend her placement with Reece from 20 weeks to 40, and she was then offered a job with the company.

Class of 2021 BABIT graduate Diveena Bajwa received three job offers before graduating, two of which were from mid-tier accounting firms as a graduate and one of which was an Associate Business Analyst role at Reece – where she undertook her placement and where she works now. She also networked with industry throughout her degree.

“My course exposed me to a range of real-world experiences and industry partners, from graduates to people working in recruitment. Within my first week at uni I was fortunate enough to go to NAB for the day and network with the staff, as well as experience the different departments within the company,” says Ms Bajwa.

Course coordinators Mr Stuart McLoughlin and Dr Janine Muir say it’s not all work integrated learning, although that plays a huge role.

“Ninety per cent of it is work integrated learning (WIL). Our students undertake one 12-month placement or two 6-month placements. They’re not treated as interns; they’re treated as employees,” Stuart explains.

“What we as educators do is present a logical narrative between what they’re taught at university and what industry want. That’s aided by our industry advisory committee which co-designs the curriculum.”

Degrees like this cannot be delivered without strong collaboration across industry. Across both courses, collaborations with industry including PwC, ARQ Group, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, Reece, Fenwick Software, Inlight: Digital Services Melbourne, Pitcher Partners and others enable Swinburne to fully integrate practical training and industry knowledge into what, and how, students learn.

Many WIL students are now overseen by Swinburne alumni, like PwC Manager in Risk and Forensics Consulting, Andrew Cecchin, who studied the BIT.

“Doing the Bachelor of Information Technology course provided me with a fantastic pathway to transition to full time work, but more importantly helped me choose which direction I wanted to head towards with my career. I now mentor students from the same course I graduated from, allowing me to give back and provide guidance, advice and support,” says Mr Cecchin.

Andrew Cecchin graduated from the Bachelor of Business Information Technology (Professional), so he is a mentor who knows what it’s like to be a Swinburne placement student at PwC.

“Knowing that these students are undertaking placement, a key element in helping define their future careers, really inspires my colleagues and I to ensure we continue to drive and support development, learning and upskilling so that they too can truly benefit from participating in an Industry Based Learning experience.”

PwC Head of People and Culture, Catherine Walsh, says the program is a key talent acquisition tool.

“We collaborate with universities such as Swinburne to help build Australia’s workforce of the future, while at the same time enabling us to attract the next generation of talent, particularly in rapidly evolving areas such as data and technology,” says Ms Walsh.

“Industry-based learning programs give high-performing and motivated students a competitive edge. They get the opportunity to earn and learn at the same time, and chart an exciting career path when they graduate. Students bring innovative new thinking to client projects during their placements and many go on to be very successful graduates at our firm.”

Tom Vrsecky (middle) completed his Pitcher Partners placement with two other Swinburne Bachelor of Accounting and Business Information Technology (Professional) students, including Kaitlin Luu (left) and Harry Littleford (right).

Tom Vrsecky received several offers from accounting firms, industry and government organisations before he graduated Swinburne’s Bachelor of Accounting and Business Information Technology (Professional). These included offers from both of his 6-month professional placements: Pitcher Partners and PwC. He now works in the PwC Private Deals team.

“There are plenty of students with good academic results and a strong work ethic. Where I feel my course really prepared me better than most was the focus on networking and professional development through real experiences,” says Mr Vrsecky.

“We attended networking dinners and award nights with course sponsors such as Fenwick Software, Newcrest Mining, Simplot, Pitcher Partners and PwC – these were fantastic opportunities to build connections within industry and refine our networking skills.”

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