Two groups of international ACU students recently worked with NSW government departments in consulting projects and received glowing results. The ACU Faculty of Law and Business 'NSW Government Global Scope Program' offered international students the opportunity to participate in NSW state government consulting projects with the NSW Police Force and the NSW Department of Education.
The six week program involved weekly meetings with business mentors and taught students a range of skills from research and reporting to teamwork, communication, critical thinking, intercultural awareness and leadership.
Supported by a professional management consultant and a set of industry mentors from the two organisations, student teams developed a proposal and business case to solve a real business issue. Both teams presented their business plans to their respective organisations in front of an audience on Friday, October 7 at ACU Tenison Woods House.
Team 1 consisted of six undergraduate business students from the disciplines of Accounting, Finance, HRM, Marketing, Business Information Systems and Management and worked with the NSW Police on a proposal and business strategy on how to increase the awareness of the Police's Facebook page for international students studying in NSW.
Chief Inspector Darren Newman NSW Police, said the team had done an outstanding job. "The level of research was outstanding. They focused on all key areas that we should utilise to make contact (with international students) and have far exceeded my expectations. As a team they have grasped the issue well from the start and I commend them for their analytical thinking," said Chief Inspector Darren Newman.
Team 2 also consisting of six undergraduate international students from France, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines had to deliver a consultation paper to the Department of Education who is grappling with the issue of how to engage business and industry with STEM schools.
Therefore the students had to undertake research to establish the barriers and motivation for business and industry to engage more with STEM schools. The students were also required to develop strategies and recommendations on how the Department of Education can establish closer working relationships between business and schools.
Janette Wilmott, Business Development Officer with NSW Department of Education was as equally impressed, stating the team answered questions they could not. "We want engagement with businesses to help educate kids and the limitations are very difficult," said Janette.
Directing her comments to the team, Janette said, "We're really happy with what you've proposed and you're a delightful team and I commend your integrity - we're happy to work".
Victoria Deudon and Madeleine Gregorio, who were a part of Team 1, say they learnt valuable teamwork, project management skills and consultation skills working with the NSW Police Force.
"Working in a real world situation like this was a great insight into what to expect for my future career," Madeleine says.
Victoria says working on the project was also a great way to meet and work with students from a variety of different cultures. "We had people from Nepal, France and Australia in our group so to have different cultural perspectives was a great experience," Victoria says.
Camilla Cotrim and Neelam Airi, who worked on Team 2, said they would highly recommend the program to future international students. "We all worked really well as a team and the project helped us develop our skills as we learned about the real business world - it's different to university life. It really adds to our university study,” said Camilla.
Neelam and Camilla agreed that working with a mentor with vast experience in the Education Department was one of the highlights of the program."It's great for career development and to get a taste of the real world," Neelam said.
Maxine Bradshaw, Business Development Manager for the Faculty of Law and Business said “I am very proud of all our international students who took up the challenge to undertake this six week real project work with NSW government departments. As the inaugural group of students who participated in the NSW Government Global Scope Program they demonstrated a willingness to embark on a new experience which has helped to develop their employability skills, project management skills, communication skills and an ability to work with Australian business and government departments across diverse groups of individuals.”
“The Faculty of Law and Business is determined to provide international students with genuine opportunities to develop their future employability skills by building close working relationships with business, government and organisations. The NSW Government Global Scope Program forms part of the students’ authentic assessment and the students will receive unit credits as part of a work integrated learning unit. It was very pleasing to hear the NSW department managers state that the international business students provided great insights. I genuinely believe that this project has been transformational for these students. I have witnessed and seen the growth in confidence and personal skills in these international students,” added Maxine.
We wish to thank and acknowledge the business leaders and mentors who have supported these students along this journey, Janette Wilmott – NSW Department of Education, Chief Inspector Darren Newman - NSW Police, Veronica Millar, Policy and Programs Officer- NSW Police, Det Supt Gavin Dengate - NSW Police. Mentors Suzy Watson CFO -, Intersective, Krista Walters, Management Consultant - Intersective Program delivery team Alison Li, Executive and Operations Officer. Intersective delivers the program for the NSW government and we wish to acknowledge and thank the program coordinator Sophia Demetriades, Strategic Relationship Manager, and Jason Davison HR Project Analyst.