During the semester break, the Career Development Service (Office of Student Success) and ACU International collaborated with six other NSW Universities to be involved in the 2017 UniVative program.
For the first time, eighteen International and Domestic ACU students were given the opportunity to participate in this established Study NSW funded program.
UniVative takes students out of the classroom and into industry. Working together in small interdisciplinary teams, students were placed with a host company. The host company set each team a challenge, with a problem or issue which reflected an actual need of the organisation. Each host company had four different university teams, all working on the same problem. Teams competed with each other to provide their hosts with the most creative and workable solution.
ACU teams were placed with three highly reputable companies: Nickelodeon, Clickview and Bupa. Projects ranged from creating a BUPA app that could support international students and new immigrants to find appropriate medical information, to establishing a presence for Clickview in the primary school market. Nickelodeon teams had the challenge of devising ways to establish Nickelodeon as the go to place for online gaming that is both family friendly and included safety strategies for the younger market of gamers.
Over the course of three very intense weeks the ACU teams put their discipline knowledge, design thinking skills, business savvy and creativity to the test. Each team presented a business case report which they then presented in person before their host company judging panel. Career Advisers, Kathryn Williams and Linda Reardon were delighted to be a part of such a comprehensive, intense, team consulting and skill building opportunity. Careers Advisers were assigned to University teams, to offer mentorship and support through the process. Introductory and debrief sessions were also crucial to this process, allowing students to link their experiences to the development of key employability skills.
The program culminated in an awards night held at UTS; where students from participating Universities gathered together in the Great Hall UTS to announce the winners for each organisation. ACU students were highly commended by their host organisations and enjoyed a night of networking with potential employers and students from other institutions.
ACU students reported their growth in the areas of team building, communication and negotiation. Students acknowledged their appreciation of the valuable opportunity to gain a unique insight into industry, and each was able to significantly grow their professional network.
UniVative is unique, providing students with an opportunity to learn and practice their skills in an established professional environment. The program has enabled collaboration and fostered strong team building skills between international and domestic students across all levels and disciplines. Furthermore, the students reported that strong friendships were developed not just between ACU students but with the students from other participating universities.
"I went into UniVative wanting to go beyond my own breaking points. The most gruelling yet rewarding experience was in fact journeying with my team mates. Successfully managing the various skills, personalities and attitudes of my peers, whilst achieving required outcomes has truly enriched my character both personally and professionally." Patrick Hii, ACU student and Team Leader for the ACU/Clickview project team.
For students and staff wanting more information on working with the Career Development Service please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Reardon & Kathryn Williams ACU Career Development Service