Consultancy during COVID-19: A National Approach to Providing Advice

The world is turning digital in an unprecedented rate. High touch industries are turning virtual and new skills are needed to meet the demands of new business models. Nowhere is this more evident than in the $5.5bn consulting advice industry in Australia.

The launch of the ACU Faculty of Law and Business Consultancy Hub is a proactive response to this challenge. The Hub enables IT, Business and Law students to work remotely with ACU’s partner organisations, providing much needed advice while developing students’ employability skills.

 “The success of the student consultancy hub has been extraordinary. It has enabled us to engage with organisations in a most innovative, productive and mutually beneficial way. Students are gaining invaluable employability, IT and project management skills whilst giving back to the community by supporting NFPs who are under resourced and missing IT capability and capacity,” stated Maxine Bradshaw Manager- Strategic Partnerships ACU Faculty of Law and Business.

One organisation currently benefiting from this innovative new approach to university partnerships is the Brisbane Paralympics Football Program (BPFP) accessing both HR and legal skills.

Melbourne based Third year HR students Dayna Blundo and Sienna Plazovnik are working on two essential projects; developing the procedural manual for BPFP volunteer recruitment and management and the operational manual for student placement, management, onboarding and support. Graham Lee Operations Manager, who regularly meets with the student HR consulting team via Microsoft teams and zoom, states

“BPFP is absolutely delighted to be working with both the HR consulting team and the Law Pro Bono team of students based in Sydney and Melbourne who are working on codes of practice and compliance requirements of Bluecard under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000.

Another organisation benefiting from the national base of The Hub is Impact for Women, an organisation dedicated to supporting Victorian women and children fleeing from extreme violence at home.

A project team of talented IT students based in North Sydney, teamed with a group of marketing students spread across Melbourne and North Sydney, are working with the organisation to develop and enhance the design of the website and develop the marketing strategy, demonstrating that location is no longer the key to consultancy success as virtual teams become the norm.

For students working in cross disciplinary, virtual teams provides invaluable contemporary workplace experience. Virtual weekly meetings with members of the board and management allow the marketing team members from Sydney and Melbourne to collaboratively develop a sustainable marketing plan for the organisations fund raising and advocacy endeavours.

Consulting to the NFP has also ensured the IT team rethink their own approach to communications.

“When we presented Impact for Women founder and president Kathy Kaplan OAM with our initial website analysis report it was an invaluable experience because we had to use plain English speak instead of IT jargon in order for the client representatives to understand our preliminary analysis of their website.” explained Anitha Kurian, final year Master of Information Technology student.

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