Innovative Arts and Social Sciences Work Placement Initiative continues to flourish
11 April 2017
Since its launch in 2015, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ exclusive careers and employment program, ArtSS Career Ready, has grown to a formidable resource both for employers and students alike.
Starting with three organisations, it now offers opportunities at over 15 major corporate, government and not for profit organsations including Westpac, the Commonwealth Bank, NBCUniversal, KPMG and Allianz Australia, as well as the State Government and ACON.
“This is a vital strategic partnership for the University,” said ArtSS Career-Ready Director, Professor Vrasidas Karalis.
“This program connects the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences with the wider, corporate world.
“Our students offer something that those from other backgrounds are missing, that is the interconnectedness of the world. In a globalised economy, this is more important than ever.”
With a primary focus of getting Arts and Social Sciences undergraduates work-ready, ArtSS Career-Ready consists of a two-year schedule that features work preparation workshops in year one followed by paid placements in years two and three.
It has experienced a 100 per cent success rate since inception, with all students participating in the program being offered on-going paid work or confirmation of a graduate placement.
Employers are drawn to it by the unique perspective the Faculty’s students can offer.
“Our students bring with them a high degree of cultural sensitivity and a well-rounded education that contributes to the enhancement of entrepreneurial activity and professional development in the workforce,” Professor Karalis added.
“They can think outside the box and reconfigure the dominant paradigms through which the current activities in the corporate world operate.”
Speaking at a recent briefing session for students, Samuel Maybury from NBCUniversal highlighted the appetite of employers for ArtSS Career-Ready students.
“The calibre of candidates has been amazing,” he disclosed.
“For our five placements, we had over 400 applications and four of the five came from ArtSS Career-Ready.
“Having that broad spectrum and understanding that comes with being an Arts student is very important from our perspective.”
Norma Glenn from Allianz Australia said that ArtSS Career-Ready provides a platform for students to enter the Allianz graduate program with a very high success rate.
“We give the students discrete tasks, which often involves project work, including business transformation initiatives,” she said.
“We’re looking for people who have a natural curiosity and inquisitiveness and ArtSS Career students often tick those boxes.”
Bachelor of Arts student, Bronwyn Cowan who majors in Government and International Relations and French Studies, undertook a placement in Global Economies within Institutional Banking and Markets at the Commonwealth Bank
“It was very much outside my realm of familiarity but it was an incredible learning experience,” she stated.
“My first placement ran for five weeks during the winter mid-semester break and then I returned for another five-week placement during summer.
“I worked quite extensively in asset financing and it’s a wonderful opportunity I owe to ArtSS Career-Ready.”
Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) student, Elizabeth Fuller worked on change management within anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance at Westpac.
“So long as you’re willing to learn and take chances, your contribution will be valued and respected very highly,” she said.
“After my placement, I was lucky enough to be offered a returning role and Westpac’s Scholarships program generously offered funding for me to undertake an exchange as part of my degree to Hong Kong.”
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Economics student, Harriett Goers undertook two placements through ArtSS Career-Ready, at Westpac and KPMG.
“At KPMG I could really tap into my humanities background and encourage people to look at problems in different ways,” she said.
“The feedback I received was that it was really refreshing to have someone from a non-commerce background apply a new set of skills to a fixed process.
“At Westpac, I worked in project management and finance analysis, and they loved my contribution so much that I have now been working there for two years.
“In fact, I created the job by virtue of the opportunity presented to me by my ArtSS Career-Ready work placement.”
ArtSS-Career-Ready reflects the real-world initiatives of the new Sydney Undergraduate Experience, where the University is reimagining its undergraduate curriculum for a better experience and career outcomes for its students.
ArtSS-Career-Ready highlights the need to bridge the gap between theory and application by giving students the opportunity to work on real-world industry, community, research and entrepreneurship projects.
Discover more about the Sydney Undergraduate Experience.