University of Sydney graduates are the most employable in Australia, and the fourth most employable in the world, according to the 2017 QS Graduate Employability Rankings. But what does that really mean? Why are our graduates so well-equipped for the workforce? The answer lies in Sydney's vast spectrum of career-building programs and opportunitines available to students from day one.
QS Rankings move past employment rates to give a more in-depth indication of how universities are perceived in the global graduate jobs market, how well-connected the universities are to the professional world, and the quality of employment outcomes achieved by graduates.
More often than not, employers look beyond course-knowledge for skills, attributes and experiences gained outside the classroom. A large part of our graduate success is owing to the plethora of careers services and programs offered at the University.
"Employers value students who can provide evidence of transferable professional skills and attributes including strong communication skills, a collaborative approach and the ability to adapt to new challenges," says Karen Cavanaugh, Career Development Manager at the Careers Centre.
There’s no shortage of ways that the Careers Centre helps prepare students for the workforce from their first year. The Centre guides students through career decision-making and each step of the job-hunting process, with workshops on a range of topics including interviews, job applications and even psychometric testing.
While these opportunities are opt-in, an overwhelming number of students show an eagerness to take advantage of the services and prepare for their future. The Careers Fairs continue to reach capacity attendance, with students soaking up advice from leading Australian and international employers. Students have the opportunity to ask questions, as well as finding out what a competitive candidate looks like in a constantly evolving workforce.
"Attending Careers Fairs and Employer Information Sessions, as well as accessing job vacancies on Sydney CareerHub, are great starting points for students to identify opportunities to gain experience and further develop their professional skills.”
"We encourage students to build evidence of the skills employers want right from first year by getting involved in extracurricular activities including University clubs and societies," says Ms Cavanaugh.
There are also a number of programs available within specific faculties and schools, to help students prepare for and connect with their industry.
Tin Shed’s Gallery is a contemporary exhibition space, designed as a platform for students to display their work alongside that of industry professionals. It facilitates discourse between students and the industry by fostering public debate through the production of research-led exhibitions, publications and related activities.
ArtSS Career Ready runs professional development workshops, helping students to develop skills to succeed in job applications and interviews. They also connect students with exclusive internship opportunities, which can sometimes earn you credit for your degree.
With a designated Careers and Employability Office, the Business School runs a number of programs to help students get a jumpstart on their careers. Job Smart allows students to develop work-relevant skills and build their networks, while the Industry Placement Program provides an opportunity for students to work for a leading firm as part of their degree.
For the first time this year, the Careers Centre is hosting a Teach Abroad Careers Fair, allowing students to meet with education recruiters looking to fill teaching positions from around the world.
There are also a number of industry and employer-related scholarships available to Education and Social Work students. These support students during their placements, and give recipients a competitive edge.
Undergraduate engineering students undertake an internship during their fourth year, gaining invaluable practical experience. The faculty’s Jacaranda Engineering Consultants program offers industry placement opportunities for students who haven’t independently sourced an internship.
Students can also present their projects to industry professionals at the annual Research Conversazione.
The Leadership Development Program comprises four separate initiatives including peer mentoring, alumni mentoring, and two leadership programs that help students gain access to industry leaders and senior students. Last year, the program was selected as a finalist in the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards.
Students can earn credit for a clinical placement, thanks to the Social Justice Program. The school is partnered with community legal centres and law firms involved in public interest law, allowing students to gain practical experience while making a difference to meaningful causes.
Students can gain both experience and credit from a professional practice internship. This could include placement in regional conservatoria, providing an opportunity to work with younger musicians and their teachers.
Jumpstart your Science Career has been running for over a decade, so they’ve got the event down to a science. Occurring every semester, it’s an opportunity for students to meet with employers, industry experts and alumni from a variety of backgrounds. Register now for the event on 12 April.
One of the best ways to gain experience is through extracurricular leadership activities, according to Sarah Fletcher, the Director of the Business School’s Careers and Employability Office.
“We are constantly speaking with our employer partners so that we can work with our students in best equipping them for graduate recruitment and success in the workforce,” says Ms Fletcher.
“We encourage students to take on leadership roles and opportunities in programs such as Peer Mentoring, Alumni Mentoring and in clubs and societies. There is no better way to demonstrate the leader you want to be than by taking part in these types of programs.”