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Media Release

October 24 2007

International students network new opportunities in engineering

UniSA finds work experience for international student engineersThey have the skills set, the qualification and the enthusiasm, and now through an innovative new workshop series, a group of postgraduate engineers from overseas will have more of what it takes to land the jobs.

UniSA, with funding from the SA Department of Trade and Economic Development, has designed special workshops to bring together international students and engineering employers, helping to boost SA’s engineering workforce by encouraging international students to stay on and work in SA beyond graduation.

To date more than 120 international students have attended the workshops and been involved in workplace learning from August through to October to hone their communication skills, learn more about Australian workplace culture and how to apply their skills in the engineering industry context.

More than 70 places for work integrated learning, including volunteering, work experience and work shadowing, were made available for students over the six-month project.

On October 25 they will “graduate” from the program a little wiser and more confident about finding employment in SA. The event will be held at the Mawson Centre, Mawson Lakes from 4.30 - 6.30 pm.

According to UniSA manager Career Services Frederick Stokes-Thompson, the whole experience has been a win win for students, local industries and the state.

“It is great for students to get special insights into the working world, the opportunities available for work in particular engineering fields, and to find out more about what to expect as an employee in Australia, but it is also very exciting for employers to get a real measure of the talented graduates from other countries who are ready and keen to work in SA,” Stokes-Thompson says.

“Many of these students go on to become long term or permanent residents in SA. We hear a lot about skills shortages and the brain drain out of Australia but programs like this help to balance the scales by attracting highly skilled professionals to the state and encouraging them to stay here.”

Stokes-Thompson says State Government support for the project through DTED has been invaluable and feedback from students and employers is very positive.

“As a model for developing important employment and skills links for international students studying in Adelaide this has been very successful and I can see it being usefully applied to other careers where there are skills shortages – across health and other technology fields,” he says.

“This collaborative approach helps to realise just one more benefit for the state among the many others that flow from our development as an education city.”


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