A case study showcasing one of the high-calibre Work-Integrated Learning programs at UOW has been recognised by peak body the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN), with Dr Ginu Rajan, Associate Professor Raad Raad and Associate Professor Rodney Vickers being nominated as finalists in the ACEN 2020 WIL Awards for the Innovation and Excellence Award. 

“From skills to start-ups: A pathway for career-ready engineering graduates through innovative WIL approaches” is a program-wide, career-ready pathway for Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering students to connect with industry and entrepreneurial. This whole-of-course initiative is designed to progressively build students’ skills and engagement with authentic, innovative work practices and industry partnerships and leave students more prepared to work in their respective fields.

Students are first introduced to design thinking in ENGG105 -Engineering Design for Sustainability, then into building a specific design in the second year (ECTE250- Engineering Design and Management 2), before industry-based projects are introduced in year 3 (ECTE350- Engineering Design and Management 3).

From there, students have an opportunity to convert their novel ideas to a start-up through the 4th year specialised subject – FEIS400 Lean Engineering Start-Up – offered in collaboration with i-Accelerate. Students who are preparing for their start-up also get an opportunity to participate in the UOW 10K club competition, where seed funding and mentoring is provided to the winner.

Students have an opportunity to engage with an industry partner for approximately two years during their study: first through the ECTE350 program and then through the undergrad professional thesis program. Students will begin to develop an industry network and career-ready skills and knowledge before graduating. Industries can evaluate and provide feedback on the skills of the students and upon completing the program, students are more prepared to work for them or in their respective fields.

The winners will be announced at the Beyond 2020: Creating the Future with WIL virtual summit on the 27 and 28 October, 2020.