UNSW Sydney Australia – Educating students to be global employees

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Spokesperson – Snigdha Moitra, Assistant Director -Marketing & Partnerships at UNSW Australia

1) As Indian education continues to reel under the issue of making students industry ready, how does University New South Wales (UNSW) address the gap between knowledge and employability?

UNSW constantly consults with potential employers, whether government or industry or civil society organizations on what they expect from their workforce. This kind of consultation is integral to the university’s pedagogy, which is regularly monitored to ensure that it is in sync with the anticipated demands of the future workplace. It helps the university to ensure that students are future ready because the jobs they would be doing after completing university are yet to be created. Consequently, UNSW students have an exceptional employability quotient.

Unless educational institutions do this on a regular basis, the education they impart would lose relevance. The Careers and Counselling Team at the University is especially unique, as it is among the only universities in the world that starts its counselling from the very first day that a student joins the university and offers its services and guidance free of cost. It imparts soft skills to the students, including arranging strong internships that make the UNSW student standout.

The Team helps students with guidance on the best path for professional development, so that they are uniquely placed to join the workforce not only in Australia but also in their home country or globally.

2) When does the next intake for 2019-2020 commence?

UNSW has recently introduced a trimester system after consultation with students as we believe that such a system would have a further and positive impact on the learning experience for students. We are currently recruiting for Term 1 which commences in February 2019 and in September, we would enrol for Term 3.

3) What are the collaborations undertaken by UNSW in India to reach out to potential students?

UNSW has avoided entering into a large number of collaborations and relationships, as it is not possible to service multiple agreements with the same level of commitment. Consequently, UNSW has focussed on a limited number of like-minded institutions and this has served us well.

We have relationships with several IITs, IISC, IIMs and other institutions; these are focussed on research collaborations or guest lectures by visiting Faculty. With some others, we have exploratory relationships, such as CEPT in Ahmedabad, for instance, or the National Institute of Design, etc. These are meant to explore exchange of Faculty or students in the initial stage to identify areas of robust and sustainable collaboration. With a few others, we have entered into Articulation Agreements, which allows for students from an institution to study for a couple of years at that institution and then, do the remaining years at UNSW. We have also, and very recently, entered into a Landmark Partnership Agreement with the Manipal Academy of Higher Education that is likely to embrace collaboration cutting across several disciplines. We find our model has worked well and there is growing recall of Brand UNSW pan-India.

4) What are the popular course options preferred by Indian students? 

The preference has interestingly grown to embrace diverse disciplines. This is reflective of the strong demand in India for both STEM and non-STEM programmes. The majority of students, however, gravitate towards Engineering and Business Studies and predominantly at the Post Graduate level. However, we are finding increasing interest in Built Environment, Arts and Social Sciences, Design, and Law. The growing demand at the Under Graduate level is also encouraging and we expect an exponential growth in this segment.

The top courses continue to be Civil, Mechanical, Telecommunications, Renewable Energy and Photovoltaics in the Engineering School, where UNSW remains the only university to offer an undergraduate program in Photovoltaics. Furthermore, our reputation is Engineering is among the best in the world. The Masters in IT at UNSW, which offers students the opportunity to specialize in Artificial Intelligence, Internetworking and Database Systems, among others, is also another popular choice for Indian graduates. There is also growing interest in smart transport and sustainable housing, which is reflective of the interest among Indian students to pursue programmes that would be nationally and internationally relevant. We have also noticed interest in dual degree programmes, where students have coupled, for instance, a degree in Law with Business Studies, or Design with Built Environment and thereby, enhanced their employability quotient.

5) Tell us about the scholarship programs for Indian Students?

Unlike many other educational institutions that attract international students through the scholarship scheme, UNSW has consistently believed that the quality of education it provides is the principal reason why students opt to study at UNSW. However, it has recently introduced a few merit-based scholarships targeting high-achieving Indian students. These are known as the Future of Change scholarships and has been very well-received in the Indian market.

6) What are the total working hours allotted to students in a month? Does UNSW provide any part time opportunities to students?

Australia allows international students to work 20 hours weekly at a fair minimum wage during the period the university is in session. Students are allowed to work full time during the holidays either on-campus or off-campus. There are sufficient opportunities for students to get part-time work. Students decide on what might be best suited for them and consult the Careers and Counselling Team for advice.

7) What are the accommodation and other facilities like? How is the on campus life and life in Sydney?

UNSW Sydney’s Kensington campus has everything a student needs, including dozens of cafes and restaurants, four ATMs, a bank, a post office, supermarket, food cooperative, pharmacy, medical centre and dental clinics, two libraries and aquatic centre, and sport fields and courts. UNSW has the largest student housing capacity in Sydney with award-winning accommodation on and off campus. Alternatively, one can also find their own home in the neighbouring Eastern Suburbs or by the beach.

Australia is a diverse country and Sydney has a rich multi-ethnic culture. Living and studying in another country can be a hugely beneficial experience for personal development. Being taken outside of your comfort zone and not being able to rely on the safety net of your family and friends teaches you valuable skills in self-reliance and independence. Besides this, studying abroad gives you the opportunity to meet a variety of new people and experience new cultures, forming new friendships and expanding your horizons in an increasingly globalised world. More importantly, it teaches you to see through different eyes and broaden your outlook. Whichever way one might look at it, Australia is the new preferred destination that Indian students are increasingly looking at for higher education, Sydney is one of the great cities in the world and UNSW is the place to be with its international ranking and outstanding pedagogy.

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