Presidents Newsletter - 30 April 2014

The latest news from TWLI's President, Mr Greg Black

For many years I have been involved in one way or another in career counselling with students and staff. I am proud to have been associated with the development of the free national careers exploration and search site. In that time I have always been struck by the benefit students, graduates and other jobseekers obtain from a work experience placement. Indeed many fine careers have commenced with people volunteering in a work area that interests them.

The benefits of work experience are somewhat difficult to quantify but the major areas appear to be:

  • Gaining confidence that the person has the capability to do the job
  • Important insights into how the real world of work actually works!
  • Lessons about employer expectations of their staff particularly what they value most and indeed what turns them off
  • Skills in sharing and working in a team including effective communication team-work and dealing with team dynamics
  • Often some technical insights into what organisations see as the appropriate approach
  • Lessons in real world problem solving
  • A genuine improvement in your marketability through your resume recording this work experience.

I could go on but I think the above is a fair picture. Not all work experience is a success but that in itself is an important learning experience - particularly if it promotes resilience and determination or indeed a decision to pursue a different path!

Having said all this, staff at The William Light Institute have been telling me recently of stories regarding graduates who have found work but not in their preferred profession and are seeking advice about what to do next. At the same time William Light has been granted approval to deliver the Professional Year Program for new international graduates seeking work skills and experience and permanent residence.

Both these matters have prompted a deep conversation about work experience programs and what role William Light could and should play. The net result is a new non-award course targeting specifically graduates who haven't found work in their preferred profession. The course is called The Professional Work Experience Program or PWEP (we need to work on the acronym!!). The program is designed to give participants a well planned and organised work experience to fit with their aspirations supported by one-on-one career advice, workshops on all aspects of the world of work and employability skills. The workshops are designed to enable participants to take charge of their own learning in an environment similar to the workplace. Participants will engage with CEO's of major organisations on employer expectations, learn CV and interview presentation techniques.

The work experience placements are tailored to participants needs and closely supported by the participants career advisor. I think it's a great course so I recommend it to anyone looking to take that first big step in their profession.

Kind regards

Greg Black