Intern strategy to better prepare graduates

UNIVERSITIES and business groups have launched a new national strategy aimed at better preparing graduates for the workforce by expanding opportunities for real work experience.

The strategy was launched in Canberra by Universities Australia, and was backed by the Business Council of Australia, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Australian Industry Group.

It aims to create more job placements, work experience and "shadowing" programs across industries.

UA chief executive officer Belinda Robinson said the "work integrated learning" strategy aimed to meet the demand from recent university graduates for work placements like internships.

She said it would play a practical role in providing the on-the-job skills students needed.

"Through the implementation of this strategy we can expect more places for students in industry, better prepared graduates and a workforce that is more able to meet the growth needs of industry," she said.

ACCI's employment, education and training director Jenny Lambert said society has seen the benefits of practical experience in teaching, medicine, nursing and engineering.

But there were fewer opportunities for hands-on experience in sectors like arts, economics, marketing, science and maths.

"Graduates from these disciplines are valuable to the economy but often find it difficult to secure positions due to a lack of professional experience in the workplace," she said.

"(The strategy) is beneficial at all qualification levels, from undergraduate degrees to PhDs."