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Examining student partnerships through an employability lens

Wednesday 3 July: 5:30pm – 7:00pm, poster session



Dr Alison Jaquet
University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Donna Thompson
University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Melanie Hulm
University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia



The university of the Sunshine Coast (USC) has a high percentage of first in family students and USC graduates often desire to remain in the region in which small and medium enterprises dominate the employment landscape. In response to the unique challenges faced by USC graduating students, USC has phased in a suite of employability initiatives, and is amplifying the outcomes of these by embedding a Students as Partners (SaP) ethos throughout the co-curricular student experience.

USC has established a suite of initiatives designed to support employability, such as work integrated learning, leadership programs and traditional career development services. In addition, during 2018, 622 hours of work were invested by diverse students to produce a student governance framework and during 2019 we are implementing this model. Our goal is to prepare students with the enterprise skills required for the future and to ensure students can identify and translate their knowledge, skills, capabilities to, as Bennett (2018) articulates, ‘find, create and sustain meaningful work across the career lifespan’. This poster presents the structure and outcomes of a SaP approach to student engagement and employability.

Key stakeholders involved in this partnership have been surveyed to gain their perspectives about the experience in working collaboratively and the effectiveness of the process. Students have been interviewed to evaluate the ways in which working in partnership has impacted their employability. Responses will be analysed to elicit key themes and trends that inform this approach going forward.

The SaP governance framework is designed to facilitate a collaborative and productive relationship between the institution and the student body. The primary purpose for creating this structure was to amplify the student voice in learning and teaching; however, the impacts have been more far-reaching as students have increased their employability through collaboration, creating cross-curriculum partnerships, widening their networks and deepening their engagement.



Bennett, Dawn. (2018). Embedding EmployABILITY Thinking Across Australian Higher Education. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Education and Training.


Presentation topic

Poster session


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