Careers, Discover Deakin

The benefits of working as part of your degree

January 27, 2023 - 3 min read

You do not need to wait to finish your degree to begin working in a dream job. It is common for students to work in their field, through university-facilitated programs such as internships, to get a head start on their career. This practical experience is highly valuable to employers and sets students up for success. It is also a great opportunity for students to build a network for their future. This is why every degree at Deakin University includes opportunities for workplace learning.

An internship is a great way for students to get valuable experience.  Shruti came to Deakin from India to study psychology. During an internship at the not-for-profit organisation Free from Family Violence (FVREE), ‘I was part of the team that designed and delivered a community-based event to fight against gender-based violence.’ She described this work as ‘an extremely humbling experience. I had an opportunity to become involved as an activist for a lot of causes that speak to me, such as fighting against gender-based inequality and violence.’

“I see a convergence in all the different lines towards my future life goal to be a successful psychologist” – Shruti

Support finding work placements

Syreeta Robinson is a Talent Development Coordinator at DeakinTALENT, the University’s career service. She works closely with international students in the DeakinTALENT International Student Careers (DISC) program. She encourages all students to undertake an internship. ‘Internships are a fantastic way for students to learn about the Australian employment market and develop key employability skills that graduate employers are looking for.’

DeakinTALENT facilitates projects with organisations like FVREE through the FreelancingHUB.  ‘The FreelancingHUB offers internships within a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural team, developing solutions for not-for-profit or community organisations,’ Syreeta explains. Since 2018, more than 1200 students have used this service to explore working as a freelancer. With an industry mentor as project manager on each team, students develop skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.

Building a global network

One of the greatest benefits of work-integrated learning is meeting other professionally driven students. Coming from Zimbabwe, Christian knew that ‘when I arrived, I knew I had to network, make friends and connections. I chose Deakin because it has a good reputation in providing hands-on work experience and networking opportunities.’

With assistance from DeakinTALENT, Christian took advantage of the opportunities available to him. ‘Options for my work-integrated learning program include doing it locally or overseas.  I chose overseas so that I could travel and gain valuable exposure to other parts of the world.’ As part of his business analytics degree, Christian spent two weeks at a South Korean technology company that was considering expanding into Australia. ‘The task was to gather intelligence and present it to the company’s board. This experience taught me to collaborate with colleagues from all walks of life and learn new and efficient ways of working.’ Following that experience, he gained more international insight through a virtual internship with a Canadian company.

Finding your career path

Work experience while studying can even lead directly into a permanent role in a competitive job market. DeakinTALENT helped Vietnamese business student Emily get a marketing internship with one of Australia’s leading fast fashion jewellery retailers. ‘I did not know that it would be the start of my career,’ she says. ‘The internship unearthed my passion for fashion retail and e-commerce, and I was retained to work as an Online Visual Merchandiser after the placement!’

For Shruti, who is currently in the second year of her bachelor degree, there are many opportunities to come. ‘I look forward to working with FVREE, Headspace and opportunities with other such organisations,’ she says. Referencing her previous experience in India, she is looking forward to the next chapter of her life. ‘I see a convergence in all the different lines towards my future life goal to be a successful psychologist.’

Quick links

Work integrated learning, Arts and Education
Work integrated learning, Health
Work integrated learning, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment
Work integrated learning, Business and Law

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^^ 2022 Student Experience Survey, UA benchmark group Victorian universities.
# Australian Graduate Outcomes Survey 2016–2022 (GOS), Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

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