Uni students can be good news for your business

Employers have been reporting that higher education graduates are not work ready and often lack fundamental employability skills. Those taking part in Ai Group’s Workforce Development Needs Surveys have expressed higher levels of dissatisfaction in the areas of self-management, problem solving and teamwork.

With this in mind, Ai Group has developed a guide for employers that outlines the benefits and steps involved in providing work activities for university students.

Exposing young people as students to workplace experiences gives them the opportunity to practise what they are learning, but it can also provide a range of benefits to participating companies. Key benefits outlined in the guide include:

  • gaining from the new thinking and fresh ideas of technologically proficient students;
  • developing connections with universities for research and development;
  • assistance with short-term projects that otherwise would not be possible; and
  • improving the workplace culture as well as the mentoring skills of your existing employees.

The guide also covers:

  • the types of involvement companies can have with students;
  • how to get started, with relevant university contacts;
  • legal requirements;
  • tips for successful student involvements; and
  • examples of what some companies are doing.

You can read the guide now.

What has your experience been with university students you have engaged in your business? What activities have they undertaken? Have you found it results in broader benefits to your business and workforce? Please share your thoughts and experiences and start a conversation by leaving a comment below.

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Anne joined Ai Group as an economist and is currently our General Manager, Education and Training. She is responsible for policy development and major projects addressing members’ education and training issues. Anne previously managed Ai Group's national team of Enterprise Connect Business Advisers charged with helping SMEs to improve productivity. Holding a Master of Education (Educational Leadership and Management) and a Bachelor of Economics, Anne worked for over 25 years in the VET sector in policy, research, training and quality management roles before joining Ai Group. She is a Board member of Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA).


  1. Joe Barnes

    This is fantastic, Anne. Many employers (including the company I work for) run internship programs and also regularly hire graduates, but don’t often know how to best reach students.
    Most universities I work with (all of which are mentioned on your report) are ramping up their efforts to place students in both internships and paid employment, in same cases hiring dozens of staff for their Careers teams.
    I hope more employers read your guide and are able to connect with unis and students as a result.

    1. Anne Younger (Post author)

      Thanks Joe
      The greater connections Ai Group is encouraging through the Guide are just the beginning of new models required between higher education and industry to ensure we have capable young people completing degrees possessing high level analytical skills and knowing how to adapt. Closer connections to uni students can really provide companies with strategic advantages.
      More and more companies need skills diversity – a term the World Economic Forum uses in the context of describing the dichotomy between the humanities and sciences as becoming obsolete. And increasingly foundation skills will change to include advanced digitisation skills.
      Recognising some businesses need support to increase engagement with students, Ai Group’s latest policy statement, Connecting for Productivity: university and industry partnerships includes a recommendation for national system support through incentives or grants for employers.


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