[Sub ID 4854] University Graduates Networking program (National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education)

Submission ID: 4854
Organisation name: National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education
Contact name: Prof Sue Trinidad
State: WA
Contact email: s.trinidad@curtin.edu.au
Contact number: 0892661573

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Youth unemployment rate in Australia in 2016 was around 12.2% (Brotherhood of St Laurence). Although research shows that having tertiary qualifications makes a positive difference regarding employment, university graduates are finding it more and more difficult to find work in Australia. The Graduate Careers Australia survey in 2015 found 11.3% of graduates in 2014 had not found full-time employment. Finding work is difficult for students who are first-in-family graduates with limited job networks (Smith Family). As well for low-SES graduates, the ability to maintain a digital presence (LinkedIn profile, twitter account, consistent email account) is limited due to the cost of the internet and technology.

Unsuccessful post-tertiary transition to work can result in long-term welfare. Therefore the first 12 months after graduating from university is a critical stage for intervention. People who are on welfare for long periods of time because of a lack of jobs can embrace a culture of poverty which may inhibit them from grasping opportunities when they come along. Participating in a structured volunteer program to build up career networks and maintain a digital job profile will create a realistic expectation to breakdown the culture of poverty.

What is your idea?
The aim of the University Graduates Networking (UGN) program will be to create professional networks for graduates from low SES areas to build their CVs. Graduates will participate in volunteer work starting within the university faculties in which they studied and moving to industry partnerships. Unemployed graduates will also build up a digital profile using the universities existing technology (LinkedIn profile, Twitter etc.). The networks and strengthened CV will lead to greater employability during the post-tertiary transition.

The post-tertiary network will present a realistic opportunity scaffolded for job readiness. It will be supported through university staff — graduate relationships, providing graduates with the skills and knowledge to enter the workforce and subsequently obtain fulltime employment. When the graduates become employed, they can further network within the professional chapters (young professional networking groups under 30 years of age) that could be linked with this Centre and local Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) chapters. CCI members, individuals and organisations take on a mentoring role for new cohorts of unemployed graduates.