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Control your destiny!

Discover 15 practices that will enable you to accelerate your career!


Become the master of your own development

Do you fully understand the developmental opportunities that university provides you? Do you believe that your university is able to fully prepare you for your career? Are you relying on your university to inform you about what you need to do for your development?

The facts are most university students are not being properly prepared for their careers and our universities simply aren't equipped to quickly improve this situation. A recent report by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) titled, The Australian Survey of Student Engagement has highlighted that:

  • One-fifth of university students had never made a presentation to their class.
  • 97 per cent of final-year students had never done a major project or thesis, summing up what they had learnt.
  • 38 per cent of students leave university without an up-to-date resume.
  • 30 per cent of students have seriously considered quitting their course.
  • 71 per cent of third-year students had never done an internship, blending their academic study with experience in the workplace.

As reported by The Age newspaper on March 15th 2010, the reports author, Dr Hamish Coates highlighted that more needed to be done to better prepare students for the workforce. His views were supported by Patrick Coleman, Director of education policy at the Business Council of Australia, who noted that it was troubling that 20% of students had never given a presentation in class, despite the high importance placed on communication and teamwork by employers.

This report highlights why students must take control of their own development. Rather than sitting back and hoping that their university will give them what they need, students, that is you must become proactive in your control over your development.

A degree is an investment in your future

Gaining a university degree is a significant investment. It is therefore critical that you optimise your university experience to ensure that you succeed in obtaining the job that you desire.

In today’s competitive market obtaining the best possible grades is very important. However, employers in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and many more countries throughout the world are seeking people who have high levels of ‘employability’.


What is ‘employability’?

Employability is your proven ability to demonstrate the following key skills:

  1. Leadership
  2. Communication
  3. Teamwork
  4. Planning and organising
  5. Problem solving
  6. Service excellence
  7. Self management
  8. Life-long learning
  9. Initiative and innovation
  10. Technology (as it relates to your industry)

What happens if you don’t develop your employability skills?

Too many students do not become aware of these skills until they are in their final semester or have graduated and are actively seeking full time careers. Many students again never learn about employability skills at all.

Both sets of students are at a significant disadvantage compared to students who are actively developing their employability skills while they are at university.

Place yourselves in the shoes of your prospective employers. If you had two people of equal academic standards and one had a proven track record in the development of their employability skills, and one didn’t, who would you choose?

Clearly the student with the proven employability skills will be employed. With global trends predicting exponential growth in terms of degree holders within the population, competition for jobs that require a university degree is exploding. Not long ago great grades were a guarantee for a job. This is no longer the situation.

Employers are seeking people who have both high grades and a proven record with their employability development. Since 2002 the Australian Government with the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Chamber for Commerce and Industry have argued that employability is a key factor in student development (source Employability Skills for the Future, DEST 2002).

The findings of this report have been annually verified since they were first released. These three bodies represent over 95% of employers in Australia, so their opinion is highly valuable. They have also requested that universities take the lead in developing student employability.

The truth is that universities have struggled to meet this request. The reasons are many and varied but a main cause has been university funding decreases over the past decade. The Australian ‘Group of Eight’ universities have indicated that funding has reduced by 20% in real terms over the past decade (source Students the loser from outdated funding policy, Group of Eight 2007).

What does this mean for you?

Universities are doing their best to develop students beyond the classroom. However a lack of resources means that universities are struggling to maintain classroom standards let alone creating world class co-curricular programs. This means that if you rely on the university for your employability development, you will most likely not receive it. This means that you will be less employable and have less choice than your competition.

What is possible?

Imagine if you knew how to leverage your university experience from day one to ensure that alongside with your academic development, your employability grew as well.

Imagine if you were able to see how the fun side of university could enhance your career prospects.

Imagine if you were able to take full advantage of the group-work opportunities provided by your courses so that not only did you obtain high grades for them, but you also enjoyed the experience and created valuable stories out of them.

Imagine if you were able to create a suite of relevant and genuine stories that reflected your employability development without having to go beyond the boundaries of your university if you didn’t want to. Imagine if this was all possible. The truth is, it is!

What can you do?

The smartest thing that you can do is to take control of your development. If you proactively seek out opportunities to develop your employability skills then you will be well positioned to take full advantage of what your university does have to offer.

Understanding employability and consciously developing it while you are at university is the ideal scenario. It can be done and isn’t about working harder. It’s all about working smarter!

How Organisations That Matter Can Help

Gary Ryan, the founding Director of Organisations That Matter has been developing and facilitating student development programs, including those that directly focus upon employability skills, for over 17 years.

Matched with his corporate, elite sport, community and government sector experience,Gary has the rare combination of a deep understanding of the tertiary sector, matched with decades of practical experience in the ‘real world’.

In this context the programs that have been developed by Gary specifically target the skills that you need to develop, with an understanding of how you can consciously develop those skills while at university. The specific programs include:

To find out more please:

Key words: Gary Ryan, Organnisations That Matter, acceleratingcareers, Young Professionals, Profile, Executive Coach, Business Coach, mentor, personal development, professional development, life plan, life planning, personal success, personal success planning

Orgnanisations That Matter
Level 8/ 350 Collins Street Melbourne, Victoria Australia 3000
Phone : +61 3 8676 0637
Fax: +61 3 9562 7560

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