A recently-held online competition has demonstrated that Victorian high school students are passionate about gaining access to work experience in order to take charge of their own career path.
Victoria University’s Work Experience of a Lifetime competition – open to Year 10 and 11 students across the state – saw creative entries from students vying to win a high-profile work placement and mentoring opportunity with some of Australia’s top companies, including Mushroom Group, Leo Burnett, Nova FM and Honda.
Launched in partnership with agency Leo Burnett Melbourne the initiative aimed to help open doors for high school students who often struggle to identify their career passion and gain meaningful work experience.
Vice-Chancellor and President of Victoria University, Professor Peter Dawkins, said that school students should have the same opportunities as university students when it came to work experience.
“The opportunities presented through this competition gives students invaluable insight into what it’s like to work in some of the most exciting local industries and then make an informed decision about what they want to study or do after school,” Dawkins said. “Most Year 10 and 11 students try to secure two weeks of work experience each year which means that, in any given year, there may be more than 60,000 kids undertaking in excess of 4 million hours of work experience.
“We believe it’s important to help ensure that every hour of this is well-spent and that participants get the real world experience they need to succeed in their future professional lives.”
One of the competition winners, Mike Schumann from Camberwell Grammar School, undertook a week-long placement in July at Honda to work in the marketing field. He said the experience has furthered his interest in pursuing a marketing career and also helped him understand what he would and wouldn’t enjoy about being a marketing professional.
“Work experience was fantastic, because not only did it give me the opportunity to work with those directly involved in marketing, but it gave me a chance to see the tasks which they do on a weekly basis and the work that is involved,” Schumann said. “As a result of work experience, I acquired a great understanding of the work ethic, but more importantly, the type of personality required in marketing to be able to negotiate with a range of people.
“I learned that in marketing you have to be able to work as a team, listen to each other, and be open to creative, fresh ideas.”
Professor Dawkins said the quality and quantity of competition entries received demonstrated that Victorian high school students are passionate about gaining access to real world experience and to help support this determination Victoria University will be looking to make the Work Experience of a Lifetime competition an annual offering.