Kenvale College strives to work closely with our associated industries.

Work has changed drastically over the last decade.

The way we work and live continues to evolve every day, with technology creating new conveniences and challenges. Amidst all this change, human skills – communication, customer service and complex problem solving – have remained constant, growing in demand. Despite this, many higher education institutes stay stagnant, lagging in their ability to provide students with the most valuable skills to begin and progress their careers.

Education providers must bring industry and learning together to determine future trends, demand for skills and suitable means of preparing students for work in order to create the best outcomes for graduates. In this article, we'll examine the need for industry and education to work together for the betterment of tomorrow's graduates and how this is achieved.

Why industry and education need to work together

71 per cent of corporate recruiters say candidates recruited from universities often lack sufficient practical experience.

Research from the IBM Institute of Business Value shows 51 per cent of academic and industry leaders agree university systems are failing to meet the career needs of students. Furthermore, nearly 60 per cent believe universities are not producing graduates with the right skills to support their industries.

The required skills in questions are largely soft skills – analysis and problem solving, collaboration and teamwork, workplace communication, agility and adaptability. Further highlighting this shortcoming, IBM reports 71 per cent of corporate recruiters say candidates recruited from universities often lack sufficient practical experience.

These figures suggest there's a significant shortcoming in university curriculums to understand growing gaps in the industry and provide continually evolving education that addresses those needs.

So what's the solution? Kenvale College employs a number of means to align our student offering with the needs of our associated industry (food, beverage, accommodation and events).

Kenvale College works closely with our associated industries to provide relevant, up-to-date learning for our students.Kenvale College works closely with our associated industries to provide relevant, up-to-date learning for our students.

1. Industry advisory boards

An industry advisory board is a panel of current industry leaders – business owners, managers and recruiters – who are active within their sectors and keep the pulse of growing trends. Panel members are valued for their external industry perspective in shaping curriculum and strengthening the relationship between schools and their associated sectors.

Kenvale has had an industry advisory panel since the 1980s and have since played a key role in determining course content, from required subjects through to industry placements and expectations placed on faculty and students.

For example, tattoos are quickly becoming a societal norm (one in five Australians have at least one tattoo, with millennials favouring them more than any other age group, McCrindle reports). Kenvale's industry advisory board keeps us informed of the industry's perspective on matters like tattoos. In this case, the industry was clearly divided. Many hotels prefer tattoos remain covered, while restaurant and cafe owners believe this style of body art actually supports their brand. The panel's input helps us create expectations for our students.

2. Industry liaison departments

Fortunately, many tertiary-level institutions now have industry advisory boards, however the relationship often stops there. Kenvale managing director, Anne Zahra, believes industry liaisons are a vital component to a healthy relationship between education providers and industry.

These are people who are dedicated to working with the industry – networking with employers and experts, bringing active industry members in as guest lecturers before the students, constantly keeping pace with trends in the industry between advisory board meetings, and most importantly coordinating work-based learning opportunities for students.

Kenvale's industry liaisons maintain a large network of connections throughout the industry, establishing a Memorandum of Understanding with various local businesses to provide work opportunities for students to gain real skills and experience. Our liaisons also prepare Kenvale students even before classes and work-based learning begin, with workshops designed to help students create CVs, navigate job interviews and successful secure a position to complete their vocational education and training (VET) qualification.

Liaisons facilitate the ongoing relationship between Kenvale, our students and the industry they'll go on to have successful careers in. Some of our industry partners include:

  • Novotel Hotels & Resorts.
  • Butcher and the Farmer.
  • Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group.
  • Radisson Blu.
  • Merivale.
  • Crowne Plaza.
  • ICC Sydney.

3. Work-based Learning

Finally, work-based learning forms the foundation of Kenvale's programmes. Our students spend two days a week in the classroom and three in gainful employment with one of our industry partners. As well as being paid for their work, our students get the benefit of excellent workplace support from our partners and industry liaisons.

Work-based learning differs from the work-integrated learning programmes undertaken by some universities, in that it runs concurrently to a student's entire course of study. The role of work-based learning is not to supplement classroom learning, but to provide a context in which students apply new skills as they learn them, develop their competencies, gain confidence and ultimately achieve practical experience that will help them continue to enjoy a successful career following graduation.

Read our recent article, "Are university work placements really worthwhile?", to learn more of the differences between work-based learning adopted by VET providers like Kenvale and work-integrated learning supported by universities.

Prepare for the a real career with Kenvale College

Through our strong connections with industry leaders and work-based learning structures, Kenvale provides more than just education to students – we teach real skills. Addressing the growing importance of practical skills for graduate employees, we ensure Kenvale students are equipped with the hard and soft skills employers are looking for. As a result, Kenvale boasts a 100 per cent graduate employment rate.

We're proud to continue positive relationships with some of Sydney's most prized food, accommodation and events businesses. For more information about how our industry connections set you up for long-term career success, reach out to a Kenvale course advisor today.

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