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The highly successful Interns in Industry program, jointly run by Deakin Business School and Whitehorse City Council, has led to a “perfect match” for one Master of Information Systems student.

Jacob John enjoyed the program’s “unconventional” interview process, which saw him ‘matched’ with a local manufacturer that has offered him ongoing work as a Technical Business Analyst.

 “The company I was matched with, Hilton Manufacturing, needed some help with introducing information technology into some processes and systems. They gave me a brief introduction of what they needed at the interview and then I found out more when I started the internship.”

The placement proved to be a match made in heaven. Jacob embraced the opportunity to apply his skills and knowledge to a real-world factory floor issue, and the Hilton staff were thrilled with the changes in operational ease and efficiency which he was able to implement.

“It has been very satisfying to see the IT application which I introduced make a huge difference,” Jacob said.

The manual processes Hilton originally had were “cumbersome and time-consuming”, Jacob said. The new mobile application – which saw workers use their own phones for code scanning – was quick and efficient. 

“Factory staff are very happy with how the use of IT has made everything easier, and management is happy too.”

For 10 years Deakin Business School and Whitehorse City Council have collaborated on the highly successful program that builds links between local businesses and the university’s talented, experience hungry students.

The ‘Interns in Industry’ program, formerly known as the Whitehorse Tertiary Business Skills Program, is a win-win any way you look at it, according to Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Coordinator at Deakin’s Faculty of Business and Law, Adrian Corsetti.

“Businesses love gaining access to ambitious students with fresh, cutting-edge skills and relevant knowledge; students love the opportunity of expanding their network, applying their lecture-room learning to real-life projects, and gaining concrete industry experience to add to their CV,” Mr Corsetti said.

“And from the Deakin Business School’s perspective, we are thrilled to have a program that both reflects and nurtures the great relationship we have with Whitehorse City Council.”

A feature of this year’s program was an Interns in Industry Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) session. Held in May, representatives from a shortlisted group of businesses and students checked in on their compatibility as they rotated through a series of stations (think speed-dating but for internships).

Mr Corsetti said finding the right match for student placements was important, and the innovative MMI approach was geared to achieving mutually beneficial matches.

“The MMI format worked well, as it allowed both businesses and students to have the opportunity to meet each other and nominate their preferences.

“Interns in Industry is all about linking the local business community with students, enabling both to benefit in the process. Through the program students develop work-ready skills and businesses gain access to enthusiastic interns keen to share their knowledge.”

Daryl Mitchell, from Light FM, said the session was “very well done” and an opportunity to see the “talent out there”.

“It was great getting exposure to all the interns… It was quick and effective.”

A spokesperson for Whitehorse Manningham Libraries said the MMI session was “a full-on couple of hours” and was the best way of getting through several interviews all in one go.

From a student and job-seeker perspective, Jacob said the MMI format was refreshing and productive.

“I found it quite it easy, and it was actually enjoyable – compared to how tense and stressful regular interviews can be. It was great to meet so many people – my connections grew a lot in a very short period.”

Jacob recently attended the Interns in Industry awards night – which he says was another excellent opportunity to build his network and socialise with fellow internship alumni.

Work Integrated Learning unit chair Dr Wayne Read said the Interns in Industry program “gets to the very heart of both Work Integrated Learning and Deakin University”.

WIL is about gaining valuable real-world experiences that compliment a student’s degree; Interns in Industry does this by helping businesses in the local community, which is something that is very much a Deakin quality.

“The ability for this program to deliver great student outcomes while proving a boost to the neighbour organisation is what makes this program fantastic. “

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