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Deakin University is offering a new Associate Degree of Business on campus in Warrnambool from 2024, boosting the number of graduates to meet local industry demand for accountants, financial advisers, marketers and more.

Sinclair Wilson – a local accountant and business advisor firm listed in Australia’s top 40 by the Australian Financial Review – has welcomed the opportunity to develop more home-grown talent. They will join with other South-West region businesses to provide students placements for the new course, as well as develop graduate roles.

“While Sinclair Wilson’s growth and expertise has in large part been fuelled by our ability to attract professional talent from various sources and levels of industry experience – which will very much continue into the future – we have also been the beneficiary of strong intakes of graduates and placements from Deakin University,” Sinclair Managing Partner Basil Brock said.

“This dynamic speaks to the firm’s ongoing commitment to both the learning and development of its people and, more broadly to our community.” 

Deakin’s Associate Degree of Business runs two years full-time, face-to-face with flexible options. It enables students to take the first step towards a business career and opens pathways for further study. 

The course helps build fundamental skills in accounting, marketing, finance, management and more in first year and then allows students to delve deeper with a specialisation in either business or accounting and finance in their second year. 

Students will also gain real-world experience with a work-integrated learning unit to enhance employability. A guaranteed internship within the local community will enable students to learn first-hand from industry leaders and build up a professional network.

All core first-year subjects for the Associate Degree of Business will be available on campus at Warrnambool with experienced local educators and access to world-class experts through Deakin’s wider network.

Course Director Dr Andrew Creed said the redesign of Deakin’s business offering at Warrnambool was in part a result of several post-pandemic drivers, including workforce shortages and people’s desire for face-to-face learning and campus connection.

“Covid also led to an increase in unscored VCEs and this course is available to school leavers without an ATAR, as well as non-school leavers,” Dr Creed said.

“The course has funding for direct mentoring for everyone who comes in, including writing and numeracy assistance, plus access to academic advisors and skills development to help grow students’ confidence.

“Our students will be able to study business in a meaningful, tactile way. Tied in with mentoring and guaranteed work placements with businesses who genuinely need workers, it’s a very appealing proposition.”

Dr Creed said the two-year associate degree program could offer an extra incentive to those looking to fast-track their qualifications.

“Being able to exit with a qualification after two years can be very appealing, a way to get something on the CV quickly, and businesspeople are very pragmatic in that way,” he said.

“A university program like ours can help students understand not just the systems of business, but the reasons behind them. The better you understand the foundations of business, the better you can move with the challenges of the economy.”

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