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First-of-its-kind Deakin-ACS agreement offers students real-world connections

Speed-networking events and masterclasses with high-profile industry representatives are just some of the perks Deakin students will enjoy after the university signed a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

The agreement formalises an innovative partnership model between Deakin and ACS, the technology sector’s leading professional association, and includes free ACS membership for students enrolled in Deakin’s ACS-accredited courses. 

It’s the tangible real-world opportunities to boost student employability and make rich connections across the industry that Associate Professor William Yeoh says will make all the difference. Opportunities include industry training, introductions to industry partners, guest lectures, collaborations with think tanks, and even opportunities to shape technology policy and offer inputs into industry development. 

Associate Professor Yeoh, who initiated the Deakin-ACS Partnership, said the university’s first speed-networking event, to be held on August 9, has attracted significant interest from students as well as industry reps keen to meet prospective employees. 

“We want to provide this platform of networking to bring industry and students together, so they can mingle, and they can try it before they buy it,” he said. 

“The current system is outdated. You send your resume and let’s say, with my school, we got 100 applications from all over the world for one position, and how are we going to decide? We don’t have sufficient time to read through 100 applications. 

“Well, the industry is having the same problem. How to pick a good candidate. That’s why these speed-networking events are so meaningful. Now you can talk to the talent, you might offer an internship first, you can try it for three months, and if you know this is going well you can keep going, and if not, at least the student has had some experience.” 

The speed-networking event will be followed by an industry event with Singapore Airlines in September, and an inaugural masterclass in November.  

Assoc Prof Yeoh said the partnership was inspired by the success of Dilan Jayasekara, finalist for the ACS Emerging Professional of the Year 2022, who attended an industry event as a student and was able to transform a quick meet-and-greet into an internship, and later into an ongoing role. 

Mr Jayasekara urged Deakin students to push themselves beyond their comfort zones and make the most out of these new opportunities. 

“During the early stages of student life, make an effort to meet people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, get to know them, and work on improving your social intelligence,” he said. 

“Then go out there and engage with people who have already established careers in Melbourne, including juniors, emerging professionals, and senior professionals. Networking with people is crucial because it is the key to the hidden job market in Australia. These networking events provide an excellent platform for honing your non-academic skills or soft skills, which will make you more proficient as an industry professional and undoubtedly give you a competitive edge over those who stay within their comfort zones.”

ACS Victoria Branch Chair Dr Rod Dilnutt said the organisation was proud to partner with Deakin University. 

“This has been a long-standing relationship that has benefited the student and academic communities and enriched the ICT industry in general,” he said.

“The ACS and Deakin University partnership has developed a comprehensive student engagement model.  With a full array of ACS and Deakin University bespoke products and services, this partnership supports students to gain the experience and skills to successfully transition into the workforce. Moreover, the partnership works together to shape technology policy and inputs into industry development.”

Deakin has 22 courses accredited by ACS, spanning business analytics, artificial intelligence, information systems, cyber security, game design, software engineering, computer science, information technology, and data science disciplines.

ACS’s Digital Pulse report estimates Australia will need 1.2 million technology professionals by 2027, and nearly 370,000 Victorians will work in the sector. For Victoria, that's over five percent per year growth. 

A/Prof William Yeoh introduced the Deakin-ACS partnership objectives (photo L-R: A/Prof William Yeoh; Dr Rod Dilnutt, Chair of ACS Victoria Branch; Dr Nick Tate, National President of ACS; R: Prof Iain Martin; Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University).

A/Prof William Yeoh introduced the Deakin-ACS partnership objectives (photo L-R: A/Prof William Yeoh; Dr Rod Dilnutt, Chair of ACS Victoria Branch; Dr Nick Tate, National President of ACS; Prof Iain Martin; Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University R: Josef Oduwo, Vice Chair of ACS Victoria).

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