The University of Tasmania’s I-PREP program has grown from strength to strength in 2018, with more than 60 international students being placed in short-term work experience placements with Tasmanian organisations.
Head of Student Leadership, Career Development & Employment, Kristin Warr Pedersen said that the I-PREP program had given the University the opportunity to partner with forward thinking local businesses.
“Our partners are giving international students experiences that allow them to learn from, and contribute to, the Tasmanian workforce,” Ms Warr Pedersen said.
“Students are developing their employability skills while learning about Australian workplace culture and having the opportunity to share their diverse and global perspectives in a professional setting.”
The impact of I-PREP has also been positive for participating employers, who have noted the influence international student interns have had on contributing diverse perspectives and enhancing cultural competency in the workplace.
One of those employers, Cricket Tasmania, hosted an I-PREP student for the first time this year.
General Manager Corporate Services, Zoe Rohrer, said the I-PREP program was instrumental in bridging the cultural gap between international students and the local community.
“The program was eye opening for me. I became aware of the real barriers that international students face in breaking into the local employment market. Our intern brought real energy and diversity to our workplace which had wide reaching benefits and it’s given me a fresh perspective on workplace diversity issues”, Ms Rohrer said.
Syeda Zainab Shah, a Masters of Professional Accounting student from Pakistan completed her internship with Cricket Tasmania.
“I really enjoyed my placement at Cricket Tasmania,” Ms Shah said.
“I contributed to work on the performance analysis of cricket players using my data analytics skills. The experience has given me great confidence and I am positive this program will enhance my future employability in Tasmania.”.
Employers involved this year have confirmed the success of the program by reaching out to take additional as well as paid interns, and volunteered their time to participate in panel discussions about workplace culture and job application processes as part of the education component of the program.
The I-PREP program is supported by the Tasmanian Government.