Balancing theoretical knowledge with practical learning
Universities today are pushing to develop students with agile skills, which includes the ability to adapt to the changing landscape of workforces, as well as the ability to make quick decisions and address challenges in the workplace.
This is because in today’s competitive world, having the knowledge required by a respective industry is simply not enough.
Students must also refine the soft skills needed to stand out from the rest and are better prepared for the workplace.
Universities are meeting industry needs by offering opportunities where work environments are simulated and they can address real-world problems, updating curricula to reflect industry needs and engaging guest speakers and faculty members who are experienced in their respective fields.
They are also offering more practical learning opportunities through internships, study abroad, and projects where students can work with companies in exchange for credit and invaluable working experience.
Technical institutes like the Eastern Institute of Technology and TAFE NSW were built on the principle of preparing students for the working world, and today they are leaders in offering practical learning opportunities for students.
Here are some ways they are helping students develop the skills needed and connecting them to industry professionals so they can network and leave job-ready.
At this tertiary institute of technology in New Zealand, programmes are constantly reviewed and updated to reflect industry trends and keep up with what employers seek, ensuring students receive an education that prepares them for the global workplace.
The main focus is on providing students with an education where they learn relevant skills that boost employability.
That’s why EIT is offering a number of new or updated programmes in niche and upcoming areas, including a new suite of two-year Masters programmes which have recently gained NZQA approval for 2020.
The Master of Applied Management programme has been developed to ensure students receive a broad business education, while developing the technical skills required to thrive on the job.
Due to the changing nature of business, the programme incorporates eight cutting-edge areas of professional competence: money, markets, people and culture, planning, technology, innovation, globalisation and sustainability.
These areas are further focused on two specific areas: sustainable business and small to medium-sized enterprises.
A range of undergraduate programmes enable students to embrace digital innovation and shape their career paths such as Bachelor of Computing Systems with four majors including Intelligent Systems.
In particular, the programme is designed to provide a well-defined and relevant core curriculum, with scope for rapid and flexible adoption of new technologies as the frontiers of knowledge expand.
As well as exciting developments in business and computing, EIT is introducing a new Bachelor of Viticulture and Wine Science programme next year.
The programme provides students with plenty of hands-on learning opportunities such as applying theory to practice in a demonstration vineyard on campus with course curricula specially developed alongside industry professionals.
This institution in Australia has multiple campuses and a 130-year history in offering education and training programmes taught by industry-qualified and experienced faculty members.
TAFE NSW develops courses with industry partners so they are sufficiently prepared and able to develop the required skills.
The hands-on approach to learning means that there are ample opportunities for internships and work placements.
Providing the ideal blend of theoretical knowledge and practical learning opportunities, students receive an educational experience where they have multiple avenues to develop sought-after skills.
For example, the Bachelor of Creative Practice programme uses a studio-based approach where students learn through a practice-based learning model to hone their skills, while developing sound knowledge in their discipline as well as in entrepreneurship and innovation.
Using a mix of face-to-face learning in a studio setting and facilitating online learning, students graduate ready to work in reputable companies or even start their own businesses.
In more broad-based programmes like the Bachelor of Business, students are able to tailor their degree with industry-relevant electives such as digital and data analytics and international business protocols, along with receiving a thorough understanding in management, economics, finance, technology, marketing, communications, and law and people management.
In their final year, all students are required to undertake an internship where they develop self-confidence along with the skills needed for a successful career in their respective business niche.