Lauren Firth and Madison Head
5 March 2018: In 2017, the University of Canberra and professional services firm PwC teamed up to provide students studying STEM-related degrees paid work placements.
As part of the Industry Based Learning Program, four students swapped classroom learning in Semester Two for full-time work. Two are now employed full-time at PwC.
Here, Lauren Firth and Madison Head share how a work placement set them on the path to becoming successful technology consultants.
The Industry Based Learning (IBL) program has given us a major head start in our careers.
It provided us with a platform from which to apply our classroom learning from University of Canberra in a client environment at PwC, highlighting how beneficial it is to obtain industry experience while studying.
It has set us on a path to becoming successful technology consultants.
In our six months at PwC, we were exposed to unique experiences that can only be gained from hands-on work. We worked on large projects, met and worked with a diverse range of industry professionals, attended networking events and undertook training that taught us how to best engage with clients.
As IBL participants, we developed a range of skills and networks by working on projects predominantly focused on technology. To a lesser extent, our work included elements relating to business, strategy and management.
This mix required us to have a good understanding of business and technology, as well as a range of consulting skills including professional and personal soft skills.
Due to the nature of our engagements, we worked in collaborative team environments with a variety of stakeholders including PwC employees, large government organisations and leading external technology providers.
We had extraordinary opportunities to work alongside industry professionals from Canberra firms, across Australia and even globally.
We were given the chance to work on large-scale government projects covering broad areas of business and digital transformation. These projects exposed us to different ways that businesses can use emerging technologies to portray the message they want, while also demonstrating how technologies such as augmented and virtual reality can be utilised to improve daily business activities.
Each month, we attended team meetings with our fellow consultants. Some weeks involved a panel discussion to hear from inspirational community spokespeople.
Topics included disability in the workplace and marriage equality. After the discussion we could meet and network with the members of the panel.
We also assisted with PwC recruitment days where we met with students wanting to apply for the IBL program and potential graduate students. It was rewarding being able to share our experiences and give advice on transitioning from university life to a professional workplace.
Studying at the University of Canberra helped us to develop an understanding of technology and business. We also learned some important employability skills like how to work in a team, problem-solving and time management.
It was essential to have these important skills in the workplace and even though we have now started our careers at PwC, we continue to evolve and undertake further learning opportunities.
As former IBL participants who are now working full-time at PwC, we highly recommend that students take seriously the work experience opportunities at their disposal. Attend events organised by Careers UC to find out about these opportunities and how to apply.
The IBL program provided us a unique opportunity to gain valuable client experience while finishing our studies and is further proof that hard work and grabbing opportunities with both hands can translate to great success.