Graduate students to guide shire decisions in regional Victoria

February 11 / 54

The Strathbogie Shire student team
The Strathbogie Shire student team

Four teams of students from the Faculty of Business and Economics are helping local government and businesses make more informed decisions on everything from the analysis of rates income to the economic impact of reusable water in public facilities. 

The international students, volunteers for the inaugural Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Volunteer Regional Business Program, will spend up to three weeks of their semester break in regional areas applying the knowledge they’ve learnt in the past year.

In Moira Shire, volunteers will help the council produce a business plan for local entertainment services and facilities to stem the drain of young people away from the region. Students at the Strathbogie Shire will participate in a cost analysis to help the council better rationalise its rate income stream.

A third group, coordinated in conjunction with the University’s Dookie campus, will be based at Mitchelton Winery and will assess the carbon footprint, from paddock to plate, of the processes involved in producing wine and fruit products.  

The final group will work closely with the Committee for Ballarat to help determine the economic impact on employment of the proposed Ballarat West Link road in the developing airport precinct.  

Coordinator Sue Elston, from the Faculty of Business and Economics Careers Centre, said the program was a winner for both the students and the local community.  “For students, it provides invaluable vocational work experience, and the community  benefits from access to a group of dedicated and highly trained volunteers,” she said.

“Not only will the students enjoy the hospitality of regional communities, they will interact with many potential employers. With professional skill shortages increasing in regional Australia, this is a great opportunity for students to build their CV and career prospects.”

Participant Jingjing (Queenie) Yang agreed. “I have just completed my studies and I’m finding it difficult to get a job,” she said.

"With the WIL Volunteer Regional program I will get the experience to put on my CV.  I’ll become part of an Australian community and I also hope to meet potential employers.”

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