Internships set to play role in preparing uni students

WORK experience and internships could soon play a bigger role in university students' education to prepare them for real-world jobs, under a major agreement between universities and business.

The agreement will be formally announced by Universities Australia chairwoman Professor Sarah Harding at the National Press Club, as the peak group prepares for its annual conference in Canberra.

It has been endorsed by major business players the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group.

The agreement will focus on developing more "work- integrated learning" for higher education students, in an effort to better prepare them for jobs at the end of their studies.

It will see work placements play a bigger role in higher education, in line with recent recommendations from both the Chief Scientist and the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency.

The agreement also aims to overcome the problem of university graduates being unable to find work due to a lack of job experience or connections to the working world.

UA chief executive Belinda Robinson said as the manufacturing sector loses jobs, it was "vital" to foster an environment to help lift economic growth and expand job opportunities.

"The plan means university graduates gain the work skills they need to make best use of their up-to-date knowledge and prepare them for the workplace," Mr Robinson said.

"These are the practical elements that help foster a flexible economy able to generate and take advantage of the latest knowledge, innovation and research."

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