5 Reasons Why Business Should Embrace Work Experience

5 Reasons Why Business Should Embrace Work Experience

Opinion Piece Written By By The Grand Student Survey Team — Stephanie Holland and Dhawal Nayak | Updated February 23, 2018.

To be effective in a global economy, businesses need to adopt and support work experience programs for students.

In Australia, we have many industry leaders such as the Australian Computer Society, QMI Solutions Group, MEGT, Blue Dog, Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) and others advocating for and connecting young Australians with work experience opportunities. These industry partners and the businesses associated with them understand the importance of work-ready graduates.

We now more than ever need to embrace the fact that world of work is changing. Without work-ready graduates, employers will struggle to recruit and retain the vital skills they need for the future of their business.

There are many reasons businesses should embrace, enable and engage the younger generation. The Generation Next aka GenZ, born after 1995 are shaped differently, then generation Y. They have different characteristics, expectations and communication styles — therefore engaging them effectively requires a new approach, as cited by an education future report from McCrindle.

1. Future of Work

Future of Work is not just a buzzword, it is an evolutionary process. Changing industry demands requires us to bring new generation minds in the business. An executive briefing written by James Manyika, Chairman and Director of McKinsey Global Institute stated, ‘The world of work is in a state of flux, which is causing considerable anxiety — and with good reason’.

Generation Z is the future of the global economy, and that future is already at our doorstep. Bringing students into the workforce, to gain an understanding of their way of being and working gives any business an advantage. The Everything Guide To Gen Z, a report from Vision Critical stated that ‘By 2018, GenZ will control $200 billion in direct spending. In the meantime, they influence more than $600 billion in spending by their parents.’

Work is changing slowly, but surely. Let’s engage students from the early stages of their career.

2. Attracting right talent

Some industries in Australia could be in trouble soon when it comes to finding talent. One example of this is the mining industry. An article by Ben Creagh of Australian Mining, says that the ‘University of Western Australia (UWA) was forecasting only eight students would graduate as mining engineers in 2018.’ The article also mentions that ‘enrolments for mining engineering at the University of New South Wales were expected to be the lowest in 40 years.’

‘These worrying forecasts surfaced as mining in Australia started to see skills shortages emerge in vital areas during the second half of 2017, including engineering,’ Creagh writes.

It has become more important than ever before to have right people working for your business. Everyone has talent and it is about finding the right chemistry between the employees and organisation, says Roberta Matuson, in her new book named Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace that Attracts and Keeps the Best.

Talent is often overlooked because of biases. People with the best qualification and CV always had a competitive advantage. Some businesses even use pattern recognition tools to onboard best talent. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup said pattern recognition tools have been OK for quite a while, however, ‘as the world is getting more and more unstable and disruptive, patterns aren’t holding.’. ‘The things that made you successful in past don’t make you successful in future, and it’s produced a crisis, a vacuum.’

Work experience enables employers to build and nurture a new talent pool for future job opportunities through exposing bright young minds to an organisation’s culture.

3. Turnover

Implementing work experience programmes has shown to help turnover within organisations. Work experience can give students a chance to see if they enjoy a certain role. It’s a chance to find the best match to a company’s culture and mission. This ‘try-before-you-hire’ approach can have huge benefits on both sides, increasing the chance of finding the right person before they enter an organisation as a full-time employee.

Students who had completed an internship or work experience are better at making effective career decisions than those who did not. A study found this is because students could better distinguish their own personal values and how this affects their career.

4. Participation in an ecosystem

Let’s look at the big picture. An article written for The Conversation mentions that ‘students who completed internships as part of their university degree are better at making career decisions and are more satisfied with their career choices.’ The more businesses that participate in offering internships and work experience, the more we are contributing to a healthier career ecosystem.

The article continues, ‘In an era of intense global competition for jobs, being able to recruit and retain graduates who are committed, satisfied and productive is critical for any business.’

So, it’s crucial that students get experience to figure out what they like and don’t like, discover different job roles, and grow their professional network. Businesses are a crucial part of improving this ecosystem, for everyone involved.

5. Work experience programme

Now, more than ever, you can find effective and structured work experience programs in all different industries. Australian Computer Society, QMI Solutions, Govt. and many other educators have implemented a structured work experience process. The stereotype of students making tea, coffee, and cleaning floors has largely been overcome due more due diligence from educators.

The Australian government rolled out the National Work Experience Programme’ which is part of jobactive. ‘It is a work experience programme which places job seekers in real life work experience placements. It helps students gain experience and confidence while demonstrating skills to potential employers’ — Australian Government, Department of Jobs and Small Business.

Many businesses that I’ve spoken to recently are working to create project-based programs integrating work experience for students.

The Grand Student Survey is actively working with Australian businesses to understand how to create the best outcomes and keep up with the changing industry demands.

What steps is your business taking to participate in work experience opportunities?

Top 5 Ways Decision-Making Has Changed for Students

Top 5 Ways Decision-Making Has Changed for Students

The world is advancing faster than we could have imagined. Students today often feel a lack of direction when it comes to preparing for the future. We are facing hard (decision-making) questions about the future of work that do not yet have a solid answer. Jobs today are changing at such rate that it’s has been difficult for the emerging Australians to keep in trend.

When we asked students — What are your plans after finishing school? we got a lot of responses like;

I’m confused, I don’t know where I start

I would like to do drama and theatre, but there is no industry

I’ve thought a little bit about it but there’s only so much you can think about it before you start panicking!

It’s really hard to like to find what I want to do because there are so many things I want to do

Does this feel familiar to you? What was your answer when someone asked you those questions?

I believe we all went through this ‘phase’ of growing up — where we were unsure of what we wanted in life and for our future. We questioned our skills — our values, and how those apply to finding a job we would enjoy. After all, on average we spend one-third of our lives at work.

It’s natural that we feel pressure during these days of our adolescence.

‘Not all those who wander are lost’

– J.R.R. Tolkien

In my assessment, there are few key reasons why students struggle when it comes to deciding their career, pathway, or next move. The top five listed below are amongst few that resonates with me;

1. Paralyzed by Choice

Let me illustrate an example here. I recently had to buy presents for a friend’s baby shower. Since I am always working I didn’t have time to drive around and shop for the present. So just like everyone I went online and started browsing for the baby shower present. Amazon and eBay had a great selection online all in one place. Amazon recommended me their ‘Top Rated Baby Gifts’ and I kid you not — it had just over 40,000 results.

First I was just browsing through causally — to help decide among the choices, I could view people’s reviews and the product rating. The freedom of choice made me feel I was in control. Nearly an hour later, after having browsed hundred of items, read countless contradictory reviews and pondering far too many choices, I was confused and exhausted.

Barry Schwartz, an American author wrote a book calls — The Paradox of Choice, where he compares the choices we are faced with in almost all areas of life, including education. In his own words, Barry express his views on current education system –

‘Today, the modern institution of higher learning offers a wide array of different “goods” and allows, even encourages, students — the “customers” — to shop around until they find what they like. Individual customers are free to “purchase” whatever bundles of knowledge they want, and the university provides whatever its customers demand. In some rather prestigious institutions, this shopping-mall view has been carried to an extreme.’

Schwartz continues, ‘In the first few weeks of classes, students sample the merchandise. They go to a class, stay ten minutes to see what the professor is like, then walk out, often in the middle of the professor’s sentence, to try another class. Students come and go in and out of classes just as browsers go in and out of stores in a mall. ‘You’ve got ten minutes,’ the students seem to be saying, ‘to show me what you’ve got. So give it your best shot.’

The bottom line is that students today are required to make choices about education that may affect them for the rest of their lives. And they are required to make these choices at a point in their intellectual development where they may lack the experience to make the decision.

‘As the number of options increases, the costs, in time and effort, of gathering the information needed to make a good choice also increase,’ writes Schwartz. ‘The level of certainty people have about their choice decreases. And the anticipation that they will regret their choice increases.’

2. Content Overload

Who would have thought learning can have a side effect — well it’s true. Many researchers have agreed digesting information without proper structure or process can experience ‘information overload’ or ‘cognitive overload’ as the neuroscientists would say. Saga Briggs from Open Colleges talks about the concept of ‘INFOBESITY’ –

“Just as our eyes are sometimes larger than our stomachs, our interest can be significantly greater than our brain capacity.”

The word ‘Information Overload’ was coined by Bertram Gross and first recorded use by the futurologist Alvin Toffler in 1970. Alvin predicted that the rapidly increasing amounts of information being produced would eventually cause people problems.

Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School has spent more than a decade studying the work habits of 238 people, collecting a total of 12,000 diary entries between them. She finds that focus and creativity are connected. Students are more likely to be creative if they are allowed to focus on something for some time without interruptions. If constantly interrupted or forced, they are less likely to be creative. Overload can also make students less productive. David Meyer, of the University of Michigan, has shown that people who complete certain tasks in parallel take much longer and make many more errors than people who complete the same tasks in sequence.

The root of the problem is that, although computer processing and memory are increasing all the time, the humans that must use the information are not getting any faster. Effectively, the human mind acts as a bottleneck in the process.

3. Disruptive Future of Work

An unchanging assessment about work is that it is changing. Disruption is a word that usually links with Innovation. We have been innovating since time began and technological change are not new, but changes are now happening at a scale and speed that is unprecedented. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that

“up to 30% of work activities globally could be displaced through automation by 2030, with a midpoint of 15 percent.”

As per the report, humans are estimated to be increasingly exposed to automation — which will bring both opportunities as well as challenges. Students are uncertain about the future ahead. In the future of work — automation and artificial intelligence will replace humans — jobs, as we know them today, will be somewhat obsolete. That’s an obvious worry that affects the decision-making process and makes it difficult for emerging students.

I think I’ve been avoiding it a lot — I’ve thought a little bit about it but there’s only so much you can think about it before you start panicking — about everything!

—  a comment from a Grade 12 student.

I believe the uncertainty and overwhelming excitement about the future, and the ever-changing landscape of work makes students feel disrupted.

4. Personal Factors

There are a lot of factors that can influence Students’ decision-making ability. While growing through adolescence can be difficult — decisions are still required of them. Some factors in the mix include;

  1. Value vs. Passion — We’ve all experienced the feeling of conflict, when we have to decide on value proposition offered that contradicts our interests or passions. For example “I would like to be a dance teacher, but the pay isn’t enough to raise a family”.
  2. Avoiding decision making — During adolescence, many defaults to the view that it’s easier if someone made choices for you. Students avoid making decisions in hope that it will go away.
  3. Multiple interests — Wanting to experience many different things can make the choice harder for students. When I asked a year 11 student what her interest was, she answered — “ I am really interested in a lot of things, like boxing, acting, legal studies.”
  4. Fear — Fear of the unknown is often the most difficult to deal with. Students are left wondering whether pursuing a certain course or pathway which will help them get ahead in life, which can build a level of anxiety and fear. Fear of making a bad decision can also influence decision making.
  5. Guidance — Poor guidance can contribute to difficulty with decision making. Parents and guardians aren’t always able to weigh-in on future work trends. They find it difficult to provide advice and may lead to a decision made poorly or not made at all.

5. Experience

Students can lack confidence in decision-making abilities due to a lack of experience. According to researchinstiute.org — Students have two kinds of thinking systems, which are referred to as“hot” and “cold”. Both have quite opposite characteristics; Hot thinking is intuitive, automatic, and reactive and Cold thinking helps them learn to analyze, reflect, and integrate complex ideas. Most students in their adolescence develop strong cold thinking skills like reasoning and reflection but lack the experience to conduct hot thinking.

I believe having more experience enhances your decision-making ability. Having an experience in something can change the way we will behave in future decisions. For example, we know not to put our hands in or near the fire once we experience the burn. Once we have experienced a task or an activity we know the process, input and the output, which give us more information for future decisions.

“This is a generation that has been ‘syllabused’ through their lives”, says Martin Artim, vice president at Enterprise, in an article written by The Washington Post. Artim is referring to how often decisions are made for students, leaving them unable to make decisions for themselves.

It is important to be able to play out your career aspirations in real life. Students in Australia are largely ill-equipped to find work experience. Many are confused about where to start, help and resources are spread out, and sometimes it’s left to them alone.

What’s your top piece of advice for making better decisions?

Press Release

Press Release


January 24, 2018


Media Contact:

Dhawal Nayak

Director, One Entity

P: +61 433 5323 44

E: [email protected]

The Grand Student Survey, an opportunity for students, school and industry partners

Local startup leading a student-focused and driven campaign

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – Brisbane based tech startup company One Entity, along with local schools and industry key stakeholders are behind an up-and-coming campaign called The Grand Student Survey (TGSS). A call to incorporate more work experience opportunities for students, the digital survey is set to launch later this year.


“Our goal is to start a conversation with schools, students, and businesses about the need for more work experience opportunities,” says One Entity Director Dhawal Nayak. TGSS has been designed spotlight important issues, such as;

  • What Australian schools are doing about the increasing importance placed on gaining relevant work experience
  • The disconnect between schools and industry partners.
  • Why students struggle to gain relevant work experience.
  • Helping schools achieve real-world experience opportunities for their students
  • How can parents stay informed of ever-changing industry demands and career pathways?

By applying a collaborative approach, One Entity wants to design a platform which creates a safe and nurtured (filtered, sifted and identified) connection between school students and future employers where student’s strengths, interests and aspirations are identified and aligned with an opportunity/experience.


Degree requirements are giving way to relevant experience

Big companies like Google, Apple, Ernst & Young, Pricewaterhouse and Ogilvy are now hiring people based on merit rather than credentials reported by The Conversation.

Our goal is to empower young Australians by providing real work experience opportunities in the area of their interest. TGSS is on a mission to enable connections between students, schools, businesses and the community, by collectively working with schools and collaborating with local businesses and industry partners.


About TGSS

The Grand Student Survey (TGSS) was initiated to bring more work experience opportunities for students in Australia. The idea seasoned after an extensive research and speaking to educators in senior schooling.

The world is advancing faster than we could have ever imagined. As technology advances, new industries are born, the demand for all new skill sets will emerge. The next generation will be faced with experiences and opportunities that we had never dreamed of today. The Grand Student Survey entails question and answers – to help us define the current problems and future opportunities for emerging Australian students.


Related Links

Download a PDF Press Release.


How to gain 21st century skills in a 20th century workforce?

How to gain 21st century skills in a 20th century workforce?

How can we teach 21st-century skills today that will impact the future of works?

Opinion Piece Written By Dhawal Nayak, The Grand Student Survey Team

Unfortunately, Innovation and Education often do not go hand-in-hand. I believe society is still operating under a 20th-century paradigm. Time is ticking and yet we have not formulated a rescue plan.

Generation Z could potentially face the same level of anxiety and anger towards their parents — similar to, Generation Y, who are facing a bleak future. An in-depth investigation by The Guardian concluded that Gen Z seems to harbor anxiety about things like; distrust in government, thinking “the system is rigged”, and their opinion of the job market is even worse — 79 percent worry about getting a job, while 72 percent worry about debt.

An article written in March 2017 from the Sydney Morning Herald states that underemployment is up in Australia and around the world. It’s not because of automation, or because Skynet has started to gain artificial consciousness and seeks to exterminate the human race in order to fulfil the mandates of its original coding — no. Rather, employers are creating more jobs with part-time hours.

Alongside this disruption, there is a debate raging between those who believe we are heading towards unprecedented technological unemployment, and those who believe job prospects for people, with the right mix of talent, have never been better.

Studies published by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation shows that the U.S. labour market is not experiencing high levels of job churn (defined as ‘new occupations being created while older occupations are destroyed’). In fact, it’s the exact opposite; levels of occupational churn in the United States are now at historic lows.

We can thrive in today’s world — we can educate and prepare the next generation today by teaching them skills required to work alongside new technology, that is disrupting the job market.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

— Gandhi

Elon Musk is building crazy rockets, while simultaneously working on amazing renewable energy projects. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is working on Apple’s next big thing — augmented reality glasses. Innovation is happening all around us, but the education system has been slow to adapt. Young Australians aren’t getting the opportunity to experience the work of tomorrow. The traditional pathway of vocational training and university studies will provide them with the hard skills — which are easily defined and measurable. Yet the soft skills like entrepreneurship, emotional intelligence, decision-making, and problem-solving are hard to find in a curriculum.

“With hard skills, you can manage your boss; and with soft skills, you can lead your boss.”

— Professor M.S. Rao, leadership specialist

More than 85 percent of the executives and recruiters surveyed in the Gallup-Lumina Foundation report thought that businesses and universities should work more closely together to develop career paths for students. However, fewer than 22 percent of these businesses had an internship or student advancement program in place.

Teaching 21st-century skills today will impact the future of work. We must work to preserve these opportunities for future generations, which is why we are leading an initiative to do just that.

For more information, visit thegrandstudentsurvey.com

Get Experience – While You’re Studying

Get Experience – While You’re Studying

Education isn’t simply about what you learn in the classroom.

We all know how important life experience is ― how it defines us as humans, helps us understand our inherent values and makes us who we are today.

They say,

We grow through our experiences in life!
― (usually someone important).

Education is important, I don’t disagree. So is work experience ― however, I believe that one should seek the opportunity to get into the industry while they are still in school. At 15 years old, you may not know what you want, what you enjoy, where your passion lies, your values or what “lights you up” ― that’s just normal. I mean, most of us feel like we don’t know what we are doing – and we often change direction depending on the circumstance and opportunities we come across.

I would like to talk about how important it is to acquire work experience. I believe we can motivate students as early as high school to explore the workspace ― and grab real experience. This experience would better equip students to ask, and answer, the following questions for themselves:

  • What do I like about the job?
  • What don’t I like about the job?
  • Can I see myself doing the job on an everyday basis?
  • Do my values align with the kind of work they do?

and many more…

We are living in the 21st century – the “Ideas Economy”. The next generation preparing to enter the workforce is known as the Global Generation (Gen Z). It is comprised of around 20% of Australia’s population. A research conducted by Vision Critical, The Everything Guide to Generation Z states, “Generation Z is mature beyond its years. The words they use most commonly to describe their state of mind include happy, confident, motivated and excited ― just what anyone would hope for a generation now coming into its own.”

Gen Z is likely to be our most entrepreneurial generation, and given the right opportunities will help them discover where their passion lies. Experience will build confidence – which allows students to pursue a path and steer in the direction best suited for them

I remember when I was first entering the workforce, every employer I met, every door I knocked, I got the same response – “No experience, No job” ― a catch-22. At the time I realised what I had to do ― get work experience!

I did it the hard way, it took some time, several disappointing moments but at the end, it’s worth sharing my experience to help others with their journey.

I believe work experience allows the next generation to construct their own mindset and help them make more well-rounded decisions.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
― Mark Twain

I’m currently heading up a project called “The Grand Student Survey”.  Our goal is to empower young emerging Australians by providing real work experience opportunity in the area of their interest. We are working with schools, local businesses and industry partners.

Our mission to facilitate connections between students, schools, businesses and the community. Let’s work collaboratively to support them, help find right connections, provide mentorship, and opportunities to experience.

The possibilities are endless when you empower students to be lifelong learners.