Entering the workforce for the first time can be daunting, especially when you’re a student leaving the classroom environment. To establish a successful career, it’s important to start networking, building relationships, and learning how to work in a team as early as possible. The art of workplace collaboration is also something that can only be learned on the job. That’s why APC gives students a head start by offering Work Integrated Learning programs.
These programs are designed to provide work experience to students so that they can discover how to apply their theoretical knowledge in the real world.
ProjectBase connects high-performing students with industry stakeholders, offering them the unique opportunity to work on a project or event together. This allows students to apply the experiences and expertise that they have gained from their qualifications in a real-world setting. They can put their skills to the test and practice teamwork and collaboration with industry stakeholders to bring an idea, concept, or business plan to life.
Many vocational courses at APC also include mandatory work placements, helping students to gain valuable experience and contacts before graduation.
If you participate in APC’s Work Integrated Learning programs, you can also develop three invaluable team collaboration skills:
- Dealing with incomplete information.
- Practising active listening.
- Connecting ideas and perspectives.
Dealing with incomplete information.
Business issues are complex and it’s extremely rare for one person to know all of the answers. So, when you get to the workforce, you have to learn how to receive briefs that are incomplete. Sometimes your teammates are time-poor or don’t understand other people’s perspectives. Things change quickly, so information that was true in one moment could be false in the next.
Work Integrated Learning teaches you how to be adaptable and proactively seek out as much information from others as possible. When you are in a controlled classroom environment, it’s easy to get all of the information you need to complete a project from your trainer. But, by participating in Work Integrated Learning, you get used to having to ask a busy client or manager ‘why?’ multiple times in order to get to the bottom of the real problem to solve.
You can also improve your confidence in asking questions. You will be amazed by how often many people are thinking the same thing when you need to ask questions and clarify your understanding.
Working in the dynamic business world is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube that constantly changes shape. But, Work Integrated Learning teaches you how to seek and share information in order to get the full picture.
Practising active listening.
You will also learn how to listen to understand, rather than listening to speak. Being present makes other people feel respected, builds good relationships, and ensures that you understand the message. When you are on a work placement, you will see that people are often rushed and don’t have as much time to repeat information for you as a trainer does in the classroom.
You might have started learning how to use active listening in the classroom, by giving your trainers and classmates eye contact and letting them finish what they are saying. However, this really gets tested when you enter a workplace environment where there can be slack messages, emails, or customers that can distract you at any moment. You will take your active listening skills to a new level by clarifying your understanding and responding to people when the time is right.
You will also see how much active listening helps your teammates to open up. Something as simple as closing the lid on your laptop and turning to face the speaker can completely shift the energy in the room.
Connecting ideas and perspectives.
When you participate in APC’s ProjectBase program, you will apply your skills and knowledge in a new arena to solve an industry stakeholder’s problem. You might be a project management student, who is now working with a marketing student to ensure that external communications go out in time for your client. You could be an accounting student who needs to provide advice to a start-up business about how to make the most of its budget.
Throughout the programs, there are so many moments in which you will have to connect your ideas with others. Your confidence will start to grow when you see how valuable your knowledge is. You will start to realise the depths of what you have learnt throughout your studies and see how your perspective can positively influence a project. Confidence grows with experience and Work Integrated Learning gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge in the real world and expand your perspective.
Learn by doing.
The best way for students to improve their collaboration skills is to practice them in the real world. We all learn by doing and some of our best insights come from the mistakes we make along the way. These concepts will start to click with time and practice.
However, it can be hard to get exposure to these types of workplace scenarios when you’re still a student. So, if you’re ready to start building your confidence (and your resume), then reach out to our friendly Student Care team to find out how you can participate in ProjectBase and APC’s work placements.
You can reach out using the Live Chat feature below, in person at one of our campuses, or via our online contact page.