Recently, a newly released survey highlighted that 70% of ICT graduates wish they had undertaken more work experience when at university. This tallies with the importance that prospective employers place on work experience. More than 700 recent ICT graduates from 21 Australian universities responded to the survey which was funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council and led by a team from the University of Wollongong. While there was satisfaction with the quality of technical preparation, there was a resounding call by employers and the graduates themselves for improved work-integrated learning.
When asked how well they thought their university had prepared them for employment in the industry, 70% of students wanted more workplace learning to be included in their courses. John Debrincat, Chairman of the ACS Foundation, said that the findings support the activities of the ACS Foundation which promotes the concept of mandatory Work Integrated Learning for all ICT students. Since its launch in August 2001, the ACS Foundation has raised more than $23.5 million and awarded more than 1,650 scholarships. There have been a number of recent surveys of organisations which employ graduates, including a pilot study by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) which was conducted in conjunction with this graduate study. It showed that less than half the employer organisations were satisfied with the personal qualities and interpersonal skills of their recent graduate recruits. The areas most in need of improvement were communication and problem solving skills.