The NSW Government, through a Study NSW Partner Project grant, has supported a pilot program that matches international students in NSW with NSW-based exporters to complete market research projects for foreign markets with export potential.
Practera, the grant recipient, was awarded funding in September last year and launched the inaugural cohort of the Global Trade Accelerator Program in November.
This cohort comprised 134 students from across University of NSW (UNSW), University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Western Sydney University (WSU), formed into 26 teams and matched with 19 unique exporters and trade professionals.
A second cohort of students was launched in January, with 116 students from UNSW formed into 20 teams, matched with 12 unique exporters and trade professionals.
The objectives of the program for students are:
- Exposure and experience with an introductory authentic project learning experience focused on international market research;
- Development and application of skills in structured business analysis and report-writing;
- Virtual teamwork and
- Developing an understanding of skills in experiential learning, including seeking, giving and receiving feedback and engaging in critical self-reflection
The Export Council of Australia (ECA), one of the supporting partners, has been promoting the program to its members.
CEO Alina Bain said the program is a great opportunity for its busy members to tap into the smart young future leaders studying here in Australia and get their insights into potential export markets.
“I think exporters will see enormous value in the authentic insights and expertise of international students," Ms Bain said.
Supporting students through the learning journey
To date, over 170 international students have participated in the program, alongside a domestic student contingent. The average student satisfaction score is 8 out of 10. Students have consistently indicated that as a result of participating in this program, they have improved their collaboration and communication skills, their teamwork and people management skills, and their problem-solving skills.
Practera’s experiential learning platform includes structured and curated content to support students through the learning journey. This allows the program to be designed as a virtual projects model, delivered at scale.
UNSW student Stefan said he enjoyed being challenged via a unique project brief from his company and addressing the issues within a team environment.
Market research report
“This helped with my ability to engage and collaborate successfully in a teamwork context,” he said.
Fellow UNSW student Courtney said: “I enjoyed being a part of a group that researched and contributed to helping an actual company in market research.”
Exporters and trade professionals benefit by receiving a value-add international market research report at the end of the two-week program.
Rick Martin of Billabong Jerky has had UNSW students teams compile reports on international markets for his business and the results have exceeded his expectations.
“For our small company it does have real value, especially in the very initial investigations into a new market,” Mr Martin said.
“The report saved us time and money investigating the market ourselves.”