New Degree Concept


Overview of a collaborative partnership and project between Industry, Institution and its University Careers & Employability Service

Demonstrated benefit to tertiary students, graduate employers and/or tertiary institutions

The project for consideration was undertaken by Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE), the University of South Australia (UniSA), and the Careers and Employability Service (C&ES).  The purpose of the project being to co-create a new undergraduate bachelors degree that was fit for purpose for the organisation, university, and students.

The degree was shaped around a set of guiding principles: the creation of a local STEM talent pipeline (needed following the relocation of HPE from Sydney to Adelaide); the creation of 430 new jobs over next 5 years, and the transformation of its graduate recruitment activities allow it to re-configure the composition of its domestic and global workforce.  As a result, our project criss-crossed with many of these agendas, it ensured C&ES had a seat and strong voice at the table.

In May 2014, 6 weeks after initial signing, a working party was formed comprising of the Director of Strategic and External Projects, Head of School, Program Director, Course Co-ordinator, Head of Careers & Employability, (made Course Co-ordinator in Yr.2) and academics. The purpose of the working group was to negotiate course content. As the degree was to be co-designed, co-delivered, and co-assessed all three parties had an equal voice in its construction.

The HPE Executive and Graduate Recruiter Teams, supported by C&ES, negotiated for and secured three things: an embedded and assessed Professional and Career Development Model, a taught and assessed ‘Business Consultancy Soft Skills Module that would be based around the HPE Graduate Competencies, and the preparation of the students for the two 6 month internships completed as a course requirement. During the two internships C&ES would monitor the students and to check on progress. For 2016 this changed slightly as the Program Director completed a 12 month secondment with HPE to help bed down the Research Project that made up the Honours component of the degree.

It was agreed that the Program Director would hand-picked the students. Entry criteria were set that required students to have completed two years of the programmes with a continuous GPA of 7.0+, and an original ATAR of 80.  All the students were expected to undertake a high degree of professional development on top of their other commitments. This expose included a debate with a Google Co-Founders, to pass at least one Professional Certification Course during their Internships, and inclusion in the UniSA 25th Birthday Year media campaigns.  The feedback speaks for itself as to date 20/21 participating students have been offered graduate roles post graduation; with the final student considering a number of opportunities.

Following its success employers and students are keen to know more.  Both like the idea of a degree specifically designed around them, along with smaller class sizes. For C&ES as the guiding principles and the modules we created to support them, are the non-negotiable components in this new degree model, for us this is a great win-win!

Potentially or currently benefits the NAGCAS organisation, its members and the career development industry

Model to be replicated with similar organisations, and other disciplines. Evidence of the need for embedded Careers & Employability Models by Employers, Institutions and Students.

A degree of innovation

Degree of collaboration and ability to influence degree content, assessment, and the blending of an employers graduate recruiter competencies into curriculum, and ability to tailor learning around Sectorial need.

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