As the economic landscape continues to change, small businesses need to innovate so they can stay ahead. One of the most effective ways to do this is by improving the sustainability of their workforce.
Small businesses are uniquely placed to be able to offer opportunities to students at local universities and TAFEs, helping to develop their skills and experience while benefiting from their fresh perspectives and eagerness to learn.
Mark Wallace, Principal of boutique economics consultancy and research firm Econisis, understands the value that tertiary students can bring to small businesses and the importance of contributing to their development as future employees.
Mark met Tom Carmichael, a second-year Bachelor of Property, Economics and Business student, at the Redlands Chamber of Commerce Futures Forum in 2021. Now, Tom works for Econisis as a Junior Economist.
“There is an increasing need to engage with universities and TAFEs to provide students with experience as they study,” said Mark. “Engaging in work experience opportunities allows students to apply their knowledge and skills in a productive way, and contribute to business growth and prosperity.”
The annual Futures Forum, hosted by the Redlands Regional Jobs Committee and backed by the Queensland Government, connects employers with students looking to enter the workforce in regional Queensland.
The Forum provides local businesses with the opportunity to showcase their offering and give students an insight into their industry. For students like Tom, it also offers the chance to meet prospective employers.
“I was nervous, but I put myself out there at the Futures Forum,” said Tom. “It led to work experience at Econisis, which has given me great exposure to the real-world side of what I’m studying and a whole new perspective on the industry.”
Mark believes that local businesses will be surprised by how capable students are in tackling given tasks.
“There’s an expectation that when students are studying, they don’t really have any real-world skills that can be applied to help with the business,” he said. “But they bring with them skills that are aligned with newer technology and newer business processes and thinking, which can really help your business’ productivity – not to mention the innovation that you need to be competitive in a global environment.”
Providing opportunities to young people can assist businesses in overcoming workforce shortages and improving the sustainability of said workforce moving forward. Work experience placements are a great way to help employers and employees discover and nurture mutually beneficial partnerships, both now and in the future.
For more from Mark and Tom, check out the video below.
If your business wants to offer work experience opportunities to TAFE and university students, get in touch with the Redlands Regional Jobs Committee for more information and helpful resources.