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 2018 and launched the inaugural cohort of the Global Trade Accelerator Program in late 2018.
This cohort comprised 134 students from across UNSW, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Western Sydney University (WSU), formed into 26 teams and matched with 19 exporters and trade professionals.
A second cohort of students 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.
One of the supporting partners is the Export Council of Australia, which 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.”
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.
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,” said Martin.
“The report saved us time and money investigating the market ourselves,” he said.