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THIS summer, Kyle Nelson does not have to stack shelves at his local supermarket. Instead, he is getting paid to learn in his university placement with Insight Engineering in Geelong.
The 12-week placement is part of Deakin University’s Industry Based Learning Program offered to participants in the Dean’s Scholars Program and high achieving students.
Mr Nelson gained a highly sought after position in the Dean’s Scholars Program after he was named dux of his class at Trinity College in Colac.
In the first month of his placement, the second year student in the Engineering (Mechatronics and Robotics) course is enjoying learning while he works.
“I'm now into my third week of placement and am thoroughly enjoying it,” Mr Nelson said. “The staff at Insight have been fantastic. They made me feel welcome right from the very first day and have been there to help me whenever I have needed.”
Students in the Industry Based Learning Program are paid to undertake three month, six month or 12 month placements in industry.
Mr Nelson said he had already gained a range of skills that will be valuable in his future workplace.
“The work I've been doing involves creating electrical drawings in the AutoCAD software for jobs ranging from local factories to large international projects. Not only have I learned a lot in AutoCAD, but through the drawings I've done I've also learnt heaps about the circuits and how they function.”
The experience will provide him with valuable skills both in his future career and as he embarks on the third year of his Engineering degree at Deakin.
Faculty associate professor Dineli Mather said the program, available to Dean’s Scholars and to students who maintain a distinction average, provided valuable career skills.
“The Industry Based Learning Program offers participants the opportunity to apply and consolidate knowledge gained at university, experience workplace culture and work practices, explore career options and develop professional networks,” Prof Mather said.
“The program aims to recognise and reward hard-working, ambitious students and showcase them to prospective employers. Graduate recruiters usually give preference to students who have participated in IBL programs for these same reasons as they recognise that these students are better prepared for work and also likely to be making a more informed decision about their career choices,” she said.
Mr Nelson’s achievements at Deakin follow various successes he gained as a resident of Colac. In 2005, he was school captain at Trinity College, attended the National Youth Science Forum and won the Colac Lions Club stage in the Lions Youth of the Year quest.
In the future, he would like to draw on the experience he gains at Deakin and through the IBL program to pursue a career in robotics.