We are passionate about advancing the cause of international student employability in Australia. We believe that international students offer vast cultural, social and economic benefits to the local communities throughout our nation.
Our group was formed in May 2016 to provide a platform for the networking of professionals and to foster collaboration among different organisations, educational institutions and others to improve international student employability outcomes.
In July 2018, we received funding through the International Student Welfare Program (a Victorian Government initiative to support projects aimed at enhancing the experience of international students studying in Victoria) which enabled us to successfully strengthen stakeholder relationships, establish new ones and share resources as we worked towards achieving our vision and mission.
Since then, we have expanded our partnerships to include university representatives and higher education providers from all 8 major universities in Melbourne, Victorian TAFEs, private colleges and industry partners.
From 2018-2019, we held a number of networking meetings and events with professionals and leaders in education, government and industry to facilitate deep discussions on focus areas of support as well as identifying opportunities, avenues and platforms for cross-collaboration. Through these events, we were fortunate to have established a common ground of understanding to further our cause with key persons such as the Founder and CEO of HR Giant, Drake International, Bill Pollock and the Malaysian Consul General, Mazita Marzuki. Presently, we have 80 members from different organisations, associations and institutions across various sectors, all involved in international education or the sector.
Not least important are our volunteers who form the backbone of our operations. Post-COVID, there are currently 35 student volunteers from different educational institutions, backgrounds and fields of study registered with VicWISE. They are empowered to carry out key tasks for the successful delivery of projects. The team dedicates time and energy in areas such as strategic management, employability, marketing, social media, content writing, website support and events management. Building a strong volunteer base has enabled us to reach out to more students directly through contacts and to identify areas to positively impact the international student experience.
With COVID-19 and Stage 4 restrictions, VicWISE is working hard to think laterally and offer a wide range of services and support for international students. We continue to support our international student community especially in these tough times by offering channels to seek support for their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Our Key Milestones
Since our inception, we have reached a number of key milestones.
- Established as a Working Group with the name Victorian Working Group on International Student Employability (VicWISE) spearheaded by Brooke Young and Mano Guy
- Introduced organisation’s first logo
- Commencement of monthly meet-ups
- Introduced international student interns to support VicWISE
- Initiated a pilot project with the Australian Indian Business Council (AIBC) and Australian Accent and English Pronunciation Specialist to trial the delivery of practical assistance for Indian international students to improve employability
- Designed factsheets for employers and students
- Invited to present the concept of VicWISE at various state and national seminars and conferences
- Reformatted steering committee and introduced five new members, including a student representative to the existing team
- Rolled out first networking event on 18 0ctober for 75 professionals at Study Melbourne, Hardware Lane, CBD Melbourne
- Steering committee proposed for VicWISE to be registered as an NGO
- Introduction of VicWISE first website since inception in 2016
- Professional membership grew to 54
- Regular professional networking meetings continued once every 6 weeks
- Rolled out second networking event on 21 Feb for 15 volunteers, 74 professionals and industry partners at Deakin Downtown, Melbourne CBD. Highlight of the event was a groundbreaking meeting with VicWISE guest, Founder & CEO of Drake International, Bill Pollock
- Registered as a non-government organisation (NGO)
- Rolled out the new VicWISE logo
- Conducted the first networking meet-and-greet event for international students
- Election of the Executive Board (elected every 2 years) under the new NGO structure
- Announced the membership fee for professionals and students
- Began exploration of regional projects with AMES and regional partners
- Professional membership grew to 84
- Membership fees were rolled out
- Updated the employer factsheet for distribution at a recruitment roadshow in April
- In response to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on international students, VicWISE assumed a temporary role to deliver pastoral care to those who had lost their jobs, experienced financial and food shortages as well as faced homelessness and emotional wellbeing issues
- Held the first VicWISE Webinar, “Stepping up in the face of uncertainty” with international speaker, Raj Bhadwar.
- Austrade signed an Agreement to be part of VicWISE
- Relaunch of VicWISE website, planning the new big picture and recommencing professionals networking sessions to help with connectivity and nurturing a sense of belonging.