FedUni bucks the jobs trend

FEDERATION University ranks number one in the state for graduate employment, according to a national survey, despite above average unemployment rates across Latrobe-Gippsland.

The nation’s latest job figures, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics late last month, revealed Latrobe-Gippsland’s unemployment rate had jumped by about four per cent in April 2015 to nine per cent this year.

However, data from the Graduate Destinations Survey 2013-2015 ranks FedUni the university number one in the state with a graduate full-time employment rate of 70.1 per cent.

According to the survey, the median salary of a graduate from the university was $56,000.

Exact graduate employment figures for the Gippsland campus are unknown, but head of campus Harry Ballis said postgraduate surveys revealed the majority of Churchill alumni gained employment within Latrobe-Gippsland.

“A significant proportion of Gippsland graduates are nursing and work within Gippsland,” Dr Ballis said.

“Teaching is another big draw card, 90 per cent of graduate teachers from here (Churchill) get employed in the broader Gippsland area.

“Business, IT – I’m continuously coming across business accountants in town saying they completed their degree with us.”

He credits a curriculum with an “applied focus, targeting jobs” for graduate employment success. 

“The education the students are doing (at FedUni) has a direct connection with employability within careers that create jobs,” Dr Ballis said.

“There are some key mechanisms we have, such as strong careers advice and support on the campus.

“We also have a very successful industry placement program where students spend about 12 weeks, nearly a whole semester, in an industry and part of that is paid training on the job.” 

Dr Ballis said “more often than not” a student was offered to continue working with their placement organisation once the mandatory 12 weeks were complete.

“This is so many times better than interviewing (for an employer),” he said.

“It’s an easier process and they have first-hand experience of a student’s work ethic.”

He could not comment on why the university’s statistics went against the region’s nine per cent unemployment rate.

“But what I will say is the campus was really struggling to attract people to the facility (two years ago) where 12 to 15 per cent of Gippsland students used to attend. Now analysing enrolments, 73 per cent of students have a Gippsland postcode,” Dr Ballis said.

“And with a very successful (university graduate) employment record which leads the pack, I believe this will contribute to more of our people being employed across the region.”