Access entrepreneurial university students to solve business problems online during the COVID-19 crisis

Work placements and projects previously arranged between students, universities and companies across Australia are being affected by COVID-19, reflecting changed and reduced operations and physical distancing requirements.

The way we connect, learn and continue to do business has shifted however business problems still need to be solved. Many university students have the capability to find meaningful solutions for business as they build the skills they require to be successful following graduation.

If your company needs to change a face-to-face work placement or project arranged between a university student and their university, explore with the relevant uni whether this can be achieved remotely.

If your company has not previously taken advantage of the benefits of engaging with students, the COVID-19 environment presents an opportunity to utilise students to remotely undertake projects that can solve business needs. This could fill skills gaps resulting from necessary COVID-19 actions.

Entrepreneurial university students can be sourced from disciplines relevant to your business need, for example to develop and implement a new digital marketing strategy or to meet some new IT/tech needs resulting from the sudden switch to the digital environment, or research a new produce/service/direction. Students can be sourced from all disciplines - marketing, IT, business, science, engineering and other areas specific to your problem.

Students use the latest information communication technology tools to communicate, plan, collaborate and present the business solution. They can collaborate and conduct meetings using their own IT equipment from home (e.g. meetings using Skype, Google Hangouts). They are supported by teaching staff who are proficient at project management and the use of collaborative technology.

The Australian Collaborative Education Network, which partners Ai Group on national university placement strategies, is a network of contacts from relevant industry placement teams at all Australian universities. It has developed strategies to continue remote work placements/projects during the COVID-19 environment. It has collaborated with colleagues in other countries, particularly New Zealand and Canada to share resources and strategies going forward.

Access this list of relevant contacts at every Australian university campus in order to discuss an online/remote project that can be undertaken to assist your company and the student.

The university will provide advice on preparation, risk management, safety and clarity around insurance for students doing unpaid placements as work from home. They will advise your company on:

  • clearly communicating expectations for working remotely. This could include working from home policies, guidelines, ways to obtain support, and notes on flexibility
  • offering a clear system for tracking and managing work, being accountable for their actions, keeping in touch with core members of the team for guidance and collaboration, and instructions to help guide them through using your company’s technology systems and remote communication channels
  • ensuring leadership/supervisor visibility and communication
  • considering new ways to unify your team.

Use COVID-19 to benefit from entrepreneurial students bringing innovation to your company.

Use the university contact list provided or contact to assist you to set up an online project with a student that can help your business.