Amazing success for careers service
A concept based on the Amazing Race television series has helped secure the University of Adelaide a national award and given its students a competitive edge in the job market.
The University's "Careers on the Move" program, which challenges students to improve their employability skills by taking them out of their comfort zone, was judged one of the best careers programs in Australia.
Last year, more than 130 students signed up for the program by submitting an online resume, a covering letter and addressing selection criteria.
Students participated in either industry visits related to their field of study or took part in a Student Challenge, which featured an Amazing Race-style format designed to bring international and domestic students together.
The Careers Services team at the University of Adelaide won the 2009 National Best Practice Award for their innovative program.
Adelaide's program brought benefits to students, employers, careers services and other universities, according to judges from the National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services.
University of Adelaide Careers Service Manager Sue Hervey said the program appealed to students because it combined entertainment and challenges while improving their job-seeking skills.
"We took students out of their comfort zone, out of the university and into some amazing workplace environments, including the Forensic Services Branch at SA Police, ASC at Osborne, the State Opera Company, Co-Opera, the Adelaide Zoo and Lion Nathan Brewery," she said.
"Students were allowed inside these facilities for tours, Q&A sessions, dress rehearsals (for the Opera) and networking opportunities."
Three disciplines were targeted for the three-month program: music, science and engineering.
The industry program was complemented by a Student Challenge, using the Amazing Race concept to help develop employability skills and integrate 76 domestic and international students in activities combining teamwork, communication skills and problem solving.
The race involved physical and mental challenges that highlighted students' skills and abilities in a high-pressure competitive environment, set in the Adelaide CBD.
"This event was specifically designed to get students, previously unknown to each other, to work together in teams of four," Ms Hervey said.
Participating students were also given the opportunity to win mentoring sessions with well-known Australian opera singers Douglas McNicol and Teresa La Rocca, a half day with the SAPOL forensic investigation unit, and mentoring sessions with some of Adelaide's leading business people.
Story by Candy Gibson