Employability Panel

Date: 10 Feb 2021
Time: 11:10 – 12:10

Employability Panel:
International Student Employability during the time of pandemic

Speakers: Associate Professor Shanton Chang, Olivia Doyle, Sharon Cook, Professor Ly Tran (PhD), Megan Dench

Why join this session?

International student employability has been a focus of many institutions and organisations in the last decade in Australia. Key strategies for international students to enhance their employability have included doing research of target employers, enhancing their transferable and communication skills, increasing their cultural and industry awareness, and understanding employer expectations. In order to do so, international students have been advised to attend networking and engagement events at their institutions, at industry meetups or networking events organised by employers or professional bodies.

However, during the pandemic, these face-to-face events which would have been the mainstay of how international students and network have becomes difficult, if not impossible. At the same time, many companies are not only limiting their growth, but also downsizing, leading to unemployment more broadly.

In this complex context, what are the impacts on international student employability and employment? How might international students use their time to position themselves better for a post-covid environment, while surviving the current pandemic?

This panel includes experienced professionals and researchers in the field of international student employability and will address some of these questions, and look to the future.

Panel Speakers

Associate Professor Shanton Chang

Associate Dean (International) | Melbourne School of Engineering

Associate Professor Shanton Chang is Associate Dean (International) at the Melbourne School of Engineering, The University of Melbourne. He has been involved in building the internship program at the university, mentoring students, and engaging with industry partners to enable positive graduate outcomes for students. He continues to keep in touch with industry partners and alumni, to understand the needs and expectations of employers. 

He has spoken publicly at many forums on International Student employability. He is also one of the co-founders of Victorian Working Group on International Student Employability (VicWISE). He is also an ISANA Life Member.

Olivia Doyle

Senior International Student Advisor Employability | Swinburne University of Technology

Olivia is an experienced university career practitioner with a diverse background incorporating career counselling, corporate human resource management, organizational development and training, across a range of industries. Olivia specializes in career development and support for international students. She has an appreciation of the challenges facing international students in finding professional employment but also recognizes their unique qualities and the potential value they bring to Australian and international employers.

Olivia has worked in the university sector for the past ten years and prior to this was a corporate human resource practitioner with General Motors Holden and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, with a focus on graduate recruitment and development.

Olivia holds a range of tertiary qualifications, including a Master of Career Development. She is also a founding member of the Victorian Working Group on International Student Employability (VicWISE).

Sharon Cook

Internships Manager Monash Professional Pathways | Monash University

Sharon Cook has been working in the international education sector for 17 years and currently leads a team of 10 people who place approximately 1500 students into internships across four faculties at Monash University. 

Prior to this, Sharon’s roles included International Education program co-ordinator at the City of Melbourne, developing and implementing the council’s first International student strategy and the National International Education Policy Research Officer at the National Union of Students.

In this role, as Victorian president of ISANA and at the City of Melbourne, Sharon participated in a range of national and state international education advisory committees, developed and presented submissions to all levels of government on many facets of the international student experience in Australia, including quality education, migration and student visas, employment, and accommodation and discrimination.

Professor Ly Tran (PhD)

Professor in the School of Education | Deakin University

Professor Tran is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. Her research focuses on internationalisation of education, student mobility, international student graduate employability and Vietnamese higher education. Her books and papers have won a range of awards, including the International Education Association of Australia Excellence Award for Best Practice/Innovation in International Education. Ly has written extensively about international graduate employability and the impacts of COVID-19 on international students. Her latest publication on the topic is How to secure recovery of international student mobility?

Megan Dench

Manager, Careers and Employability | University of Melbourne

Meg (she/her) is passionate about connecting people to opportunity; current superpowers are focused on managing the Careers & Employability Service at the University of Melbourne and as a Board Member of the Feminist Writers Festival. To lead a team dedicated to improving student experience and innovating career development, Meg draws on skills and experience gathered from leadership roles at University of Melbourne, Melbourne Writers Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival and Malthouse Theatre, as well as various voluntary not-for-profit governance and development positions.

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