SAS provides unique bridge between industry and academia

SAS and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) work closely together to offer students in undergraduate and postgraduate degrees the opportunity to gain valuable industry experience using SAS solutions in a real-world environment. Since 2003, students from QUT's Business School and Faculty of Science and Technology have participated in work placements ranging from six to 12 weeks over the summer holidays. They have developed SAS skills in their university courses, and through SAS’ Work Placement Program can take these skills to both business and government organisations which use SAS solutions.

It's a very worthwhile program for employers, as students are a cost-effective resource, having had grounding in data management and analytics skills they may require.

Jeanette Van Akkeren
School of Accountancy, QUT


SAS and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) work closely together to offer students in undergraduate and postgraduate degrees the opportunity to gain valuable industry experience using SAS solutions in a real-world environment. Since 2003, students from QUT's Business School and Faculty of Science and Technology have participated in work placements ranging from six to 12 weeks over the summer holidays. They have developed SAS skills in their university courses, and through SAS’ Work Placement Program can take these skills to both business and government organisations which use SAS solutions. 

"The program allows students to put the skills they have picked up in university courses into practice, working on real-world business problems", says SAS Academic Program Manager James Enoch. "It is a unique opportunity for students to get their foot in the door of the corporate world, find links to employment, and gain some great experience to add to their CVs." The SAS Work Placement Program was so successful in its initial phase that it grew year-on-year to the point where, over the last two years, it has been linking SAS-skilled students to SAS customers throughout Australia and New Zealand.

QUT Business School teaching staff Jeanette Van Akkeren and Kim MacKenzie, recognise that the work placement program benefits all parties, as it not only helps students directly, but it also demonstrates to potential employers that they have the required skills to perform SAS tasks. They also consider it a very worthwhile program for employers, as students can be a cost-effective resource, having had grounding in the data management or analytics skills they may require. Van Akkeren, a Senior Lecturer in the postgraduate program added that her students find the link between businesses using SAS and the work experience program a strong incentive to undertake units that offer this software.

Program reduces recruitment costs

With recruitment costs averaging $10,000 to $20,000 per candidate, the program also offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional recruiting. At the end of the work experience period, both students and employers have a much better idea of the suitability of the person to the organisation, in comparison with the standard interview process.

Enoch points out that "as well as leading students to permanent employment, the program provides SAS customers with tremendous assistance in developing links to and recruiting the SAS-skilled graduates they are after. Over the last three years we have seen more than 50 per cent of students move on to permanent employment with their host organisation. The program is an effective bridge between university and business."

QUT student Steve Chaseling undertook work experience in the Statistical Services department of a large SAS user in Queensland. Chaseling believes that the SAS Work Placement Program was a great introduction to the professional workforce.

"The one-on-one training I received was so invaluable. It was also a great opportunity to gain insight into how SAS is used in a professional setting. It was good to be given a task, a quick brief of what I was to do, then a chance to have a crack at the coding myself and apply what I'd just learnt," he said.

"I feel very fortunate to have been placed with the SAS user. Everyone was extremely friendly, and very considerate of my work and study commitments. I wasn't only given training in and experience of SAS, but the work experience program has also helped me to develop a number of general life skills that I believe will be very helpful in my future career."

SAS partnership with QUT in the work placement program is set to continue. "It's an integrated approach that supports academic learning with real-world application," says Enoch. "We encourage lecturers to get involved in the program by including SAS within their curriculum and students who have developed these skills to look at the program as a useful link to the employment they are after."

QUT

Challenge

Business faces an analytics skills shortage amongst graduates and too few have had real-world working experience while still at university.

Solution

SAS is driving a unique work placement program that is benefiting both university students and SAS customers that offers students the chance to gain valuable work experience using SAS solutions in a real-world environment.

Benefits

Supports academic learning with real-world application.

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