With more than 40 per cent of today’s jobs predicted to vanish within 10 years due to automation, the workplace has never been more unpredictable.
In the second part of our exclusive report on graduate employability, The Courier-Mail reveals the next seven in our top 21 universities.
They’re kicking goals for grads and excel in four key areas:
- Graduate employment rates
- Employer partnerships
- Real-world ready courses
- Reputation with employers
Their alumni are doing some pretty cool things too.
Queensland University of Technology
From the get-go in 1989 when it changed its status from an institute of technology, QUT has focused on practical outcomes.
So much so that it has trademarked the slogan, “a university for the real world”.
The Brisbane institution is No.3 for graduate employability in the Australian Technology Network, a group of five universities renowned for collaborating with industry, and 9th in Australia overall (QS rankings).
One of the fastest-rising stars of higher education, it ties with RMIT as the 18th best young university in the world.
Many courses involve work-integrated learning.
Students are partnering with Q Super, for example, to solve problems in an “innovation incubator”.
QUT is the only Queensland tertiary partner in the Westpac Young Technologists Scholarship program, and its Women in Engineering and IT scholarships feed into Energex, Technology One, Bechtel and Lendlease.
The Business School’s Corporate Partners in Excellence program acts as a feeder for organisations including Coca-Cola Amatil, Rio Tinto and Ernst & Young.
And for students interested in working for themselves, the QUT Foundry is a dedicated space in which to develop ideas.
In 2016, more than 21,000 placements and industry projects were completed by 64 per cent of graduating students. By 2019, that goal is 90 per cent.
Notable alumni: Dr Abigail Allwood, astrobiologist, co-leader of NASA’s 2020 Mars rover mission; Greg Creed, CEO, Yum!; Carolyn Dawkins, global head, Google BrandLab, New York; Kate Miller-Heidke, singer/songwriter; Dr Daniel Timms, inventor, BiVACOR mechanical heart.
University of Melbourne
The jobs-focused education model at the University of Melbourne distinguishes it as the nation’s No. 2 performer – and 7th globally – in the QS Graduate Employability rankings.
Students take one of six undergrad degrees (Arts, Science, Commerce, Biomedicine, Music, Design) while also exploring external subjects to expand their knowledge and employability.
They then progress into professional graduate degrees in fields such as law, engineering, medicine, architecture and teaching.
With the Melbourne model, students from outside the Science discipline can take one-quarter of their course load in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) subjects.
All students have the opportunity to go on exchange and study a language, opening up global opportunities.
Overall, the university is the top-ranked institution in Australia – and in the top 40 internationally (THE and ARWU rankings).
It leads Australia in engineering and technology, life sciences and medicine, natural sciences and dentistry (QS subject rankings).
Connecting students with employers, it has internships with 1600 organisations, and representatives from the world’s largest companies visit the campus to recruit.
A high 93 per cent of postgraduates find jobs within four months of graduation.
Initiatives such as the Melbourne Accelerator Programme and Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship connect students with entrepreneurs and industries.
A mentoring scheme links second- and third-year undergrads with alumni to help plan their careers.
Notable alumni: Julia Gillard, former prime minister; Gotye, singer/songwriter; Gillian Triggs, former president, Australian Human Rights Commission; Ronnie Chieng, comedian; Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine.
University of the Sunshine Coast
Like gaming? USC offers a Bachelor of Serious Games. Yes, really.
In an example of real-world effectiveness, students apply skills in game design to problems in areas as diverse as health, politics and international relations.
By far the largest cohort of students at USC, though, is in nursing.
It also has the greatest number of graduates who are working in Queensland hospitals, including the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
Overall employment within four months for nursing grads is 95.9 per cent.
USC is also becoming known for allied health programs like sport and exercise science, occupational therapy, nutrition, paramedics and psychology.
University of the Sunshine Coast
And there is strong employer interest in engineering grads, with overall employment within four months at 97.6 per cent, well above the national average of 85.1 per cent.
USC is working with business, industry and council leaders to achieve the goals of the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy 2013-2033.
These include 100,000 new jobs in industries such as clean technologies and aviation.
USC repeatedly earns five stars in The Good Universities Guide for skills employers want.
And for the first time, in 2017 it ranked in the top 150 young universities in the world.
Notable alumni: Scott Hargreaves, global vice-president, Billabong International; Karl Ringrose, software engineer, Expedia; Chris Raine, social entrepreneur, founder, Hello Sunday Morning; Jenny Morawska, advisor, General Assembly of the United Nations; Jonty Bush, 2009 Young Australian of the Year.
University of Technology Sydney
Fifth in Australia for graduate employability, the University of Technology Sydney has incubator programs to develop ideas and new courses to tackle digital disruption.
Underpinning its innovation strategy is a $1.2 billion campus redevelopment in the heart of Sydney’s digital creative precinct.
Many UTS courses require professional internships or industry placements, and there are three scholarship programs in accounting, engineering and IT.
A new Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation incorporates the UTS Animal Logic Academy, which offers the first industry-led post graduate degree of its kind in Australia, a Master of Animation and Visualisation.
A Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation gives students the chance to work with industry partners, including Honda, on live problems, while a Bachelor of Technology and Innovation is similarly well connected with industry.
With a 76 per cent graduate employment rate three months after completion of studies, UTS ranks first in Australia and 8th globally in the QS Top 50 Under 50.
A survey of 1300 UTS students and graduates shows almost 40 per cent have started their own business or are considering a start-up or entrepreneurial path.
Notable alumni: Hugh Jackman, actor; Kim McKay, director, Australian Museum; Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Opposition Leader; George Savvides, CEO, Medibank Private; Rachel Ward, actor/director; Frances Hughes, CEO, International Council of Nurses.
Southern Cross University
Musicians, brewery founders and whale experts feature among the famous alumni of Southern Cross University, one of Australia’s youngest universities with campuses overlooking the beach on the Gold Coast and at Lismore and Coffs Harbour in NSW.
SCU is ranked equal 25th in Australia (THE best university rankings) and graduates in health and human sciences courses have the best employment outcomes, with midwifery (100 per cent), nursing (85 per cent) and occupational therapy (77 per cent) grads all finding jobs quickly.
A recent work-integrated learning opportunity placed a first-year Bachelor of Engineering student in Mazda Motor Corporation’s head office and factory in Hiroshima.
Southern Cross offers a national-first degree in Alternative Medicine and Pedorthics.
Some of its most reputable courses with employers include a Bachelor of Marine Science and Management (in association with SCU’s National Marine Science Centre) and a Bachelor of Contemporary Music.
Notable alumni: Grinspoon band members Phil Jamieson, Pat Davern and Joe Hansen; Catherine Stark, owner, Seven Sheds Brewery; Wally and Trish Franklin, humpback whale experts; Guido Van Helten, street artist; Allan Stewart, Guinness World Record Holder, Oldest Graduate, age 97; Josh Blair, sound engineer and 2016 Grammy Award co-winner of Record of the Year for Uptown Funk.
The University of Adelaide
Australia’s third oldest university has one of the best career services in the country.
Every year since 2013, it has been named in the top four, as judged by employers in the AAGE Graduate Recruitment Industry Awards.
It has also received three national best practice awards in careers development, employability and student services.
Adelaide ranks 12th in Australia for graduate employability (QS).
Beyond helping students get jobs, it sets them up for long-term success by concentrating on leadership readiness, critical thinking, problem solving, and emotional intelligence.
It boasts a $246 million Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building, dental simulation labs, the largest teaching winery facility in Australia, and a business school that is among the top 5 per cent in the world.
Particularly strong in agriculture, food and wine science, 91 per cent of students in this faculty gain full-time employment shortly after graduation.
Through its China Career Ready Plus program, Adelaide ranks 4th in the world for applications sent by graduates to employers in China, and 8th when the same organisations rank their most preferred universities in terms of making job offers.
A mentoring program matches more than 350 students to an employer annually.
Notable alumni: Andy Thomas, astronaut; Julie Bishop, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs; Shaun Micallef, comedian; Colin Thiele, author; Tim Cooper, Cooper’s Brewery.
The Australian National University
Producing more high-profile politicians than any other Australian university, it’s not surprising that ANU grads are the best regarded internationally in politics and international relations.
Coming 6th in the world in this subject (QS rankings), the Canberra institution has a stellar record for graduate employability.
It is Australia’s top university for producing work-ready grads, according to THE rankings, and places seventh in QS rankings.
Wide-reaching industry partnerships and overseas exchanges, from Brazil to Brunei and South Korea to Spain, are a major reason for this.
ANU has a 10-year plan to expand its Engineering and Computer Science program.
It will be led in part by one of the world’s top technologists, Professor Genevieve Bell, and comprise an Autonomy, Agency and Assurance Institute, co-founded with CSIRO’s data innovation network.
The 3A Institute will bring together international researchers to tackle complex problems around artificial intelligence, data and technology and their impact on humanity.
Notable alumni: Rolf M. Zinkernagel, Nobel prize winning medical researcher; Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia; Kate Jones, Queensland Minister for Education and Tourism; Peter Garrett, musician and former politician; Bob Hawke, former prime minister (attended but did not graduate); Richard Roxburgh, actor; Paul McDermott, comedian.
Sources: * The Good Universities Guide; QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2018; Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018; QS World University Rankings 2018; QS Top 50 Under 50 2018; Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017; Centre for World University Rankings 2017; Uni Reviews Subject Rankings 2017; THE Young University Rankings 2017.
This article originally appeared on The Courier Mail – Best universities for jobs, part 2: Top 21 for graduate employability