National project to strengthen NT workforce 


A project that will boost the job prospects of university students and help Territory employers to find experienced graduates will be launched at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday (February 28). 

The Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator Chris Evans, will launch the national Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Project, developed by Innovative Research Universities (IRU) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

The IRU and ACCI formed a partnership in August 2009 to develop a national project designed to improve graduate employability and address employer demand for graduates who have previous work experience.

The IRU ACCI WIL Project has produced promotional material, including seven case studies, to illustrate the benefits of WIL programs. This project encourages business to work with universities to provide WIL opportunities for students before they graduate.

As a member of IRU, Charles Darwin University (CDU) has been working closely with the Chamber of Commerce Northern Territory to develop resources for NT businesses and organisations. These resources will expand practical learning opportunities for students and provide employers with workplace-ready graduates.

CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover said the national IRU ACCI WIL Project was an important mechanism to achieve the university’s mission to prepare students to be creative thinkers and effective contributors in the workplace.

“Forging stronger partnerships with business and industry through Work Integrated Learning opportunities helps CDU to meet the Territory’s need for a skilled workforce,” Professor Glover said.

CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Northern Territory Chris Young said collaboration with CDU was vital for the development of the NT.

“By working in partnership with the university, we have an opportunity to act on the labour shortages here in the NT through the development of a skilled and effective university graduate who is ready and able to work within the business community.”

Darwin employer Ray Hall, of VDM Consulting, EcOz, which features in the CDU case study, has long recognised the importance of employing experienced local staff with first-hand knowledge of the region.

“By employing locals, we ensure clients gain the most efficient and effective service from people who immediately know what they are talking about. Sourcing people from the university is a good way to do that and bringing them in when they are students helps develop those linkages and ensures that they have workplace skills upon graduation,” Mr Hall said.

“WIL” is a term used to describe a number of approaches in which students apply the theory and skills learnt at university to a workplace.

A number of CDU courses already have WIL activities and more opportunities are expected to be developed for both students and employers.

For information on WIL partnerships for employers visit: or