Unity College student Jakob Bates had the experience of a lifetime last month, during his week of hands-on learning in a leading South Australian science lab.
Jakob was lucky enough to see the inner-workings of the University of Adelaide Science Faculty’s laboratory in action – something the 16 year old Murray Bridge student never dreamed of, and certainly not while he was still at high school.
The head of the Adelaide lab, Christopher Leigh, supervised Jakob for the week, showing him around the facility, introducing him to the scientists and what research they were conducting. During this time he saw a wide range of scientific sub-fields – such as microscopy, DNA/forensics, cancer research, to biological study.
Believe it or not, he even saw a human head in the lab on his first day – now if that’s not a close-up introduction to biological science, then we don’t know what is!
Jakob says that his work experience was “beyond rewarding”, and it had helped confirm his future is in science. It’s acted as a motivator in his studies, with Jakob telling us he now has a clearer idea of what goal he’s working towards.
“It’s opened my eyes to what science at university is actually like, and life after school in general. Seeing how a lab functions with my own eyes was irreplaceable,” Jakob says.
“Work experience is something that everyone needs to do. It’s so important. If you don’t go and experience it first hand, you’re going in blind.
“I have always felt like science was the career for me, and my week of work experience in the lab has reiterated this.”
A recent survey conducted by the Universities and College Admissions Service found that two thirds of employers look for work experience in employees. This comes as no surprise considering the mountain of benefits it brings.
It allows students to picture themselves as a professional in that field and gain an understanding of the work environment.
Jakob was provided this opportunity through linking up with the Murray River Study Hub program (MRSH) which is well connected within the regional and State-wide business community.
MRSH Program Manager Vanessa Leigh says that as well as students’ professional skill set being developed, their personal skills also benefit. Students’ level of self-understanding, maturity, confidence and independence become clearer when getting a sense of the work force.
“It’s also important to mention, that work experience creates the great opportunity to include the employer’s evaluation in their cover letter as a sentiment of their work ethic. This recommendation from someone in the profession can open doors in a chosen field that would otherwise seem unreachable,” Ms Leigh says.
“Many people think that work experience is solely for high school students, but that’s simply not true! Work experience is open to anyone looking to get a glimpse of working life in their aspiring field, or even to those considering a university degree in a particular field.
“Looking into work experience at businesses within the region could also result in future local employment. It could be the key for getting your foot in the door.”
Anyone looking at getting hands-on experience in their chosen profession can enquire about organising some work experience through the hub’s student advisors and discuss options for studying online here.
“One of the great things about participating in work experience (or an internship) close to home, is that it can open doors in the field you’re already studying (or keen to study).
“Local Murraylands and Riverland employers are crying out for talented professionals, and especially those with university degrees. So if you want to study now, and earn soon – online university through our hub should be a serious consideration – because the benefits are far reaching and the real-life examples of students landing their dream jobs locally, are a reality.”
Find out more about the Murray River Study Hub’s support resources and people here.