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Wednesday, 30 June 2010 13:31

IT student pioneers CEED's NSW plans


A Masters of IT student based at the University of Sydney, who has been commissioned by Suncorp to work on a project to update GIO's e-greenslips system, is the first NSW student to be placed on a CEED project in over a decade.

CEED (the Co-operative Education for Enterprise Development) is a Queensland based organisation that works with industry to provide industry placements and projects for about 80 university students each year. It is based on a model developed at RMIT in the mid 1980s to encourage businesses to work with undergraduate or Masters students on industrial strength projects as students reach the end of their studies.

CEED's proposition is that for $10,250 a time companies get a project completed, while students have real work experience and are mentored before entering the workforce proper.

According to Graham Willett, CEED director, who set the organisation up in its current form in Queensland in 1994, the inclusion of NSW for the first time in over a decade reflects a growing requirement from industry for NSW based projects.

'We're now able to source senior ICT students for NSW organisations wanting to give someone a great career opportunity and gain a fresh perspective and new knowledge in return,' according to Mr Willett. 'We will soon be able to offer engineering students and all the disciplines we currently work with in Queensland such as business, science and sustainable management.'

Willett said that 760 projects have so far been completed by students working with CEED and industry. Until now CEED has offered opportunities to students at the University of Queensland, QUT,the University of Southern Queensland and some overseas students, but has now added the University of Sydney and will in 2011 also offer placements to students at the University of the Sunshine Coast. It is also eyeing opportunities in Victoria.

'The role of CEED is to bridge the gap between a graduate coming into the workforce who has not had a good commercial project under their belt. If you mentor someone at this stage of their career then they will go onto bigger and better things. If not they go the other way,' said Willett.

'This gives their career a bit of a slingshot,' Willett told iTWire. For about 40 per cent of students it's also the route to their first job, as two in five CEED students are offered a job by their CEED project company.

In CEED's most recent project University of Sydney IT Masters student Edgar Martinez Rico was selected by Suncorp to work on a sofware project which will involve developing code to send information from GIO's e-greenslip application to the RTA once someone has paid for their compulsory third party insurance.

Besides stumping up $10,250 a time for a CEED student, participating companies are closely vetted to make sure they understand the requirement that the student is properly mentored through a meaningful project rather than just sent off to handle menial tasks. Suncorp has so far recruited 17 CEED students to work in its Brisbane offices.

In a statement Jeff Smith, Group Executive for Suncorp Business Services, said that the company now wanted to access NSW students. 'We benefit hugely from the energy, enthusiasm and new ways of thinking that students bring into the organisation.

'CEED ensures everything is managed professionally and source outstanding students for us, who may also fit into the company long-term, after the project finishes,' according to Smith.

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