Professional organisations are recognised as strategic partners for educational institutions. Industry aligned programs, supported and guided by organisations, are positioned to develop both theoretical and industry skills. The Built Environment program at CQUniversity was developed in collaboration with industry practitioners to provide students with authentic learning projects. Aligning students with industry, whilst playing a fundamental role for networking and securing future employment, it also provides students with the motivation to progress through undergraduate studies.
PURPOSE OR GOAL
Research into the factors influencing student progression and attrition abounds in the disciplines of accounting, engineering, medicine and nursing. The Built Environment discipline however has not received the same amount of attention in terms of education research. Industry exposure for students in the Built Environment was believed to be important in improving student progression and decreasing attrition but this needed to be tested.
The research methodology was a simple, well tested design. A quantitative analysis of institutional data between 2001 and 2013, established the context for the research question (does professional membership promote progression?) while a survey of participants (current students) provided an understanding of the relationship between progression and industry associations. Confirmation of findings was supported by structured face-to-face interviews with past students and industry professionals.
ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES
There is a benefit for students in having an industry association. Many professional organisations require industry experience as part of their professional licencing schemes. Incorporating industry exposure into an undergraduate Build Environment Program facilitates progression from the commencement of study through to employment.
Exposing students to industry projects required them to overcome qualification isolation. Engaging industry practitioners as clients responsible for the evaluation of the project outcomes enabled students to develop industry pathways, bridging the chasm between study and professional association. This highlighted the necessity to promote an understanding of the importance of professional membership to progression.
Professional organisational memberships