Celebrating 50 years of UON and industry collaboration

The UON 6th Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and 18th Industry Scholarships (IS) Annual Awards 2015 were held in November to a capacity-filled University Gallery. The annual ceremony was a great chance for industry partners, colleagues, students and their families to get together, celebrate and recognise the innovation, creativity and passion of University staff and students, and the important contribution of our external partners.

This year marks our first joint event between our WIL community and our Industry Scholarship employers and scholars, in recognition of the fact that, in our 50th year, we are keen to offer our all-important industry partners a consolidated suite of options for engagement with our students.

Figure 1: WIL & IS Awards Ceremony, 10 November 2015.

The Awards were hosted by Professor Andrew Parfitt, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), and highlighted some exceptional WIL activities undertaken by UON students and staff, and support being provided by sponsors and hosts. There were seven WIL Student of the Year and three WIL Staff of the Year awardees in 2015 from across the faculties. While, Industry Scholarships conferred three major awards to scholars and sponsors this year; the Insignis Award, Future Leader Award and Industry Experience Award. There were also three highly commended runners-up in each category. An overview of the WIL & IS Awards and the 2015 successful recipients are available here.


The focus of this year's ceremony was acknowledging the support of our partners in providing WIL and IS activities and experiences.

UON was privileged to have Nick Minto, Senior Policy Advisor, Employment, Education and Training from the NSW Business Chamber as the keynote speaker. Nick highlighted the current challenges facing graduates and the value of WIL in providing a competitive advantage in the labour market.

Figure 2: Nick Minto keynote speaker 

Nick also addressed those employers and business representatives engaging in WIL and IS for their strategic view of workforce development and, through their participation, 'leading the way' in the productivity improvements that Australia needs.

Nick's speech, including his personal career observations for students, is available here.


To commemorate the importance of our industry partnerships, the WIL Hall of Fame award was established three years ago to acknowledge the support of our business, industry, government and community partners who collaborate with UON to provide WIL activities in over 173 undergraduate courses across UON.

At the Ceremony, there were two inductees into the WIL Hall of Fame; Hansen Yuncken, stalwart supporters of our Bachelor of Construction Management (Building) degree for over a decade, and aWIL Hall of Fame Enterprise Awardfor UON's three partner Local Health Districts (LHD) – Central Coast LHD, Hunter New England LHD and Mid North Coast LHD. Since 2012, the UON partner LHDs have provided approximately 32,000 clinical placements opportunities for UON students in 13 accredited programs, which represents over 2.5 million hours of clinical placements.

The LHD's were nominated by Professor Judith Scott, and Laureate Professor John Aitken announced the WIL Hall of Fame (Enterprise Award).

Figure 3: Hansen Yuncken representatives, Peter Hansen, Pat McAllister and Matt Brandy receiving the WIL Hall of Fame Award from Professor Caroline McMillen. Hansen Yuncken were nominated by Associate Professor Willy Sher.

Figure 4: UON was honoured to have the three Chief Executives of the LHDs, Matt Hanrahan (CCLHD), Stewart Dowrick (MNCLHD), Michael Di Reinzo (HNELHD) present to receive this accolade by the Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Caroline McMillen, at the Ceremony.

Further information and digital images from the ceremony can be provided by contacting WIL@newcastle.edu.au