The University of Newcastle, Australia

Central Coast Connect_ED

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Central Coast students working together in diverse teams on real industry projects over the 2019 winter break.

UON Careers and Student Development delivered a new extra-curricular program over the winter break called Central Coast Connect_ED.  The distinguishing characteristics of Connect_ED are at the core of what differentiates the University of Newcastle itself. That is, it has equity embedded in its DNA, it has support as its backbone, and it has the benefit of the region in its soul.


Tailored to meet the needs of the region through collaboration with industry and aligned with UON’s values and graduate identity, Connect_ED enabled teams of students to work on real industry projects while developing their networks and building employability skills.

The overarching premise of Connect_ED, however, was to utilise the strengths and knowledge of Central Coast businesses and students to examine an issue that may contribute to the betterment of the region. For the inaugural year, the focus for projects was the theme of ‘employment’.

In support of UON’s commitment to equity, the program was open to all Ourimbah campus-based students. Within a period of 27 days, students formed multidisciplinary teams, met with their industry partners and project coaches (UON staff), and delivered solutions onsite to a range of practical problems.

In three cognitively diverse teams, students from seven different disciplines worked on projects which ranged from exploring the role of innovation in the future of the Central Coast, to identifying skills gaps in the region's manufacturing industry.

Through participation, students gained experience in:

  • Civic efficacy
  • Industry engagement
  • Cognitive diversity
  • Interdisciplinary, research, and peer-to-peer learnings
  • Self-awareness, team work and presentation skills

Co-creating T-shaped (Gardner, 2014) graduates with UON were the program's local industry partners - the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the NSW Business Chamber, and Central Coast Industry Connect.

Click the links below to see how each team took up the challenge:

For further information on the model or the program contact, Dr Kylie Twyford, Careers and Student Development (WIL) Coordinator:

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