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The Student Academy

As part of the work of the InfoLab21 Graduate Academy, InfoLab21 has linked students and businesses to deliver ICT support for regional businesses through student projects for a number of years.

Student projects are arranged for students from InfoLab21’s School of Computing and Communications to enable them to gain industry experience by working on a bespoke project to provide an ICT solution for an employer as part of their course of study.

In addition, InfoLab21 has employed students on a part-time casual basis to work with businesses where they have the appropriate skills.  In 2007 we decided to formalise this activity by creating the InfoLab21 Student Academy.

InfoLab21 students undertake research into a wide range of new technologies for the future and their knowledge and skills can be accessed to benefit businesses throughout the region. Projects vary in length from a few weeks to several months depending on the need of the business.

Aims of the InfoLab21 Student Academy

  1. To provide businesses with access to this extensive knowledge and skills base and the opportunity to develop their ICT and complete a project that they would not otherwise had have the skills and resources to deliver.
  2. To create opportunities for InfoLab21’s  pool of over 150 full and part-time PhD students, Masters Students  and Undergraduates to work with businesses and develop their work-based skills.
  3. To develop relationships between InfoLab21 students and regional businesses. Projects help the businesses to see how the students work and evaluate what expertise and benefits they could bring to the business if they were recruited.

How the InfoLab21 Student Academy works

Student Academy member receives an award from the Company she helped
Student Academy member receives an award from the Company she helped

The InfoLab21 Student Academy arranges academic projects with under-graduates and post-graduates with a wide range of skills and abilities.  Where funding is available we can employ a student to work on a short-term basis with a company either as a placement or as a project based at the University.

Each project and student-client relationship is managed and supported by the InfoLab21 Student Academy via Technical Officer Dr. Paul Okanda, who completed a PhD in the Computing Department and has also worked with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to provide support for a number of years.

Benefits of the InfoLab21 Student Academy

For Businesses

The InfoLab21 Student Academy creates a great opportunity for companies to undertake a project that they may not have the resources or skills for in-house.  It can provide support for R&D activity and work beyond the scope of the company which is completely impartial.  It also provides an opportunity to build working relationships with students with the possibility of employing them when they graduate.

For Students

Students benefit significantly from working directly with companies, developing their transferable skills, gaining an understanding of how businesses work and preparing them for full time employment when they graduate.  In addition, the InfoLab21 Student Academy helps to promote the wealth of job opportunities in the Northwest and encourage graduate retention in the region.