Interchange 2020

Through this program students learn leadership and innovation skills, whilst solving ‘real-world’ problems, acquiring critical thinking skills, teamwork and communication skills.

A virtual entrepreneurship challenge designed to build the employability and resilience of University students

Project dates

2019-2020

Project overview

INTERCHANGE is a four week fast-paced 'Work Integrated Learning' program where international and domestic students work on 'real world’ social problems, in multi-disciplinary teams, taking part in workshops and networking events, culminating in a Gala Pitch event with industry, students and staff.

The eight institutions who participated in this year’s INTERCHANGE Program were Western Sydney University, University of Sydney, Australian Catholic University, University of New South Wales, University of Newcastle, Torrens University, Central Queensland University and University of Technology Sydney. INTERCHANGE 2020 was project managed and delivered by FRANK Education.

Project highlights

INTERCHANGE 2020 participants attended four virtual summits, each featuring a keynote speaker and delivering key information and skills.

Four Masterclasses and 'ASK ME ANYTHING' sessions were held in-between the main virtual summits as support resources for students to have any questions clarified and to learn additional content.

The program culminated in a video pitching submission where all 42 teams submitted a three minute video pitch about their business model canvas.

From these 42 teams, six finalist teams were selected to proceed to the ‘Pitch Night’ and do a live pitch in front of three judges.

Project background

INTERCHANGE which is now in its 5th year was conducted virtually in 2020 to students both onshore and offshore. INTERCHANGE 2020 was one of the few opportunities for students enrolled in Australian institutions (but living overseas due to the current COVID-19 restrictions) to participate in an employability and skills building program.

Project deliverables

INTERCHANGE delivers to participants a range of skills and knowledge that will facilitate them to become graduates that are creative, resilient, emotionally intelligent and agile. Students learn leadership and innovation skills, whilst solving ‘real-world’ problems. Students learn critical thinking skills, teamwork and communication skills.

Project outcomes

There were 284 students from eight universities who participated in INTERCHANGE 2020. This included 221 international students, 63 domestic students plus 28 Business Mentors who provided their valuable time and knowledge to mentor the students.

INTERCHANGE 2020 enabled local and international students to build key employability skills such as communication and teamwork, as well as entrepreneurial and innovative thinking, by solving real-world problems.

INTERCHANGE 2020 enabled students to meet students from their own and other educational organisations, and to build friendships and professional networks.

It enabled students to become graduates who are creative, resilient, emotionally intelligent and agile.

Challenges and recommendations

Challenge: Participant retention proved to be a challenge in 2020.

Recommendation: During recruitment, it is recommended that stronger emphasis is placed on selecting students who can commit to attending all five days of the program as well as being able to commit an extra three to five hours per week during the program.

This can be achieved through conducting a 2-step recruitment process for students.

Recruitment processes may need to commence earlier in the year to accommodate this 2-step screening process.

It is also recommended that universities ensure students are aware of the high level of commitment needed for the program as this will enhance team cohesion and reduce dropouts.

The timing of the program may need to be re-considered to maximise student participation.

Testimonial

“I loved every aspect of INTERCHANGE 2020! From meeting a diverse range of people with various experiences and with various educational backgrounds to learning more about entrepreneurship! I know that all the experience, connections and knowledge I'm taking from INTERCHANGE, I will definitely be able to use this in my future career! I love this program and the FRANK Team has become like family.”

Further information

Details for further information on the project and organisation, please visit https://interchange-nsw.com.au