Practera

Partner Profile

Practera is an education technology startup. The company builds experiential programs that help students gain the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

A leader in student engagement

Since its launch in 2011, international students have played a key role in Practera’s development.

‘We’ve systematically engaged with students—international students in particular—through business projects, accelerator programs and internships,’ says company co-founder and co-CEO, Beau Leese.

‘Learning from them has also been important as we’re trying to build the world’s leading platform for experiential learning. We want millions of students to be using it, so we want those global and diverse perspectives. International students help us think about international markets, help us engage with students here in Australia and engage with a very diverse set of students, educators and business professionals all around the world.’

Practera recruits students in a variety of ways, including through private internship providers, universities and the projects using their platforms. ‘We want people with a great work ethic, who’ve got some outstanding skills and capabilities in our different areas, and we’re looking for passion and commitment,’ says Beau.

Lightbulb

Education technology startup

Globe

Offices in five countries

Student Circle

50% of staff are former international students

Home

Staff of 35, headquarters in Sydney

Graduate

Helps students get the skills they need for the jobs of the future

Brain

Aims to build the world's leading platform for experiential learning

From an employer perspective

On the advantage of engaging with international students, Beau says: ‘If you’re trying to do anything innovative or creative, having diverse perspectives within a company means you’re going to be more successful.’

His advice for students is to, ‘be really proactive. Seek out work-integrated learning opportunities through your university. Engage with employers and showcase the skills you have from your experience at home—and let them know you are available and interested in work.’

Practera’s chief product officer, Philipp Laufenberg, began his journey with the company as an international student. ‘Phil was an intern,’ says Beau. ‘We kept in touch with him and then hired him about six years ago on a 457 [visa]—he became our third employee.’ Today, Phil runs a team of about 20 staff and has his permanent residency.

‘There are pathways to hire international students and if the person is good enough, it’s worth doing,’ says Beau. In turn, students should be open and upfront about their situation. ‘Don’t be shy about telling employers what your conditions of employment are and what kind of visa you’re on.’

Practera

Working with Practera has helped me understand the NSW professional culture and expand my social connections in the industry - Sharon Roy, International student

From a student perspective

Sharon Roy is a customer success specialist with Practera, and is working with Western Sydney University—where she is undertaking a Master of Information and Communications Technology—to take the Global Scope program into the fast-growing Western Sydney region.

She got her start with the company by completing the Global Scope program herself. ‘Sharon was the outstanding leader of her team, which was working on a project with the CSIRO, Australia’s leading science research organisation. At the end of the program, we hired Sharon as an intern then after that offered her a position.’

Still on her student visa, Sharon balances work with study, and is building on the five years of customer experience she brought with her from Mumbai, India.

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