A global leadership award has been presented to RMIT’s Assistant Director for Career Development and Employment Judie Kay, for her efforts in supporting innovation in work-integrated learning.
The Dr Constantine Papadakis Leadership Award recognises Kay’s critical role in institutional, national and international initiatives around work-integrated learning (WIL).
The World Association for Cooperative Education (WACE) award comes with a two-year partner membership for RMIT to the WACE organisation.
“It is a great honour to receive this international award, which recognises achievements in my own institution but also the great work right across the country,” she said.
Kay played a leading role in a recent landmark initiative: the development of the Australian Statement of Intent for Work Integrated Learning – Strengthening University and Business Partnerships, and the National Work Integrated Learning Strategy.
“This strategy is helping to build an effective and growing dialogue between the university, employer and government sectors nationally around work-integrated learning,” she said.
“It also demonstrates the collaboration and partnership required between universities and industry to make the impact on WIL that is required in Australia.
“It indicates Australia’s growing reputation for excellence in work-integrated learning, which the National WIL Strategy demonstrates.”
The strategy is both aspirational and practical, and aims to set Australia apart from other countries as the first country to develop a coherent, coordinated approach to such an important issue, says Kay.
“Implementing this strategy will make a real difference to students but ultimately it will be a key factor in the development of skills required by the Australian economy moving forward.”
The strategy focuses on a number of key areas, including:
- Leadership – collaborative leadership to drive engagement nationally
- Partnerships to proactively support industry-university engagement in WIL
- Maximising impact – assessing what works and working together to get the most value
- Sustainable resourcing – ensuring our effort and investment is well targeted and sustainable
- Innovative and building entrepreneurship
At RMIT, Kay leads a department that supports and enhances the employability of vocational and higher education students globally and leads a range of university-wide work-integrated learning projects as well as national WIL projects.
Kay’s commitment to WIL and strong influence on the sector extends to her time at Swinburne University, Victoria University and now RMIT.
She played a vital role in establishing the Australian Collaborative Education Network, the national peak body, and her representation of Australia as part of WACE has continued to drive the importance of the work-integrated learning agenda to graduate outcomes across Australia and internationally.
With more than 15 years of experience in the strategic implementation of university-wide WIL policy, systems and projects in the higher education sector, Kay is also President of the Australian Collaborative Education Network, and is active internationally in representing Australia on WACE.
Story: Chanel Bearder