Professional Development Program

UNSW's exclusive program for International Students

Students gathering at UNSW Sydney Kensington campus

Starting a career as an international student in a new country can be challenging, which is why UNSW Employability created the Professional Development Program!

PD Program will return in 2024!

Starting a career as an international student in a new country can be challenging, which is why UNSW Employability created the Professional Development Program!

Explicitly designed for international students, this program covers workplace communication skills, recruitment tips, employer expectations, and provides international students the opportunity to participate in group consulting projects hosted by various units across UNSW.

Commit at least 3-4 hours per week to this experience and coordinate time as best suits you.

Please read relevant information in each section below.

  • Professional Workshops

    The Program offers insights into Australian workplace culture, recruitment tips, employer expectations and much more to help you enhance your employability. 

    The workshop sessions develop workplace communication and job readiness skills, helping you to prepare for success in an Australian and global workplace context. The workshops include recruitment tips, job and interview preparation, and long term professional preparation via tools such as LinkedIn. 

    There are also three short online modules to complete, one interview practice session, and an online interview submitted as part of your application to a workplace experience.

    Workplace Experience

    After completing the seminar program, all participants are invited to interview online for a workplace experience. This is your chance to practice video interviews which is a common recruitment process. Successful participants can choose from the following experience options:

    Option 1: Workplace Placement

    You are a assigned a UNSW staff member as a supervisor to experience work within an office environment. Your placement may involve interaction with student peers if timetables allow for this.

    Your supervisor will communicate with you, provide guidance and feedback, hold weekly meetings, and offer at least one day per week where you can join the office team. The experience involves a blend of onsite and online work.

    The volunteer workplace experience is an AHEGS recognised university program, it will appear as a co-curricular activity on your secondary transcript when you graduate. 

    Option 2: Workplace Project

    You are matched with a team of peers and a UNSW staff member to work on a real-life project. Your supervisor will communicate with you and hold weekly meetings with your team to provide guidance and feedback. The experience involves a blend of onsite and online work.

    This experience provides an opportunity for you to practice skills gained from the program and work collaboratively with a team to present your findings or solutions, receiving constructive feedback from your supervisor throughout.

    Option 3: Virtual Work Experiences

    This is the most flexible and independent option, allowing you to complete online asynchronous modules in your own time. Select from a variety of short programs (1-5 hours) offering a range of professional development learning including, project managment, effective communication, marketing, data analytics, and various work ready skills. Program facilitators will support your learning with mid-point and end of program reflection activities.   

    Self-reflection questionnaires and evaluation feedback 

    To successfully complete the program, you are required to complete self-reflection questionnaires and feedback at various stages. This will help you consolidate your learning as well as monitor your development during the program.  

    For those who undertake the option 2, workplace project, you will be required to complete a project report and presentation with feedback provided by your supervisor.

  • To be eligible to apply for the program you need to be:

    • A current international student at UNSW with English as a second language 
    • In your second or subsequent year of your undergraduate study, or at any stage of your postgraduate degree
  • The Professional Development Program will run in Term 2 and 3 in 2024.

    Term 2 2024 program dates:

    • Applications open in March
    • Workshop week: 20 – 24 May (O-Week)
    • Program delivery: 27 May – 12 July
  • Follow these steps to apply:

    Step 1:  Ensure you have read the FAQ's below about the program 

    Step 2:  Complete the online application form

    Note: Numbers for the Program are limited, you are not automatically accepted into the Program even if you meet all eligibility requirements, your application will be assessed.

  • How often does the PD Program run?
    The PD Program runs two times a year. In 2024 PDP will be offered in T2 and T3.

    How is program delivered?
    The workshop phase of the program is delivered in hybrid mode and via Moodle with a mixture of live sessions, recorded webinars, and activities where attendance and participation will be recorded. In person attendance is strongly encouraged for day one of the program and other workshops in week one where indicated.

    What is the content of the PD Program?
    Australian workplace culture, workplace communication skills, recruitment tips, employer expectations and much more to help you enhance your employability and provide local knowledge and context. 

    If I am accepted into the PDP program, does that guarantee me a spot in the work experience component?
    No. After the seminar and workshops, you will undertake an online interview for the work experience opportunity. Pending your interview and number of spots available, some students will get to participate in a project or short placement.

    How many projects or short placements are available?
    The number of projects and placements available range between 10 and 20 project/placements. All students who complete the seminar component can take part in one of the three workplace experience options.

    What is involved in the project or placement?
    Projects and placements are held between Week 1-Week 7 of term. You will be expected to meet with your supervisor at least once a week to take part in meetings and an in-office experience.

    Please note: depending on the nature of the work experience and the arrangements between supervisor and students, parts of the experience can be in person or online.

    At the end of a 6-8 week period (determined between supervisors and students) students are expected to produce a short report and presentation (group project) or a reflective journal (placement).  All supervisors understand that you are also taking classes at the same time, and you will be responsible for managing your schedule. We anticipate the experience will take approximately 20-25 hours with the placements varying between 12-20 hours.

    How many students will be in a placement or project?
    Each placement or project will normally have groups of 3-4 students; however some projects can take larger groups. There may also be some projects that take one or two students.

    Will I get a project/placement which is relevant to the course I am studying?
    The projects/placements will come from various units on campus and are designed to enable you to practice the skills you learn from the program through a real-life group project supervised by a UNSW staff member. The projects/placements will be broad enough for students from any discipline and will provide you with a very real reflection of the current workplace.

    Are group consulting projects or placements paid?
    The PD Program is a volunteer placement, which provides an opportunity for international students to practise skills gained through the seminars. Students will get the participation in the group consulting projects recognised on their AHEGS

    What happens if I am not successful in the interview?

    If you do not pass the interview stage, this should not be a cause for concern. Thankfully, all students who participate in the PD Program will have an opportunity to complete some form of work experience. Our program facilitators have put together a selection of virtual work experiences to keep you developing.

    Once you complete the required amount of virtual experience modules you will also be eligible for AHEGS recognition.

If you have any questions about the Program contact