Distanced not divided: The winners of Univative 2021
While the pandemic has kept the vast majority of us inside these last few weeks, that hasn’t stopped a group of UTS students achieving great success at this year’s Univative 2021 competition.
Univative is an inter-university consulting competition that gives student teams a real-world industry or community issue to solve for real companies. The project encourages students in building their professional skills and experience while working in cross-faculty teams with other students from their uni.
This year, the winning UTS team worked with Leor and looked at ways to increase the pipeline of qualified educators in the childcare and disability sectors. In particular, they focused on raising awareness of Leor as a potential career path with recruitment avenues through universities, TAFEs and colleges. Already a difficult project, the team managed to come together to develop a program to establish relationships with these tertiary education providers, and create an ongoing funnel of candidates for Leor.
The win itself all came down to collaboration. Despite many challenges — the team never having worked together before, coming from different faculties, members dropping out mid-competition, and being kept apart by distance (with a member located overseas) and COVID-19 restrictions — they managed to persevere and win over an otherwise very tight competition.
As team member, Nancy, later noted:
“At first, some of our teammates weren’t able to participate in Univative as expected, and we also faced difficulties in collaboration caused by COVID-19 situations. But we worked hard and built a wonderful team.”
Said team – with members Anh Thu Pham (Julie), Fanjun Niu (Barry), Phuong Hoa Nguyen (Nancy) and Team Leader Arthur Lock – have mixed educational backgrounds. Arthur and Julie study a Bachelor of Business, Nancy a Master of Information Systems and Barry a Master of Engineering. For them, this competition offered a chance to strengthen their skills, learn new ways to work in a diverse team and highlighted the importance of collaboration.
As Barry reflected:
“Univative is a really good chance for us engineering students to work on a business project with students who have different majors… The network built in Univative is really precious during quarantine now. It makes my LinkedIn account more active.
It was really an intensive project. We just had one month to come up ideas, record videos and write the final report. So it was undoubtedly a challenge for teamwork, especially between team members from different countries and different disciplines. It, therefore, helped me a lot with my English communication and collaboration.”
Despite the difficulties they faced throughout the process, none of them regret their involvement. Not only did they have the chance to build real industry experience during a time where COVID-19 had made such opportunities more difficult to access, they were able to prove themselves, put their studies to the test and thrive by coming together as a team.
“Univative gave me a wonderful opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge into practice, improve employability skills and experienced a meaningful winter break.” (Nancy)
Featured image courtesy of Univative
By Mia Casey