Education Providers Finalists

2021 NSW International Student Community Engagement Award

The winners of the 2021 NSW International Student Awards were announced at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks, Sydney on Friday 12 November.

Cabramatta High School Photo

International Student Support Program

Cabramatta High School, Cabramatta

As COVID-19 disrupted the lives of international students, Cabramatta High School set out to address the academic, social and emotional needs of international students through their International Student Support program.

Through the program, Cabramatta High School supports more than 80 international students with their physical and mental wellbeing as well as their academic needs, by developing a deep understanding of the student and ensuring their families overseas are kept up to date with their lives.

This holistic approach involves a team of dedicated staff members ensuring support is available to international students both during and after school hours. When classes moved online due to COVID-19, Cabramatta High School conducted weekly phone calls to check in with international students, with ten students allocated to each teacher. Through these check-ins, international students requiring support are identified and referred to external counselling services, including the NSW Department of Education International Wellbeing Support Service and Headspace. The school also provided packs of groceries and winter items to support students struggling financially as a result of COVID-19.

By regularly checking on international students, the school could quickly identify those who were not able to meet their expected academic goals and deploy one-on-one in-class support for those students, complementing support available through the after-school homework centre. The school also develops Personalised Learning Plans to set goals and track improvement with students.

A true test of the school’s support for international students came when a Year 12 student became homeless in early 2021. The school assisted this student to access financial support through government funding and helped them find appropriate accommodation through liaison with NSW Department of Education International and a homestay provider. The program highlights Cabramatta High School’s commitment to supporting international students and provides a template for other schools to draw upon.

Kaplan Business School Photo

The Lifetime of Learning Guarantee

Kaplan Business School, Sydney

When Dr James Adonopoulos read a Forbes article on innovation in education posing the question “why shouldn’t all classes at a university be open to alumni to join?” in October 2020, it sparked an idea. The Dean of Kaplan Business School then wondered ‘why can’t we?”. Only six weeks later, the Lifetime of Learning Guarantee initiative was officially launched.

With jobs and technology changing rapidly, Kaplan Business School recognises the need for alumni to access knowledge, stay informed and continue to learn as they evolve with their careers.

The program invites alumni to register to classes offered within the course they graduated from. Each trimester, alumni are given access to hundreds of topics they can choose to attend and follow, based on their schedule. Lecturers are trained to identify alumni in attendance and can call on them to share their practical experience with the class.

As international students return home, this program provides them with ongoing access to content relevant to the course they completed.

The Lifetime of Learning Guarantee provides Kaplan Business School alumni – 97 per cent of which are international – with two unique benefits:

  • Alumni get free continuing access to join live online classes, from anywhere in the world.
  • Alumni can access Careers Central services, allowing them to meet with a Careers Advisor whenever they require support with job applications, including receiving feedback on their CV or cover letter, job interview practice, or introductions to prospective employers.

Beyond assisting alumni, The Lifetime of Learning Guarantee also seeks to address the needs of current international students with increased networking opportunities and insight into industry. When international alumni join classes, current international students can see firsthand evidence of career success, being given the confidence and inspiration to pursue their own goals.

Since The Lifetime of Learning Guarantee was launched, relationships between alumni and current international students have increased and connections with employers have strengthened, as everyone is benefitting from this approach fostering continuous learning.


Univative Photo

Univative 2020

Macquarie University, Macquarie Park

Univative is an industry competition where teams of students from different universities compete to create the best solution for a problem or challenge proposed by an industry partner. Teams are multicultural and interdisciplinary, to foster greater relationships between local and international students while developing their employability skills. This program was led by Macquarie University and other universities involved in this program include the Australian Catholic University, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Wollongong, the University of New South Wales, Central Queensland University, the University of Notre Dame, and Southern Cross University.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many collaborative projects were placed on hold or cancelled. Univative was determined to continue and underwent a digital transformation to ensure the program could still go ahead.

As a result of the digital transformation, Univative included eight universities (including three regional institutions), two technology partners, 15 project organisations and 312 students, divided into 52 teams.

After consulting with stakeholders and adjusting the partner participation capacity, Univative introduced a digital platform and a work submission portal for all participants to access. Students and industry contacts were invited to meet online and to attend the finale digitally.

Univative sourced projects and managed the participating industry partners, project organisations and students. This involved coordinating with all participating universities and industry partners, providing training and coaching sessions to students, liaising with judges on project solutions, and organising events for industry including “meet and greets” at the project launch, mid-point and finale to foster ongoing networking among participants.

This intense 4-week program provided much-needed bonding experiences between students, career services and industry partners at times of uncertainty and social isolation. As part of their projects, the 52 student teams were required to produce videos on their presentation and team journey. Many submissions included reflections on the friendship and mutual respect built throughout working together, a result of intercultural and interdisciplinary collaboration.

After undergoing a digital transformation, the 2020 program was a success and Univative is now a scalable program allowing undergraduate and postgraduate students from metropolitan and regional universities to have access to this work integrated learning opportunity, with the vision to enable collaboration in an online environment including universities, students and industry partners.

Univative is working as a consortium of universities with Western Sydney University being the latest addition to the initiative in 2021, with other education providers welcome to be part of this project.

Meet our 2021 finalists




Higher Education

Business Community

Education Provider