Widening Participation thinks ‘student first’ for website redesign


“Working with the Widening Participation team has given me the confidence to interact with new workmates in a professional setting, which I’m sure will be really valuable in the future” – Jonah Skinner, 3rd year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) student

When the Widening Participation team embarked on their website redesign project earlier this year, they quickly realised that to deliver in the timelines they wanted to, they would need additional, skilled resources, and quickly.

Thinking ‘student first’ and in line with the current University-wide focus on employability, the team decided to offer a Macquarie student the opportunity to work on the project.

The team went through Student Life, which is part of EDSER, to utilise ‘Jobs on Campus’ an employment service managed by the Careers and Employment team that connects students with a range of job opportunities available on campus, to source the right person for the job.

“We knew we needed access to someone with the right skills and experience to be part of this project, and we were pretty sure we could find it out there in the student population,” explains Melissa Wong, Widening Participation’s Administrator. “It made sense for us to advertise this opportunity within our student community.”

Within a couple of days, the job was posted on the CareerHub website and applications started flowing in. After a shortlist and interview process the short-term project was offered to Jonah Skinner, a 3rd year student studying Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) with a Specialisation in Software Engineering.

“We had a lot of great applications, however Jonah stood out because of his background and interests in software engineering, as well as some past work experience with the MQ web development team,” says Melissa. “He also seemed like a good fit for the team.”

Jonah quickly got stuck into the project and worked with the rest of the team to hit all major milestones. Overall, the project took close to three months to complete – a real achievement considering Jonah joined the team just as the pandemic madness hit.

“It was a whole team effort, however Jonah’s contribution has been really valuable – we were thrilled to have him as part of the team,” says Melissa.

A sentiment echoed by Jonah, who says the experience provided vital insights into working in a professional environment.

“My current goal is to become a web developer for a hot shot company, and working with the Widening Participation team has given me the confidence to interact with new workmates in a professional setting, which I’m sure will be really valuable in the future,” says Jonah.

“Through this project I’ve also realised the importance of stakeholder engagement in achieving successful delivery of a project, and also learned that you can really make a difference from day one of your role. These are great insights and not always the kind of thing that’s taught in the classroom.”

To see the completed project, take a look at the new Widening Participation website.





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