UC Distinguished Lecture Series on “The Value of Partnerships with Business to Higher Education” Featuring, Mr. Shakeel Ori Director of Cooperative Education at Durban University of Technology, South Africa

On December 11th, 2015, Mr. Shakeel Ori, Director of Cooperative Education at Durban University of Technology in South Africa visited the University of Cambodia to discuss the benefits of cooperative education and the Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) program. DUT is a leading cooperative education institution. By cooperating with industry leaders such as Disney and Western Digital, DUT has created tailored internships/practicum components in cooperation with industry leaders for each academic study program.

Mr. Ori was welcomed to UC by a delegation of UC Management members including Dr. Y Ratana, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Ms. Por Malis, Vice President of Operations, Ms. Uk Toptosseda, Direc-tor for the Office of the President, Prof. Din Merican, Associate Dean for Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations, Ms. Samantha Smith, Advisor to the President and the Council for Research and Creativity, Mr. Sam Sophorn, Director of Administration, Ms. Nem Sowathey, Director of the Office of Marketing and Public Relations, and Mr. Ban Bunheng, Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the ASEAN Study Center. Dr. Y Ratana briefed Mr. Ori on the background of UC and explained our current ambition to enhance our research capabilities, and produce employable human resources after graduation. Mr. Ori then kindly explained the basic principles of WIL programs and the learning outcomes of such a program.

Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) operates on the premise that students who learn only theory in the classroom are less prepared to enter the workforce than a student who has participated in theoretical learning in the classroom in addition to having work experience. Statistics show that employers are more likely to hire someone with previous working experience. As current global trends are moving toward practical learning and trade-schools, it is imperative that universities adopt additional practices to ensure their graduates are prepared and employable upon graduation. WIL programs help to prepare students, allow them to network with potential employers, and help to build their CVs.

In the afternoon, Mr. Ori spoke to about 100 UC students about the importance of work experience, the concept of WIL, and study abroad opportunities at DUT. The students were excited to listen to his informative lecture and were eager to ask questions about studying abroad and how to gain work experience in the absence of a WIL program. It was an absolute pleasure to host Mr. Ori at UC, and we hope to cooperate with DUT again soon.