Students need experience, business needs talent. IA favourites and Sydney entrepreneurs Buziebee talk about how they have created a win-win for both.
What is Buziebee?
Surya: Buziebee connects businesses with students via paid project work.
As international students, the initiative began as a personal project to help other international students overcome common barriers to obtaining work experience. During this process, Buziebee developed a strategy to address the broader issue of youth unemployment in Australia.
Why did Buziebee focus on paid projects when there are several other platforms promoting unpaid work to students?
Yige: We never considered unpaid work to be an option because not being paid indicates that you’re not doing meaningful work.
An internship with poor structure and unclear tasks that is unpaid suggests that the business doesn’t know where the value lies. At Buziebee, we help our clients shape student projects by breaking them down into specific deliverables so that the value of the paid project work is clear.
Some of our clients have noted that with paid project work, they were able to attract better quality candidates that delivered better outcomes.
What type of projects do students work on?
Surya: We work mainly with small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). Unlike start-ups, SMEs can afford to pay and unlike larger businesses, SMEs can make decisions quickly. Some businesses come to us to take on specific tasks such as a web design project or a marketing assignment for an upcoming event. Other businesses come to us to explore projects that have been on the back of their minds for some time.
Sharon Warburton (Founder of Steel Heels): I found Buziebee when I was searching for some short-term help with my new business, which I balance while working full-time and holding several board positions. I was of the view that people coming through university could have a much greater grasp on technology even though they might not have 100% of the necessary experience at a glance.
Buziebee not only helped me locate the right talent, but also helped deliver a cheaper solution than the option of going to more established organisations for the same skill sets. As a platform that aims to increase the self-confidence of women in the workplace, it was a great feeling for Steel Heels to be giving young people the opportunity to contribute to our project.
Why would students choose Buziebee over other forms of graduate recruitment?
Yige: Buziebee goes beyond the graduate recruitment model in that students can start working on projects when they begin their studies. Instead of employers spending in excess of $10,000 to train a graduate with mixed results, employers can build relationships with students while they are still studying by working together on smaller projects.
The other benefit of allowing students to try various projects before they enter a graduate position is that they can choose a path that they are likely to stay with, thereby improving job loyalty and retention for these businesses.
Wendy Ling (student placed with Bitscan): During my three-month placement, I was able to explore areas of work outside my formal university studies. I am an accounting student and my work at Bitscan predominantly involved market research and marketing. Working in a start-up environment helped me develop a mindset for entrepreneurship and I now have a broader view about my pathway following university graduation.