A trio of young, business-savvy, Mandarin-speaking students from Southern Cross University is assisting Northern Rivers-based gourmet food producer Brookfarm with insights about what the Chinese middle-class consumer eats for breakfast.
Brookfarm, which has been actively exporting to China for the past three years, has seen significant growth in their business as China’s desire for macadamia based products increases.
The work experience opportunity – which has proved invaluable for both the Chinese business students and the family-owned Brookfarm at Byron Bay – is part of the University’s Volunteer Connect work integrated learning program, co-funded through StudyNSW’s Partner Project program.
Business students Nanxi (Nancy) Liu, Xinwen (Wendy) Fu and Qunyao (Ann) Liu have spent 15 hours with Brookfarm’s sales and marketing team, sharing their insights on a range of breakfast products and have helped conceptualise and develop a Chinese-language product information website.
“Accessing business students through Southern Cross, particularly those with an understanding of the markets throughout Asia, has really assisted us in better understanding our key Chinese demographic,” said Clinton Bown, Head of Marketing at Brookfarm.
“One of the main discussion points has been around what Chinese millennials eat for breakfast. All three had very different views, which is interesting, as geographically they were all raised in different Chinese provinces.
“Having access to Millennial students in-house has enabled a fluid conversation around what their desires are as young Chinese consumers. The students confirmed a strong desire amongst the Chinese consumer to access Australia’s ‘clean green’ products and also highlighted online consumer trends in China.”
Nancy, Wendy and Ann are thrilled to have worked alongside the Brookfarm team.
Wendy said: “The Volunteer Connect program is a good chance for me to prepare for future employment, and has developed my teamwork skills and people-relation skills. It really made sense for me.”
Ann said: “As an overseas student, most of my understanding of Australia has come from my university life. This program gives me more understanding about Australia’s companies and economy.”
Mr Bown praised the calibre of students.
“The students that Southern Cross brought to us were of the highest standard which speaks volumes not only of the program but the type of student they’ve been able to attract to Volunteer Connect,” said Mr Bown.
“Nancy, Wendy and Ann brought different skills to the table but importantly they’re all very academically focussed and I think the key to this program has been their ability to come into a practical environment and show practical application of their studies.”
The University designed Volunteer Connect to improve the study experience and employability of its international students. Three weeks of workshops focusing on training in Australian workplace culture, verbal and non-verbal coaching, plus networking and job search skills, was followed by a session where students were matched with an alumni mentor.
The highlight of the program is 15 hours of workplace experience at a local business.
“We are delighted with industry and student responses, with over 40 students gaining valuable work experience through Volunteer Connect,” said Leanne Baker, Manager of Careers and Employability at Southern Cross University.
“It is rewarding to see strong connections being formed between industry and students for mutual benefit.”
Want to learn more about similar opportunities for your business with Southern Cross University international students? Contact Leanne Baker on 02 6620 3300 or 07 5589 3116 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Media contact: Sharlene King 0429 661 349