Helping students transition from school to work.

Role

User research, prototyping, experience design.

Project info

An industry partner brief from Australia Post as part of the RMIT Master of Communication Design Studio.

Overview

The Emerging Products team is an internal incubator within Australia Post comprised of product managers, designers, user experience researchers and developers, whose objective is to identify new products or services and create new sources of revenue for Australia Post. As part of an industry partnership, Australia Post tasked the RMIT Master of Communication Design Studio with a brief to explore how Australia Post might develop new product offerings for students.

How might we help students transition from academia into their career?

With over 1.3 million university students enrolled in Australia, tertiary institutions need to demonstrate that students have a high success rate of entering their career of choice in order to maintain enrolments. For many students, transitioning to their first career job after graduating is a stressful event. To explore opportunities in this space, Australia Post and RMIT assembled teams across several sprints. I was part of a small UX research and service design team engaged in a three-week sprint to research and prototype potential new product offerings.

Discovery

To set the project on the right trajectory, we interviewed a range of students of different genders and nationalities, with different work experiences. Ages ranged from the early 20s to late 30s from disciplines such as commerce, marketing, fashion and textiles, social work, art therapy and design. In addition, we conducted service safaris and user-shadowing of existing job services.

The majority of interviews were conducted in-person, recording the audio and transcribing results into a research database. Additional interviews were conducted online via chat applications when meeting in-person proved difficult.

To build empathy, we documented our findings into a journey map across three key archetypes. Four key themes emerged:

  • Life Administration
  • Job Seeking Services
  • Skills for the Workplace
  • Finding Meaningful Work


A difficulty is balancing work and life is prevalent, more so with those engaged in the gig economy, but in this area financial anxiety also features as a problem point.

People didn’t use, or didn’t like using legacy recruitment job boards such as Seek; these methods would be considered a fallback plan or lead them down a job-hunt rabbit hole. Moreover, people found that their personal and inter-personal networks were more effective in finding work.

People require further training once in a job, as academia does not mirror employment. Many graduates will be required to intern or work their way through entry-level roles before arriving at their desired position.

The vision

During the ideation phase, we generated deep insights and rapidly arrived at six concepts for new products and services that could potentially fulfil the business and user goals. Our vision was to propose a platform that could satisfy the emotional drivers, diminish the major barriers, and provide support throughout the job searching experience.

Introducing Career Starter

Career starter is a one-stop hub for entry-level opportunities, career advice, networking and resources. Content is specifically curated for recent graduates, reducing the noise experienced in other job market platforms. The goal is to reduce all the main pain points, make searching and applying easier. Similarly, there is an upside for employers. The proposed product would integrate A.I. and micro-credentialing offered by many MOOC and universities to easily shortlist and validate candidate credentials.

Inspiration feed

An inspiration feed provides useful information about career pathways, best practices, meetups, stories and thought leadership. Personalisation allows young job seekers to filter based on their interests and needs.

User profile

Allows a student to maintain a public resume and easily apply to job opportunities. It is particularly well-suited for personal branding. Unlike linkedIn, there is no connections or likes count, making the platform a safe and healthy place to spend time online.

Our holistic, actionable and forward-looking vision was presented to the Head of Product and senior members of Australia Post's Emerging Products Incubator as the basis for a potential new product within Australia Post.

Reflection

Despite not making it to market, the insights captured from this discovery sprint helped Australia Post to canvas the potential for developing new offerings to help solve complex problems for students.