Residents in East Gippsland will soon know for the first time just how much the arts is worth, with a group of Graduate School of Business and Economics Masters students beginning work on a tool to determine its monetary value.
The project will establish not just the economic but also the social value of the arts to the East Gippsland community, and help to further highlight the importance of the arts in regional areas.
It comes just months after the implementation of a four-year Arts, Culture and Heritage Strategic Plan, and the East Gippsland Council is hopeful this new tool will help provide better support and development of regional arts.
Anna Cook, the Shire’s Community Access and Arts Manager, said the Council was excited to have the students contributing in such an important area of the community.
“This is enormously valuable to us. By developing tools to measure the economic value of the arts within the community we can better understand the return we are getting from the investment made.”
The students will attend a public council meeting on Tuesday night and participate in an Arts and Cultures Strategic Advisory Board Meeting on Wednesday before they begin their work.
The student project is part of the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Business & Economics Volunteer Business Practicum, a program that allows students to provide a genuine contribution to a business or community while gaining valuable work experience.
Program manager Sue Elston from the Faculty of Business and Economics Career Centre said it was a fantastic way for students to meet potential employers and gain confidence by being treated as a professional.
“One of the challenges for students we find is in dealing with an imperfect world, away from lectures and text books. By getting an opportunity to get hands on experience they realise that time passes very quickly in the business world, and that it’s not just about how much time they spend on a project, but as consultants, how effectively they work.”
Ms Elston said the program was particularly valuable for international students, who make up a large part of the Practicum program.
“Because they are doing a project of real need, we find their confidence lifts so much as they see they can apply the skills they learned in the classroom into the real world,” she said.
The students will work with the East Gippsland Council until mid-February, when they will present their findings to the council and their peers.
See http://www.gsbe.unimelb.edu.au/careers/employers/businesspracticum.html for more information.