When Flinders Business student Penelope Bryant signed up to complete an industry project, she was thrilled to discover she’d be exploring the future of wine packaging.
In Sweden, Systembolaget – a chain of liquor stores owned by the government – is the monopoly purchaser of alcohol for the country. And right now, no organic sustainably-packaged Australian wines are being sold in it.
Though a small market, the sustainably-minded country presents major opportunities for a producer like South Australia’s Gemtree Wines. Based in McLaren Flat, the viticulture, wine and tourism business is proud of its biodynamic and organic farming practices. In fact, Gemtree Wines’ sustainability philosophies are already being celebrated by the Systembolaget, who have requested that the business explore alternative packaging options in line with Sweden’s consumer preferences, and to minimise environmental impacts.
As part of Flinders University’s Industry Project program, which pairs a team of Flinders University students with a real company, students researched whether this opportunity was worth pursuing – and, if so, what the products would be, and how they would be packaged. The findings are intended to inform a potential, formal proposal that Gemtree Wines could put forward to the Systembolaget.
“I feel like I’m being a bit fearless right now… this project pushes you out of your comfort zone so much, and it’s great.”
It’s an in-depth project, and an incredible opportunity to have real impact on the workings of a real business. One of the students assigned to the project was Penelope Bryant, a Business student who recently returned to studies after deciding she needed a change of direction. “I studied at Flinders because I wasn’t happy working in the job I was in, and I really wanted to change up my life a bit,” she says. “Having young kids, I wanted to show them that you can do anything.”
Bryant has enjoyed working with the client, researching the Swedish market and putting everything she’s learned at university into practise. With aspirations to be a marketing consultant some day, she credits the course with pushing her to step outside of her comfort zone – like speaking in public.
Industry projects enable students to work on real business projects with the university’s impressive range of industry partners. They learn how to pitch ideas and recommendations to clients, develop their consulting and project management skills, and can build their professional network – all of which can add immense value to their CV and employability. It also helps them to build confidence in a business setting. “This Industry Project has prepared me so well for the real world,” says Bryant. “Working closely with the different marketing executives, and a client… it’s really helped.”
Stepping outside of campus and into a real-world project has brought meaning to the business theory Bryant has come to know so well. While she’s enjoying her time at university for the moment, she feels content in the knowledge that she’s on the right path to achieving her long-term goals.
“I feel like I’m being a bit fearless right now,” she says. “This project pushes you out of your comfort zone so much, and it’s great to kind of be pushed – maybe kicking and screaming a little bit – but it’s been really wonderful to learn that I can do anything that I put my mind to.”