Graduate Employment and University Reviews- a Q&A with Shane Dillon

February 27, 2021

Shane Dillon is the founder of Cturtle, a graduate employment site and UniAdvisor, a community focused on university reviews

Graduate employment and University Reviews - a Q&A with Shane Dillon

Shane would you like to tell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Shane Dilllon and I am originally from Australia and have lived and worked in several countries in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. I worked for a few years in mathematics education and then after graduate school worked in financial services and insurance sectors. I always meet returnee international students (often called “sea turtles”) through my work and travel and noticed how many struggled in the transition from education abroad to employment and this is what led me to start my first edtech company which we called Cturtle in 2016.

I have also just started a PhD exploring relationships in university world ranking, tuition costs and the income of returnee international graduates that will add another level of insights into my work with Cturtle and UniAdvisor. 

Has the pandemic had an impact on your work?

It had a huge impact on our work, we were lucky that we were already looking at becoming more digital and online in 2019 so we were able to adapt and thrive in the COVID times. Our JOB+ Career Accelerator has had a huge amount of interest from international and domestic students and we believe our unique data driven approach to graduate employment will be stay the market leader in this space.  We are also seeing a good increase in traffic and inquiries on UniAdvisor as international students look for more reliable and trusted sources of information on where and what to study.

Cturtle Team

Would you like to share a little about both of your projects?

Cturtle we started in 2016 with the aim of looking at graduate employment and employability services for international students. The first issue we came across was the lack of data on what actually happens to international students after they graduate in terms of their employment. We launched the International Student Employment Outcomes and Satisfaction ISEOS project to look into this issue which was funded by government and industry stakeholders in Australia. The research showed clearly how important employment outcomes were for students and how this had a significant correlation with if graduates and alumni would recommend study abroad. The third problem we identified through the research was the lack of reliability of the information students received before studying abroad and so we looked at building a second platform to help international students get better pre-departure information and university and study destination rankings and reviews based on international student experience and the graduate employment data we were collecting.

We developed a 360 career services product for international students in 2019 and that has been adapted into the JOB+ Career Accelerator which helps international students get the work experience, career coaching and professional networks they need to get graduate jobs.

Our second platform UniAdvisor we launched in 2019 and that is a ranking and review site that looks at university experience, safety, employment outcomes, costs and overall satisfaction with the international student experience. The platform now has over 30,000 reviews from international students on their experiences studying at universities in Australia, UK, Canada, USA and New Zealand.

What are your goals in the coming months/year?

We have some big plans for the coming year, adding employment data on over 1M international students to UniAdvisor and leveraging this data on employers and alumni to make even more network introductions for our JOB+ Career Accelerator members. We see COVID rapidly moving forward the agenda of closer ties between employers and universities and student consumers looking for a return on investment on their education spending.

Have your platforms received any awards or industry recognition?

Global Employability Awards for Cturtle include ReImagine Education Nurturing Employability Awards (2019) | Employability International Impact PIEoneer Awards (2020) | ADVANCE Awards Education 2019, 2020 | China Australia Business Awards (2019) | PIEoneer of the Year Awards (2017).

You can learn more about Cturtle here: https://cturtle.co/

More information on UniAdvisor is available here: https://www.uniadvisor.co/