Work Integrated Learning

Student preparation

It has been recognised that one of the most important contributors to a successful learning experience for our students during Work Integrated Learning (WIL), especially internships, is to ensure they are well prepared. There are a number of ways to achieve this, but the essential preparation should include clarifying the students’ understanding of the following aspects:

Roles and responsibilities

An appreciation of the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved – the workplace supervisor, their academic supervisor, and themselves.

Practical information

Clear information about practical aspects of their workplace location, the name and contact details of their workplace supervisor, the required number of hours in the workplace, agreed work days and any dress code or uniform requirements.

Workplace expectations

Ensure students have an understanding of workplace expectations about professionalism, code of conduct, confidentiality and any agreements that they might be required to sign.

Essential requirements

Depending on the discipline, provide clear instructions about essential requirements before they can enter the workplace (eg. A Working with Children Check or a Police Clearance). Students should also be made aware of the University’s insurance cover for them during WIL, and the need to register any travel plans associated with their experience.

Occupational Safety & Health

Students should be familiar with the issues surrounding Occupational Safety & Health in the workplace, and aware that their host organisation will also require them to attend an induction, just as they would for a new member of staff.

Learning in the workplace

Prepare your students with appropriate expectations about learning in the workplace. They should be prepared to take responsibility for their own learning, and to ask for and receive feedback from the workplace supervisor. It is important in WIL to teach students to be reflective practitioners.

Structured program of work

It is essential for a student’s preparation that they are clear about the structured program of work they are being asked to complete during their WIL experience. This should be clarified between the student, the workplace supervisor, and their academic supervisor. You might ask students to submit a work / project proposal as one of the assessment items in the first week or two.

Sources of support

Students should be familiar with the different sources of support that are available to them – if they have questions, if they are struggling, or if things are not going as well as they had expected.

There are a number of ways in which you might ensure that students are effectively prepared for a work placement or other WIL experience:

  • Online modules have been developed to prepare students for work placement. These are made available through the Learning Management System (LMS). You can request that they be made available to all students enrolled in your unit by submitting a request to the Work Integrated Learning program.
  • Some disciplines have developed their own preparation workshop to suit the specific needs of their students before they begin their WIL experience. You might decide this is the best means to prepare your students.