WIL Wellbeing: Exploring The Impacts of Unpaid Practicum on Student Wellbeing

WIL Wellbeing

Australian universities are under increasing pressure to support students to develop the graduate skills and knowledge required to transition from education into professional practice. The adoption of a range of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) approaches to achieve this aim is an increasingly visible component of the tertiary education landscape. However, successes in increasing the participation of diverse groups challenge assumptions regarding students’ extra-study commitments on their capacity to participate in unpaid placements in particular. In research funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) and in partnership with the National Association of Field Experience Administrators (NAFEA) and researchers from the QUT Faculties of Business, Education and Health, this project examined student experiences of and institutional approaches to support student wellbeing in practicum. The research makes visible considerable levels of financial stress as a result of undertaking a placement due to the intensive unpaid nature of such placements; the additional costs incurred; relational stressors; and the financial impacts of lost wages.

Dr Jenna Gillett-Swan (QUT)