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, particularly participation in extended periods of credit-bearing unpaid work experience, undertaken as either a mandated or elective part of a university degree. However, although the pedagogic benefits of WIL are well-documented, recent research shows some students experience significant financial hardship as a result of its unpaid and intensive nature.
In research funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) and supported by the National Association of Field Experience Administrators (NAFEA), we examined student experiences of and institutional approaches to supporting student wellbeing in practicum. Coining the phrase WIL wellbeing, this research makes visible considerable levels of financial hardship and relational stress created by the intensive unpaid nature of such work experience.
Through funding provided by the Australian Cooperative Education Network (ACEN) the next phase of this research will contribute to understandings of WIL wellbeing by exploring the relationship between financial literacy, financial stress, and placement performance on student wellbeing and strategies and supports required to manage and mitigate the financial stress associated with unpaid WIL work placements.
We are now seeking students to share their experiences of WIL and the financial impacts of participating (including the financial barriers to undertaking a WIL placement). If you are a current student and completed or deferred your studies in the last 2 years we invite you to complete our survey. The survey should take no more than 15 minutes of your time and your answers will be confidential.
Click here to complete the survey
and go in the draw to win one of ten $20 e-gift cards.
- Gillett-Swan, Jenna, Grant-Smith, Deanna (2018) A framework for managing the impacts of work-integrated learning on student quality of life. International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning, 19 (2), pp.129-140.
- Grant-Smith, Deanna, Gillett-Swan, Jenna, Chapman, Renee (2017) WILWellbeing: Exploring the impacts of unpaid practicum on student wellbeing