WIL roles and responsibilities

Every student studying science at an Australian university should have opportunities to participate in meaningful WIL experiences.

Work-integrated learning is complex with successful experiences achieved through the interplay of many factors. It requires active participation from students, teachers and industry partners and can contribute to deep, sustained relationships.

Clear understanding of roles and responsibilities is essential for successful WIL. Shared governance is a model for collaboration that defines the contribution of each stakeholder.

Setting up effective collaborations with industry partners takes time and needs investment.

  • Industry partners need to be able to judge an appropriate level of commitment and to understand how their contribution will create the best experience for themselves, for students, and for teachers.
  • University teachers and systems must be able to create and support WIL experiences that enhance graduate learning outcomes and be able to match the right student to the right opportunity.
  • Students need to understand their contribution to making their own WIL experience a success and that their experience can help to improve WIL for the future.


Stakeholder Contributions Framework

The framework sets the out the roles of each stakeholder across seven areas. It is intended as a starter for individual conversations with industry partners and a support for developing student and staff communications and processes.

The framework should be adapted to local policies and processes and industry requirements.

Criteria Contribution
University Industry Students
  • Make WIL an explicit priority with funding and recognition
  • Provide explicit support and engagement
  • Establish a learning culture that readily assimilates students, encourages exploration of knowledge and contribution of student ideas
  • Mentor peers
  • Involve student groups and collectives
Design and co-development
  • Link theory to practice
  • Embed WIL opportunities
  • Scaffold WIL in course design including career development education, active learning, goal-setting and reflection
  • Support task/project development to ensure alignment with student capabilities and learning outcomes
  • Contribute content
  • Help structure learning as part of career
  • Support and encourage graduates to mentor students
  • Demonstrate and articulate value to industry
  • Co-construct tasks/projects to ensure alignment with student capabilities
  • Provide personal context and goals
Engagement and relationships
  • Allow diverse relationships and spaces
  • Develop relationships with depth and with breadth
  • Be flexible in accommodating industry needs
  • Document roles
  • Establish clear processes and systems through which industry can contact and connect with the university
  • Be clear about what is possible in each case
  • Be open to multi-form relationships and activities
  • Collaborate with peer organisations to achieve scale, allow diversity and limit exclusivity within constraints of organisation
  • Co-develop industry role
  • Add in personal contacts and new opportunities
  • Be aware of related relationships
  • Link university and industry partner
  • <Co-develop student role

Logistics and support
  • Resource relationship management
  • Resource placement management, including legal, insurance and safety aspects
  • Resource student management
  • Be clear about own constraints and contribute information
  • Communicate appropriate timing/s for placement to ensure meaningful work is available
  • Be clear about own needs and contribute information
  • Be aware of limitations
  • Develop and provide documentation and communication
  • Develop standards for induction and orientation
  • Provide training for WIL supervisors and students
  • Contribute to collaborative training for WIL supervisors
  • Co-construct induction and local standards
  • Document industry requirements and processes (staff and students)
  • Co-construct induction
  • Set personal goals
  • Develop and provide documentation and communication
  • Provide academic supervision
  • Provide ongoing support and monitoring
  • Manage assessment and feedback
  • Provide WIL supervision
  • Work with supervisors to interpret student role in each case
Assessment and feedback to students
  • Design assessment and ensure compliance with university standards and policy
  • Provide feedback to students
  • Ensure alignment in learning design
  • Develop user-friendly feedback systems
  • Contribute to the development of assessment tasks that are authentic to the industry and reflect skills that students will develop/use
  • Co-assess student performance
  • Provide formative, continuous and meaningful feedback
  • Engage in reflection and portfolio constructions
  • Align artefacts with career progression/aspirations
  • Coordinate quality assurance and benchmarking
  • Review against regulation and industry standards
  • Review against user experience
  • Coordinate a process of continuous review and improvement
  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Review against industry standards
  • Engage in process of continuous review and improvement
  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Review against student expectations and experiences
  • Engage in process of continuous review and improvement

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Additional resources

Henderson and Trede (2017) Strengthening attainment of student learning outcomes during work-integrated learning: A collaborative governance framework across academia, industry and students, Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 18(1), 73-86

Atkinson G (2016) Work-based learning and work-integrated learning: fostering engagement with employers, National Centre for Vocational Education Research

Atkinson G, Misko J and Stanwick JN (2015) Work integrated learning in STEM disciplines: employer perspectives, National Centre for Vocational Education Research