Preparing students for WIL

WIL experiences, particularly those that take place in a workplace, can be stressful for students because they are required to step out of their comfort zone into an unfamiliar environment. Effective ‘classroom’ preparation prior to work-based experiences helps to ensure that students get more out of work-based experiences, through building confidence, developing disciplinary knowledge and skills, and helping students to understanding what will be expected of them, and what they can expect in terms of the organisational structure and culture that will encounter 6.5, 1.6.

Preparation for WIL, including the development of transferrable skills and familiarisation with relevant technologies, ideas and practices, should occur throughout courses, and not just in the units in which workplace experiences occur 6.5. For this to be effective, students must be made aware of the relevance of these capabilities as they develop them, and of the opportunity to put their skills and knowledge into practice through WIL 1.4.

Preparation for placements and other located experiences might include:

  • helping students identify the tasks they may engage in and the capabilities they will require;
  • providing opportunities for them to practice relevant skills and procedures;
  • discussing the purpose of the experience, what you intend them to get out of it and what they want to achieve;
  • establishing, expectations, roles and responsibilities of each party;
  • providing classroom-based activities, such as case studies or inviting industry speakers;
  • discussing how their existing knowledge and experience may be relevant, what they can draw upon and what might be different;
  • talking to students about appropriate workplace attire and behaviour 6.5, 1.6, 3.13, 3.14.


Ways to prepare students for placements
Role-plays, case studies and simulations 6.5, 3.14, 9.5
  • Introduce situations students may encounter on placement
  • Prompt students to think about how they might act or react in these situations
  • Allows for feedback and discussion of alternative options
Goal-setting 6.5
  • Prompts students to think about what they want to achieve on their placement
  • Provides an opportunity for discussion and negotiation between student, industry supervisor and teaching staff
  • Helps set realistic expectations for all parties
  • Can motivate students and promote self-awareness and reflection
Industry speakers and networking sessions 6.10
  • Provide insights into industry and organisations, including organisational structure and norms
Teamwork activities 6.5
  • Help students develop communication and conflict-management skills
  • Provides opportunity to hear different perspectives and approaches
Hearing from past students
  • Provides insights into placement experience, including possible tasks and capabilities
  • Gives students an opportunity to ask questions in a non-threatening environment
Resume preparation and interview 3.14
  • Prompts students to think about likely tasks and situations on placement
  • Prompts reflection on how capabilities and experience relate to the placement opportunity


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