In this issue
The ACEN Research Scholarship and Professional Learning Sub-Committee has selected three research grant winners for 2015 from strong pool of 23 applications. The shortlisting and final selection process involved the committee members' review of applications against criteria. The successful proposals for 2015 are:
Project: Get engaged! Growing WIL through a workplace supervisor capacity building module
Associate Professor Franziska Trede, Dr Katelin Sutton and Mr David Maxwell (Charles Sturt University) with industry partner, Media Federation of Australia.
Brief Overview: Workplace supervisors are often time poor, under resourced and ill prepared for their role. This project develops, tests and evaluates a module to strengthen workplace supervisors' capabilities to engage systematically and effectively with universities to better align industry, university and student expectations, roles and responsibilities to enhance WIL experiences.
Project: Developing a framework for sustainable work-integrated learning (WIL) relationships
Dr Kathryn McLachlan, Macquarie University, Dr Jenny Fleming, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, and Judene Pretti, University of Waterloo, Canada.
Brief Overview: WIL experiences rely heavily on the development of relationships between the university and industry as well as the community. The purpose of this research is to explore the critical success factors for engagement that contribute towards sustainable WIL relationships. The findings will contribute towards the development of an engagement framework/model that can be used to establish sustainable partnerships across multiple WIL contexts globally.
Project: Development of an online Work Integrated Learning (WIL) survey tool to measure, evaluate and enhance the quality of students' WIL experiences
Associate Professor Prof Annette Marlow and Dr Cassandra Saunders, University of Tasmania.
Brief Overview: The purpose of this research project is to develop an online portal and survey instrument to measure, and report on, students' perceptions of their learning while undertaking work integrated learning (WIL), including preparation prior to commencing WIL, engagement with active learning while on WIL and opportunities to develop a professional sense of self.
Eight student scholarships, each worth $1,500, have been awarded to students from
- Griffith University
- Charles Sturt University
- University of Sydney (2)
- Queensland University of Technology (2)
- University of Notre Dame Australia
- University of Queensland
The 2015 ACEN Student Scholarships provide financial support for students undertaking a WIL placement in a regional or remote area of Australia as part of their university studies.
An analysis of the 500 plus applications for 2015 will be published at a later date.
A workshop around the National WIL strategy brought together representatives from around 50 organisations. The aim of the workshop, held at RMIT (Melbourne) in early June, was to draw on expertise across the nation to review the approaches, prioritise the actions and build engagement and support of the strategy.
National WIL Strategy (PDF)
Several ACEN Board members attended.
'The Fair Work Ombudsman is looking into a firm which has been asking junior lawyers to pay $22,000 for a job.
Law students say the two-year work placements are exploitative, but the company says it's just responding to an oversupply of law graduates who are desperate for work.'
September 28-30, 2016 Macquarie University
Be sure to plan your involvement in the Research Symposium (University of Western Sydney) and concurrent pre-conference workshops.
Get a snapshot of details and register your interest in the conference.
27-28 November 2015
The conference aims to showcase student service-learning projects and will focus on how these experiences have impacted on the students' personal development and perhaps the lives of others. You will also find out about the latest research and logistics of organising service-learning programs.
Combined with opportunities to network with fellow educators and share your experiences, we can work together to build school cultures of service learning.
Special guests 'How Ridiculous' on overcoming child poverty.
Register now: nd.edu.au/slc2015
Join us for the 27th Annual Graduate Recruitment and Development Conference taking place at The Sydney Hilton from Wednesday 28th - Friday 30th October. This event will bring together recruitment and development practitioners from around Australia and the world, offering professional and personal development through keynotes, workshops, interactive discussion forums and networking opportunities. The annual AAGE Gala Dinner will feature the AAGE Graduate Recruitment Industry Awards (AGRIAs) ceremony, recognising industry excellence and best practice.
'Contemporary Challenges in WIL' was the theme of the first ACEN NSW/ACT chapter forum held on Monday 15 June at the University of Sydney. It was a record attendance for the biannual forum with 90 registration from 16 different institutions across five states.
The forum was opened by Professor Pip Pattison, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education) at the University of Sydney who shared the vision for experiential learning at the University and discussed proposed changes to undergraduate education as part of the University's Strategic Plan for 2016-2020.
Allan Groth (Universities Australia) presented a topical session focusing on the enablers and restraints surrounding developments in policy with particular reference to the progress of the National WIL Strategy. Jacqueline Mackaway (Macquarie University) and Matthew Campbell (Griffith University) led an interactive workshop that explored policies and practices leading to more inclusive approaches to work integrated learning, as part of OLT funded project, Building institutional capacity to enhance access, participation and progression in Work Integrated Learning.
The final presentation was led by Alana Christoff and Wayne Fallon (University of Western Sydney) which shared the draft guide for working with third party providers developed by ACEN and the International Education Association of Australia. The final session brought together the speakers from throughout the day for a panel discussion drawing together these themes and allowing for questions from the floor. Feedback on the day indicated that the forum was successful in allowing participants to listen, contribute, share and learn throughout the whole day. An online evaluation will follow shortly.
Presentations and recordings will be available for most of the sessions on the ACEN website in due course.
Sarah Fletcher, ACEN Chapter Chair
In a positive move toward embedding WIL in curriculum, Curtin University's Associate Professor Paul Alexander and Dr Trish Dooey, have collaborated on a pilot project designed to expose students to team-work in an authentic work environment. A WIL in Curriculum grant winner in 2014 the pilot project, 'Developing language interventions to improve communication skills among teams in a business context,' is currently being trialled as a 'WIL assignment' embedded in second year Business unit, Supply Chain Information Management.
Associate Professor Alexander and Dr Dooey consider WIL an important factor in facilitating the development of team work and other employability skills in business students.
'Students graduate with a degree in Business but with little practical knowledge of working in a real business. We want to address this and a 'WIL assignment' is likely to be a significant step which translates into enhanced employability of our students.'
Working in small groups and acting in the capacity of consultants, students approach a business and arrange to undertake site visits to explore supply chain processes. Working as a team they then prepare a report based on this visit, and subsequent interactions with the business's representatives, highlighting potential improved processes.
One of the greatest benefits of the project, Associate Professor Alexander explains, is students are meeting with and forming connections with employers and industry leaders from their second year of university studies, well before they can apply for internships, or Graduate programs. This means early in their professional career students have a real world reference point for building on learning and developing industry relevant skills.
'Host companies involved in the pilot program are prestigious companies such as, Miss Maud, Bunnings, Air BP, TNT and Goldstar Transport. For many companies, access to quality students and the chance to contribute to learning is a perceived advantage; they see it as their social responsibility to contribute to the education of the future workforces.'
Ideally Associate Professor Alexander says, 'We want to see every business student undertaking a WIL experience in their second year.'
Graduate employers regularly rate strong interpersonal, negotiation and team work skills as highly desirable attributes of university graduates. WIL experiences embedded in curriculum set a best practice standard to meet these expectations and produce employable, work ready graduates.
The Curtin Work Integrated Learning team in collaboration with the Health and Safety and Risk Management have developed a suite of risk management resources, to help students and staff prepare for fieldwork. These resources are applicable to all courses and all areas of study including research and development.
Director of Risk Management, Michelle Griffiths said developing resources that were of value to all areas was extremely problematic and challenging because, 'there were different requirements, processes and definitions for Teaching and Learning, Research, Health and Safety, curricular and co-curricular and staff and students,' around risk that needed to be considered and included during the consultation and development process. However, being inclusive and working with areas across the University results in resources that meet multi-user needs and requirements. 'Clear accountability for the fieldwork framework was the key to this success – and this sits with the WIL team headed by Sonia Ferns,' Ms Griffiths says.
Ms Natasha Downs, Senior Health and Safety Advisor said that as the WIL team occupy a unique position between student communities and across faculty; they 'have an excellent handle on the needs and activities of the student population at Curtin and the variations which occur in the systems between faculties.' This collaboration has ensured that all parties are represented in the final suite of resources.
Edith Cowan University's School of Business recently hosted its first Employment Seminar aimed at connecting students with workplaces and industries to assist in planning their careers. The seminar emphasised the importance of students embracing Work Integrated Learning (placements and internships), strategic networking and developing labour market awareness whilst studying to get a successful start in the graduate labour market. Three industry practitioners came to share their thoughts on graduate labour market trends and how best to manage rising unemployment and underemployment among new graduates.
In her enthusiastic consideration of how much targeted effort goes into securing their first career step, Sharon Parcell - Director of Talent Consortium - challenged students to re-think and reconsider their approach to ensure they maximised their employment opportunities. She stressed the importance of relevant workplace experience and meticulous attention to detail in applications. CPA Australia Relationship Manager, Michael Harris, highlighted some of the practical networking opportunities every student can access. He also reiterated that you only need one employer to get that elusive job and not to give up or get too deflated from rejections along the way. David Perich of Useful Inc. identified the benefits of volunteering and how it opens up doors. He also encouraged students to take advantage of any and all work opportunities. 'It is great to get an understanding of what employers are looking for and how to bridge the gap between graduates and employer expectations,' says David, an ECU student.
There is a new blog article on a project on sport and autism at Modbury Special School online. The article was written by a WIL student on study placement and it features an interview with another WIL student who is coaching in the program at the school.