Whatever policy and funding arrangements are in place, synergistic partnerships between industry, community, educators and researchers need to be enabled. Ideally, those partnerships will be deep and broad. They will draw on and leverage each partner’s expertise and strength, while respecting the different mission and value each brings to the partnership – and to the nation as a whole – shaping our future prospects.
Human capital underpins our future capability and competitiveness. The extent to which Australia is able to adapt and develop, and continue to deliver a quality of life that is among the best in the world, will depend in large part on how well our institutions and business sectors collaborate. Those relationships provide the foundation of a coherent system where viable, innovative enterprise can prosper. They also underpin community support, benefits and commitments that are shared, and where individual aspirations can be pursued and fulfilled.
Partnerships develop, evolve and grow best in a conducive policy environment and where there are clear and practical strategies: strategies that target recognised needs, are flexible and geared to deliver mutual benefit, and encourage and reward persistent effort. One such strategy is to develop a coherent approach to build workforce capability, skills and individual prospects. Work Integrated Learning does that.
Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is an “umbrella term for a range of approaches and strategies that integrate theory with the practice of work within a purposefully designed curriculum”. Specifically, WIL is aimed at improving the employability of graduates by giving them valuable practical experience which is directly related to courses being studied at university. WIL also improves the transition from university to work and productivity outcomes for the employer and the economy.