Emerging Models of Work Integrated Learning:
Enablers and Challenges

Ms Sonia Ferns – Curtin University
Ms Leoni Russell – RMIT University
Ms Judie Kay – RMIT University
Ms Judith Smith – Queensland University of Technology


The strategic significance of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) for universities, industry sectors, and government is gaining momentum. WIL is pivotal to producing graduates with the capabilities needed to succeed in a volatile labour market. Growing student numbers and increasing demand for WIL opportunities places pressure on universities and industry partners, highlighting the need for innovative WIL models that enable flexibility and adaptability, while retaining quality outcomes for students. This Australian Technology Network (ATN) funded project identified emerging WIL models, their characteristics, challenges, and enablers. This paper reports on the enablers and challenges emerging from the project. Through data collection methods including a literature review, workshops and WIL community of practice meetings with project participants including industry partners, five emerging models were identified. Interviews conducted with academic staff, industry partners, and students across the ATN universities informed snapshots exemplifying the emerging WIL models. Interviews explored the enactment of the WIL activity, the enablers that supported it, the factors leading to its success, and associated challenges. The recognition of the enablers that support the realisation of innovative WIL, and the challenges that inhibit progress, provide guidance for universities in facilitating innovative approaches to WIL design.

Keywords: Innovative WIL models, enablers, challenges, industry partners