Inclusive WIL – Principles, Guidelines and Strategies

Resource | WIL Teaching and Learning

Inclusive WIL Principles, Guidelines and Strategies

A resource for academics, practitioners and higher education institutions involved in the delivery of work integrated learning. 

Introduction and Background

Based on wide consultation and research across the Higher Education (HE) sector in Australia, it is clear that there are many concerns about issues of inclusive practice in the design and delivery of work-integrated learning (WIL). Some students, for a variety of reasons, face barriers in gaining access to and achieving full participation in WIL. This issue is becoming increasingly prominent and there has been a call for action in the National Strategy on WIL in Higher Education (2015), with a key area of importance identified as addressing equity and access issues in student participation in WIL. While many examples of effective practice in universities exist, there is currently no systematic approach nor agreed set of principles about how to develop genuinely inclusive WIL.

The principles, guidelines and examples of implementation strategies presented here are intended to assist universities to address equity and access issues by developing more inclusive approaches to the way WIL is conceived and practiced. This resource is designed to inform university policies and practices, and the design and delivery of WIL curriculum. The target audience is university leadership and those determining policies and practices, as well as professional and academic staff who work directly with students. WIL inherently involves working with a range of partners which includes students. The principles and guidelines are designed to support, not direct partner behaviour and attitudes.

The resource is informed by relevant national and international WIL literature, and scholarship about inclusive teaching practices related to specific target groups. Through webinars, focus groups and state-wide forums, the resource has also drawn on the collective wisdom of over 70 WIL practitioners from a range of institutions and disciplinary areas. The principles and guidelines reflect and incorporate the advice, feedback and ideas so generously provided by these practitioners. In addition, examples of practical strategies have been gathered and are also presented.

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