Internships and PhDs


In the ten years since Australia’s first large-scale scoping study of Work-integrated Learning (WIL) there has been a rapid increase in WIL research and undergraduate WIL opportunities. Though well-established in undergraduate degrees, WIL in postgraduate research degrees is relatively unexplored in the Australian context.

Less than half of PhD graduates in Australia are employed by the higher education sector, therefore transferable skills and industry experience are increasingly important. The last few years have seen several Australian peak bodies call for further investment in the employability of PhD graduates.

The Australian Government recently provided funding aimed at encouraging doctoral students to undertake internships and placements. Drawing on qualitative interviews with past and present PhD students this exploratory presentation provides a brief overview of the UK and US approaches to Internship and PhDs and invites discussion around the role of WIL in higher degree research programs in Australia and the challenges they see as facing the broader implementation of WIL across PhD programs.

This has broader implications for how WIL may be utilized to equip doctoral graduates with the industry experience and training to improve their employability outside the higher education sector.

Delivered by

Faith Valencia-Forrester

Faith Valencia-Forrester is the Director of the Service-Learning Unit and a Senior Lecturer at Griffith University. Over the past several years, she has led and supported WIL initiatives at an institutional level and nationally through her role on the Board with the Australian Collaborative Education Network. Faith is a member of several ACEN committees.

Recorded on August 13, 2020