As the leading national association for WIL in Australia, ACEN has a role to play in continuing to advocate for quality WIL practice across our higher education sector. We stand ready to engage with the government and higher education sector in shaping the indicators of the NPILF and ensure quality curriculum and pedagogic practices around WIL across the sector.
In responding to the proposed National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund (NPILF) and the Job Ready Graduates discussion paper, ACEN proposes that:
- These funding reforms offer the opportunity to elevate work integrated learning (WIL) as a valued curriculum and pedagogic practice in Australian higher education
- Support for the NPILF will require the articulation of a framework which should draw upon key indicators which reflect good practices in the delivery of WIL and industry engagement, with ACEN’s network of experts in WIL being well-positioned to guide the development of an appropriate framework
- Focus should be placed on supporting quality in the processes of WIL rather than simplistic measures of product, which would include drawing upon emergent understandings of quality in WIL including consideration of national benchmarking
- Measures of impact and success of WIL should examine the impact of different forms of WIL, not just workplace-based offerings such as internships and placements, and that there is an opportunity to develop more robust measures of impact and to consider how these can be applied to diverse forms of WIL across the sector
- For the full realisation of the benefits from the new proposed funding model it is important consideration is given to enhancing equity and access for all students to WIL experiences, and enabling diverse students to grow their professional network, cultural capital and professional agency