The National Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Strategy is designed to increase WIL opportunities to build the productive capacity of Australia's workforce, improve graduate job prospects and meet the skills needs of employers.

It was developed by Universities Australia, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Collaborative Education Network.

University staff, academic and professional, will play an increasingly important role in preparing students for work integrated learning.

Having a degree is only the beginning. Employers look for industry experience and work-readiness when hiring graduates.

Work Integrated Learning, or WIL, is used to describe a range of approaches that integrate theory with the practice of work. Common WIL activities include a work placement, internship or project in the workplace, completion of case studies, volunteering, service learning, work shadowing and simulations on campus.

For-credit practicums 

Students gain academic credit for pre-approved work placements. 

Most practicum units are run during semester time – March to May (Semester 1) and August to October (Semester 2). Some units are offered during the summer school period (January to February) and some offer flexible arrangements. Depending on the discipline area, placements are around 80-200 hours in length.

  • Arts Practicum
  • Translation Studies
  • Social Sciences - Practicum 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • Business Practicum
  • Professional Development Practicum (Postgraduate Business)
  • Science Practicum
  • Sports Science Professional Practice 1 & Sports Science Professional Practice 2
  • Science Communication
  • Work, Health and Safety - Practicum I and II
  • Health Sciences - Practicum I and II
  • Service Learning Units including the McCusker Centre for Citizenship
  • A list of work integrated learning units are in the UWA Handbook.

    Professional placements

    Some degrees require work placements to be undertaken for professional accreditation.

  • Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Teaching
  • Juris Doctor
  • Not-for-credit

    Students undertake activities alongside their studies.

  • Work experience, vacation work and internships are regularly advertised on CareerHub. All positions should comply with the Fair Work Act regarding unpaid work
  • Work shadowing, case studies, competitions and simulations.
  • Career Mentor Link and UniMentor programs.
  • Guild Volunteering
  • Industry Research Projects

    Undertake joint research projects through practicums such as Transdisciplinary Service Learning and Design or programs such as those offered by CEED and iPrep.  

    Co-Operative Education for Enterprise Development (CEED) is a formal program designed to link the abilities and training of undergraduate and postgraduate students with the research and development needs of progressive organisations within the wider community. The CEED program at UWA gives access to any discipline within the University.

    iPREPWA is an initiative to support research collaboration between the universities and industries of Western Australia. The program involves interdisciplinary teams of PhD candidates, from all five WA universities, working on a six-week project with an industry partner during their thesis examination period.

    Graduate coursework or research students can also undertake the Transdisciplinary Service Learning and Design  practicum, working collaboratively on complex issues with demographic, infrastructural, political, cultural and/or economic dimensions that require transdisciplinary solutions. Students work with staff from UWA faculties, the McCusker Centre for Citizenship and stakeholders in specific institutions or regions, and the methodological focus is on intercultural communication, effective and authentic consultation and transdisciplinary collaboration.

    Vacation programs and internships

    Vacation programs are offered by larger corporations and run over the summer break. In some cases, the experience can be credited towards a unit within a degree. Students should receive confirmation from their Unit Coordinator prior to commencing a program.

    Employers use vacation programs to recruit graduates, so students should take the opportunity to gain experience and secure a graduate position. Graduate and vacation programs are advertised on CareerHub.

    Some for-credit units are offered over the summer and winter breaks, and students should check with the Unit Coordinator for further information.

    More and more students are seeking work placements to complement their studies. Refer to the following FAQs to point students in the right direction.

    For any questions that have not been answered below, contact wil@uwa.edu.au for assistance. This allows us to keep our questions and answers up to date.

    How do I find a placement?

    Advice regarding searching for a work placement can be found here.

    Is there a list of companies that I can contact for a work placement?

    We don’t hold a list of companies for students to contact regarding work placements; however, advice regarding searching for a work placement can be found here.

    Can I do a placement or project for academic credit?

    Yes, as long as the student has room in their course to opt in to a unit and they meet the unit prerequisites. Refer the student to the student services team in their faculty, who will be able to find out unit availability within their study plan. Refer the student to the for-credit units where pre-requisites for each unit can be found.

    Does it cost to undertake a work placement?

    It could, but it doesn’t need to. Some organisations offer the service of finding work placements for students for a fee; however, students are able to find their own work placements in a variety of ways. The advice we provide to students can be found here.

    Which units offer work placements?

    The list of units offering work placements can be found here.

    What is Service Learning?

    Service Learning refers to community engagement activities that are embedded in units of study, being structured and assessed as formal educational experiences. The list of Service Learning units can be found here.

    For co-curricular (not-for-credit) work experience, which is organised by the student independently of any practicum unit and not to be used towards the successful completion of a degree, work experience can be paid or unpaid. The student should be aware of their rights within the Fair Work Act for unpaid work placements.

    If work experience is unpaid, a level of insurance may be provided by UWA under the following conditions. Students should check with their unit coordinator or Faculty Office before proceeding. If a work placement is paid, the company is required to provide insurance to the student.

    Rules vary for each practicum unit and degree program, so students should check the relevant unit to find out if their placement can be paid or unpaid when undertaking a placement for credit/as a course requirement.

    I am an international student. How many hours of work experience can I undertake?

    The study visa the student holds will determine the number of hours he/she can work per week both in semester and outside of term time. International students are able to apply for a visa which allows them to live and work in Australia for up to four years following graduation. Further information can be found here.

    What about insurance?

    If the work is paid, the student should be covered by their employer's insurance and any other relevant legislation such as Fair Work Act, Anti-Discrimination, Worker's Compensation, OHS and minimum wage.

    If the work is unpaid, UWA's insurance may cover your placement under the following conditions. To access UWA Insurance for unpaid work experience (not-for-credit), complete this form. If you are undertaking a for-credit practicum, check with your unit coordinator or Faculty Office before proceeding.

    When should I do a work placement?

    Students should aim to undertake as many WIL activities as they can, starting from their first year at university. This broadens students' horizons, helps them work out what direction they might like their career to take when they finish university and assists them to start building networks. The main message is: don’t leave it to the last minute. Start now.

    We help our students pursue their impossible; whatever it may be. Let’s continue to ensure work-readiness reaches the same heights and work together to continually improve, contribute to and engage in our Work Integrated Learning program.

    Teaching staff

    • Integrate industry presentations, real-life industry projects, competitions and case studies in to your lessons.
    • Use your contacts. Do you know someone within an external organisation where you think a student may be able to gain valuable work experience? Or perhaps they could provide a working example of a project for students to work upon in your lesson?
    • Do you have a work placement of your own that you think could be used as a practicum project? Perhaps you are undertaking a research project and you have an idea as to how an aspiring PhD student could get involved. 
    • For all work placement/project opportunities for use with a practicum unit, forward the details to wil@uwa.edu.au and your ideas will be passed to the relevant practicum coordinator.

    Professional staff

    • Use your contacts. Do you know someone within an external organisation where you think a student may be able to gain valuable work experience? Or perhaps they could provide a working example of a project for students to work upon as part of their studies.
    • Do you have a work placement of your own that you think could be used as a practicum experience? Perhaps you see an opportunity for a student to join your team for an 80 to 120-hour work placement where they can gain valuable, hands-on experience in our billion-dollar organisation.
    • Are you undertaking a research project and have an idea as to how an aspiring PhD student could get involved?
    • For all work placement/project opportunities for use with a practicum unit, forward the details to wil@uwa.edu.au and your ideas will be passed to the relevant practicum coordinator.

    The following pre-placement units are available in LMS, for general use/advice to students, as well as for use with practicum units. (These LMS modules will be available in 2017)

    Essential

    The following units are strongly recommended to be undertaken prior to the commencement of all work placements including those for academic credit, as well as self-sourced not-for-credit work placements. (These LMS modules will be available in Semester 2, 2017)

    Optional

    Teaching staff can select from the following units (as well as those listed under Essential) as a resource for use with an academic program, or for general use/advice to students. All career development modules can be found here. (These LMS modules will be available in Semester 2, 2017)

    Some suggested units for use alongside academic programs are:

    Supporting documents and checklists

    Workplace evaluation checklist
    A work placement health and safety evaluation checklist. This is for use prior to signing up new organisations to offer work placements as part of a practicum unit.
    Induction checklist
    Provide this checklist to employers to encourage and assist the induction process for students undertaking work placements for credit.
    Request insurance letter
    When host organisations request a letter of currency for a student placement, use this link to find out what to do.
    Journal template
    Reflective learning is encouraged for all practicum units. This template can be provided to students to assist the reflection process.
    Pre-placement consideration template
    Active consideration from the student of their upcoming work placement prior to its commencement is highly recommended. This template can be provided to students to assist their pre-placement consideration, to increase their connection to the placement, to discover the outcomes they would like to achieve and to decide how they plan to contribute to the workplace.
    Mid-placement survey
    A mid-placement survey is recommended to be sent to students and host supervisors at the mid-point of the placement. This prompts both parties to openly communicate issues, providing unit/WIL coordinators with the opportunity to monitor placements and address issues that may not otherwise have been raised. These documents are also used to inform the Lessons Learned process at the end of each placement period.
    End of placement survey
    It is recommended that an end of placement survey is provided to students and host supervisors at the end of each work placement. This allows unit/WIL coordinators to monitor the effectiveness of the placement, from which a decision is made as to whether the position, organisation and host supervisor remain suitable for future placements. It also monitors the student’s performance and suitability for future placements and provides a resource from which to provide feedback to students to enhance their self-awareness, increase their confidence and highlights their skills, as well as areas for development. These documents are also used to inform the Lessons Learned process at the end of each placement period.
    Lessons Learned Log
    To facilitate continual improvement of UWA’s work placement opportunities, a Lessons Learned Log is to be completed for each work placement unit at the end of each placement period. The log should be updated throughout the process by both the unit and WIL coordinator and a final Lessons Learned discussion should take place to complete and delegate actions across the team. The discussion should include the results from the mid- and end-of-placement surveys to ensure all captured data is taken in to account. Use the template attached to discuss aspects which worked well and to be repeated, and those aspects which require attention. An action plan should be put in to place at the meeting and completed prior to the next semester intake. Findings should be shared with the central WIL coordinator, who will log and share findings with members of the WIL working party to help inform University-wide best practice.

    For all WIL queries, contact the Careers Centre.

    Email: wil@uwa.edu.au

    Phone: 6488 2258

    For information regarding specific practicum units, contact the unit coordinator listed in the relevant unit outline.

    To add your unit to the WIL page in the Handbook, email help-curriculum-aps@uwa.edu.au and ask to open the WIL field in CAIDi.

    Contact us