Work Integrated Learning in Science

Nanotechnology 01

On August 31st the Chief Scientist launched STEM-Trained and Job-Ready, an occasional paper addressing the state of work integrated learning in STEM in Australian universities.  The paper draws on the ACER study commissioned by the Chief Scientist, ACER_Work Integrated Learning in STEM in Australian Universities.

This work presents a sobering picture of access to Work Integrated Learning (WIL) for Science students, especially in comparison to partner disciplines in engineering, IT, agriculture and environmental sciences.  Science students have far less access to WIL experiences and are much less likely to experience relevant industries during their study.  Work Integrated Learning has also been highlighted in recent work from Universities Australia and partner industry peak bodies.

Work Integrated Learning is much more than placements.  It is a means to make studying science authentic relative to professionals who create, use and understand science in their work.  Coupled with career development, Work Integrated Learning can assist students to connect their study to their future.

The ACDS has launched a new project to develop leadership in WIL within Faculties of Science.  The aim of the project is to help Faculties build their expertise in WIL and to plan how they will improve the employability of their graduates.

The project will hold its first major forum on Friday December 11th, 2015 in Melbourne. The Forum will showcase models of work integrated learning (WIL), and organisational structures in science that support it. It will establish a national network promoting WIL in science.