Can a Full Semester of WIL Satisfy Students, Industry and the Accrediting Body Alike?

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An authentic industry experience through an immersive 5-month full-time Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placement is an innovative point of difference for all STEM degrees at Flinders University. Providing undergraduate engineering students with a semester-long placement means they work on substantial projects, understand company culture, and develop employability skills that facilitate assimilation into the workplace upon graduation, while a student under supervision.
Engineers Australia (EA) requires all students at the Professional engineer level to undertake 12 weeks of engagement with professional practice (EPP) during their undergraduate studies. The goal of this study was to assess the performance of the Flinders WIL model as it differs in both length and programmatic structure to other universities. Parameters assessed include student satisfaction and employability as well as industry satisfaction and engagement.
The Flinders placement typically occurs in semester 6 of 8 (the second half of third year), where the prior semester delivers mandatory workplace preparation material. Surveys are conducted throughout both semesters to monitor the effectiveness of the program. A comprehensive Workplace Preparation topic includes intellectual property counselling, professionalism within the workplace, workplace health and safety, project management, skills related to CV preparation and interviews, and industry networking evenings. Post-WIL placement, both industry hosts and students are surveyed to ascertain satisfaction levels and areas for improvement.
Recent national statistics indicate that Flinders graduates attain employability above state and national averages. Aggregated survey data from the last four years revealed most students agreed they received a good level of support during their WIL placement (88%, n=309) and felt better prepared for graduate employment (92%, n=331). Post-placement, 73% (n=326) of students received some offer of employment from their host company. Industry engagement for the Flinders program is also very strong, with 96% (n=194) of industry partners confirming an interest in hosting future students. Additionally, based on the experience they had with their WIL student(s), 97% (n=194) would hire a Flinders graduate if a position were available.
The unique Flinders WIL placement model benefits both industry and students. It achieves employability levels above state and national averages and almost all industry partners are satisfied with the experience. This results in further engagement such as offering casual work over the summer, graduate employment, or an industry sponsored Honours projects in Year 4.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2023
Event34th Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) - Gold Coast, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 3 Dec 20236 Dec 2023
Conference number: 34


Conference34th Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE)
Abbreviated titleAAEE2023
CityGold Coast
Internet address


  • Work Integrated Learning
  • Employability
  • Industry


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