Community Engagement and Internationalisation

Why Work-Integrated Learning?

WIL adds a dimension to a student’s education that cannot be acquired in the traditional lecture room setting as most students who have completed WIL assignments testify.


Benefits for the Student

  • Gain practical experience by applying lecture room learning in a “real world” work environment; this involves observing theory-in-action and the opportunity to integrate theory as well as receiving feedback on the ability to apply it
  • Experience the realities of the workforce and business environment and in the process have an opportunity to acquire adaptable work habits
  • Utilise the workplace employer’s educational resources, that is, equipment, laboratories, training materials, databases, for example, that may be unavailable on campus
  • Refine existing and developing new professional skills
  • Learn the criteria for the success of and continued work in the commercial and industrial environment
  • Opportunity to investigate/explore, test, identify and establish career choices and paths
  • Opportunity to define personal areas of interest, values, strengths and aptitude thus experiencing professional development and personal growth
  • Obtain feedback on interpersonal skills.
  • Develop a relationship with employees and mentors that provide an opportunity to start developing a network of professional contacts within one’s field hence obtaining referees and references
  • An opportunity to identify professional role models in the business environment.
  • Be more sensitive towards different learning styles, expansion of previous learning experiences and negotiable learning methods that suit the individual
  • Opportunity to develop responsibility
  • Gain an edge in the job market
  • Take a break from school but retain the "full-time" student status
  • Earn money (where possible)

Advantages for the Employer

Students seeking WIL positions provide employers with a pool of prospective employees who can benefit from employing organisations.

  • Students are a source of low-cost temporary, motivated employees who are able to contribute to the organisation productively and are available to meet fluctuating workloads.
  • Improved staff efficiency, as students can be used to relieve higher-paid permanent staff from routine tasks, to handle peak workloads and to carry out special projects.
  • Employers and students are provided with an opportunity to determine, in a non-threatening situation, a suitable "match" for permanent employment, a cost-effective method of staff recruitment; a student's work performance is evaluated during the co-op assignment and successful students are hired upon graduation.
  • WIL offers an ideal opportunity to assess the potential of employees for further development and advancement.
  • The employment of students can increase the motivation of permanent staff with whom they work.
  • WIL strengthens the relationship between employers and educational institutions.  Advantages include cross-pollination and improved career-directed education as employers contribute to curriculum design.

Advantages for the University

  • A better-qualified graduate
  • A more attractive programme for new students
  • Provides both theoretical and practical skills development
  • Opportunities for more creative programming to accommodate the needs of commerce and industry
  • To collaborate with commerce and industry to develop young people’s maturity and interpersonal skills for them to be successful in chosen careers
  • To keep students motivated and to regard the opportunity as a challenge
  • An opportunity for academics to forge links with commerce and industry.
  • University’s students market the programme during WIL.