ACEN offers three $10,000 WIL research grants


ACEN aims to foster research and scholarship initiatives in Work Integrated Learning (WIL) by endorsing research proposals and identifying and advancing WIL research in priority areas.

In 2015 ACEN is pleased to increase the Research Grants from two to three.

This year ACEN is offering funding for research grants to:

  1. build the capacity of ACEN members to undertake research into WIL
  2. promote and support scholarship in WIL
  3. develop effective mechanisms for identifying, developing, disseminating and embedding research-based practice in WIL programs
  4. leverage opportunities for collaboration in WIL research.

The themes for the 2015 grant scheme are:

  • Partnerships models for engagement with industries and communities to grow WIL
  • Working with small to medium enterprises (SMEs) on innovative WIL models
  • Evaluation strategies supporting quality WIL .

Applications are due on May 18, 2015.


Eight student scholarships valued at $1,500 each

The 2015 ACEN Student Scholarship provides financial support for students undertaking a WIL placement in a regional or remote area of Australia as part of their university studies.

Applications for scholarships will be accepted between 16 March and 10 April 2015.


strategylogosUniversity and business leaders announce a comprehensive national WIL strategy

A National WIL Strategy has been developed by ACEN in collaboration with Universities Australia, Australian Chamber of Commerce (ACCI), Australian Industry Group (AIG ) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA) and has been released in Canberra at the Universities Australia conference. The strategy has been developed over the last 12 months after the signing of the Statement of intent last February. It provides a comprehensive national strategy to enhance and grow WIL in Australia.

The strategy focuses on approaches and actions based on findings from key research projects and is underpinned by strategies to strengthen partnerships between Universities and industry.

The ACEN board has been very involved in the development of the strategy and the ACEN Board has decided to align key initiatives for 2015 with this strategy.

National WIL Strategy (PDF)

WIL Statement of intent (PDF)

Media release (PDF)

Hear Belinda Robertson, Universities Australia on ABC RN Breakfast today, March 11 – second part of the interview

Daily Telegraph

Manufacturers’ Monthly

Facilitating student placements – FAQs for Higher Education institutions from FWO

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Office has developed the FAQ in response to numerous questions about student placements and when they should be paid or unpaid. It aims to provide clarity around such arrangements and help education institutions in ensuring any unpaid work experience arrangements their students engage in are lawful.


European WIL Institute

European WIL Institute is a 2.5 day interactive, discussion-based program designed and delivered by academic faculty and thought leaders from the U.K., France, Germany, United States and Canada.

May 18-20, 2015


Volunteering to Learn logoVolunteering to Learn workshops

You are invited to a free workshop, which will present stories gathered to date from a two-year project examining student volunteering in universities across Australia.

Volunteering to Learn is an Office for Learning and Teaching funded project involving four WA universities and Macquarie University. A desk audit of volunteering in universities around Australia, literature review, and interviews with key stakeholders have revealed interesting insights about why students volunteer, what they hope to achieve from doing so, what assists the volunteering process and what needs further attention.

The workshop will share some of the stories and participants will be introduced to the Good Practice Guides being developed for students, hosts, employers and university management. The workshop is designed for staff designing and delivering student volunteer programs, host organisations and students.

Workshops: Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth

From: March 18 to April 22, 2015


Internship issues in the media

ABC Radio • PM with Mark Colvin

University students warned on overseas internships

ABC News • Absolute Internship: Claims students left without visas in Singapore spark national review

Company refused request for refund

Student threatened with legal action after making complaint

Universities review relationship with company

Media company fined $24,000 for exploiting young workers

A media company has been penalised for illegally exploiting young workers.

In a significant test of how interns can be treated under industrial law, Crocmedia faced court action after the workplace watchdog found the company had grossly underpaid two workers tens of thousands of dollars.

For between six months to a year, the workers produced radio programs for the SEN network and routinely worked multiple weekly shifts, including the ‘graveyard’ shifts from midnight to 6am. Crocmedia classed the employees as ‘volunteers’ and made reimbursement-for-expenses payments to them for each shift, but did not pay them any wages.

One of the producers was a 20-year-old sports journalism student when she started.

Fair Work inspectors told Crocmedia that because the pair had performed productive work for the company that was not a formal part of their university studies they were entitled to be paid minimum wages. Crocmedia co-operated with the investigation and admitted breaching workplace laws.


Join the ACEN discussion on LinkedIn

1NZACE-logo8th Annual NZACE Conference
‘Integrating learning, work and community’

Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

Wednesday 15th – Friday 17th, April, 2015



8 – 10 April 2015

‘Walking the Tightrope: the implication of markets for VET research, policy and practice’

The Rendezvous Grand Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

More or

University of Newcastle Annual WIL Awards


Cover of the ‘hands on @ UON’ which was launched during the Awards ceremony

From dissecting cadavers in the University’s anatomy laboratory, teaching Indonesian children dental health, raising Indigenous awareness in the workplace, overcoming a crippling lack of resources to deliver obstetrics help in Nepal and coordinating multi-million dollar infrastructure projects, this year’s University of Newcastle WIL Awards highlighted some exceptional WIL activities undertaken by University of Newcastle staff and students.

More about the awardees, promotion and Hall of Fame inductee

2014 ACEN Conference - Gold Coast - Sep 29 to Oct 3, 20142014 Conference proceedings and memories

Keynote addressBridging Theory and Practice: The role of the educator in Work-Integrated Learning‘ by Professor David Thornton Moore, Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University.

Proceedings – download the full set of presentations or individual papers, showcases or roundtables.

Dinner and the photoboothview booth highlights.

2014 Conference in picturescollages and digital story by Kylie Twyford, University of Newcastle.

Looking to 2016 Conference – take a few moments to share your ideas and help guide us on the format and content of the 2016 conference.

Recent reports

Assessing the impact of WIL on student work-readiness – an OLT funded project
The overarching aim of this research was to provide an evidence base for judging the impact of WIL on graduates’ readiness to commence work and guide university leaders in best practice and curricula investment. Final report

Engaging employers in Work Integrated Learning- Current State and Future Priorities
Phillips KPA surveyed 4500 Australian businesses to examine the benefits, barriers and enablers to employers providing work integrated learning (WIL) opportunities for university students.  Download the report

Study to explore the potential for debriefing in Experience Based Learning

macquarie-university-logoThe Learning and Teaching Centre at Macquarie University is conducting a study to explore the potential for debriefing to promote learning flashpoints (moments of realisation) in Experience Based Learning (EBL). The goal of this research is to investigate approaches to debriefing in EBL and its role in facilitating flashpoints in learning, as well as identifying how academics can collaborate more effectively with host/workplace supervisors. A secondary aim of this research is to compare the effectiveness of phone vs. face-to-face interviewing.
How to become involved (PDF)

Further details and criteria (PDF)

Sonia Ferns at the launch of the new HERDSA Guide ‘Work Integrated Learning in the Curriculum’ – July 2014, Hong Kong HERDSA Conference

Sonia Ferns at the launch of the new HERDSA Guide – July 2014, Hong Kong HERDSA Conference

HERDSA Guide - Work Integrated Learning in the Curriculum, edited by Sonia FernsNew HERDSA Guide ‘Work Integrated Learning in the Curriculum’

Edited by Sonia Ferns (ACEN Board member)

This HERDSA Guide highlights the uniqueness of WIL and the opportunities and challenges it affords. The Guide provides insights into curriculum design, performance-based assessment, academic standards, risk management, institutional leadership, building staff capacity and evaluation strategies for WIL. The Guide offers a range of existing, new and emergent perspectives about WIL in a global context and provides useful information for practitioners and institutional leaders.

ACEN members will be able to purchase the Guide at the HERDSA member price (more details shortly).


Access, participation and progression in WILEnhance access, participation and progression in WIL

‘Building institutional capacity to enhance access, participation and progression in work integrated learning’ is an Office for Learning and Teaching project.

Successful WIL activities offer many benefits to students and can contribute to a sustainable workforce for future economic growth. Yet some students face barriers in gaining access to full engagement with such activities. The aim of this project is to translate inclusive education principles into the WIL context in order to improve student access, participation and progression. The project uses a strategic approach across four levels: principles, policies, guidelines, and processes to support students from diverse backgrounds in the disciplines of built environment, business and health.

More information and/or to make a contribution to the project

WIL-leadership-logoThe WIL Leadership Framework

The WIL Leadership Framework represents a multi-layered description of the capabilities employed by WIL leaders. These WIL capabilities have been integrated into five WIL leadership domains:

  • Shaping the WIL vision
  • Creating and sustaining WIL relationships
  • Fostering WIL engagement, expertise and student learning
  • Communicating and influencing WIL
  • Driving organisational and joint industry/university WIL outcomes

The Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Leadership Framework was an Office for Learning and Teaching project, Leading WIL: A distributed approach to enhance Work Integrated Learning.

The goal of the project was to develop:

  • a better understanding of the characteristics of WIL and WIL leadership needs in Australia framed within a context of distributed leadership;
  • strategies to build the capabilities and capacities that are needed by WIL leaders.

See the project website

ACEN signs Statement of Intent with industry groups and Universities  Australia

A new agreement between Universities Australia and business groups will improve the work-readiness of university graduates, expand their job opportunities as well as enhance outcomes for employers. The agreement, formally announced during an address by Universities Australia Chair Professor Sandra Harding at the National Press Club in Canberra  on February 26, comes as the Federal Government and G 20 Ministers commit to a new target for growing the global economy by an additional two per cent.

Signatories to the agreement are: Universities Australia, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group, and the Australian Collaborative Education Network Ltd.

WIL statement of intent (PDF)

Full media release from Universities Australia

ABC Radio

Address to the National Press Club, February 26, 2014 by Professor Sandra Harding, Chair, Universities Australia

work-based-learning-framework-EurWork Based Learning as Integrated Curriculum (Europe)

The Erasmus funded Work Based Learning as an Integrated Curriculum (WBLIC) project is coming to an end there are some  outputs which may be of interest:

  • An overview of work-based learning in Europe which highlights the need for a common framework to capture the essential characteristics of a range of forms of WBL to inform policy development, implementation and evaluation at the national and European levels
  • A  number of unique case studies from European partners in seven states describing the curriculum development cycle and reflecting WBLIC specific programmes across a range of disciplines, levels and duration
  • An evidence informed Framework for Good Practice designed to articulate a set of indicative principles and practice guidelines to raise awareness of WBL and inform the development of WBLIC in Higher Education

Resources including ‘A Framework for Good Practice’

Pre-Place Preparation Program resource

Pre-place-logoPre-Place is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary online program designed to provide workplace intelligence to tertiary students prior to an  industry placement. The program, produced by Flinders University,  covers university  policy requirements and procedures such as work health and safety; problem solving skills and professional attitudes and skills.


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