Are students acquiring the skills, competencies and work experience that align with industry needs and work-integrated learning course design?
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Citation:Hebblethwaite, D. E. (2016, April). Are Students Acquiring the Skills, Competencies and Work Experience that Align with Industry Needs and Work-Integrated Learning Course Design?. K. E. Zegwaard & K. Hoskyn (Ed.), "Advocacy, Collaboration, Engagement". The 19th New Zealand Association for Cooperative Education (NZACE), Takapuna, New Zealand (pp.19-22).
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/3822
According to Coll et al. (2009) “A key purpose of work‐integrated learning (WIL) is the notion of providing graduates with a comprehensive skill set desired by potential employers” (p. 15). The notion of providing a comprehensive set of skills and competencies that align with current employers’ desires can, however, be a constant challenge (Burchell, Hodges, & Rainsbury, 2000; Hodges & Burchell, 2003). WIL course designers need to not only remain up to date with key skills and attributes demanded by employers, but also need to monitor whether or not students are learning these skill sets to the satisfaction of the employers. It is hoped that by exploring students perceptions of their workplace experience through their end of placement reflections, this paper will contribute to the gap in the research in terms of what WIL students learn (Eames & Bell, 2005) and examine whether or not there is alignment between course design skill delivery and employer demands. PROGRAM The Bachelor of Business degree at Unitec involves a compulsory 30 credit Industry Based Learning (IBL) course at Level 7. In their final semester, students from five discipline areas namely; Accountancy, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, and Operations complete a project and work tasks in industry for a period of 220 hours under the supervision of both an industry and academic supervisor. Currently, approximately 200 business students are enrolled in the IBL course annually. Students are assessed across a number of areas via a self-assessed ePortfolio of learning that evidences their work achievements and reflections of their work experience. This discussion on work-readiness and course alignment considers students across all five discipline areas of business as mentioned above.