Work-integrated learning popular with Ontario PSE students

April 3, 2013

Work-integrated learning (WIL) options such as co-ops, internships, and field placements are popular with Ontario PSE students, with 68% of college students and 48% of university students surveyed graduating with some form of WIL experience. The study, conducted by Academica Group for HEQCO, is based on findings from a survey of more than 10,300 graduating students at 13 Ontario PSE institutions, and was conducted as part of a multi-year project. The research found that WIL is accessible to diverse groups of students, although first-generation students were less likely to participate in WIL programs. Not being paid was the top challenge for both college and university WIL students, and financial challenges were greater for college students than for university students. The study found that WIL had a greater impact than paid employment on helping students understand career interests, influencing their career goals, and increasing their confidence about future job prospects. The report recommends further research to understand the barriers to WIL participation of first-generation students and to evaluate the effectiveness of wage subsidies that would enable more employers to compensate WIL students. Research Summary | Full Report