What is Work-Integrated Learning, and Why is it Important?

Work-integrated learning has become vital in enhancing students’ skills and getting them ready for professional work settings — all while studying.

This process benefits students and employers since they are provided with work-ready employees who can drive results early on.

REGENT Business School offers excellent work-integrated learning programmes in different industries, from business and law to computer science.

This article will explain what integrated learning is and how it benefits students and employers in today’s fast-paced business environment.

What is work-integrated learning?

Work-integrated learning (WIL) or work-readiness training is the process of placing a student into a work environment — either paid or unpaid — that integrates the knowledge and skills they have acquired through their studies with workplace practices. 

In doing so, students are exposed to real-life situations and problems that businesses deal with daily. They’re able to practice their future profession before graduation. 

The main goal of work-integrated learning is to enhance the probability of employment, as it increases students’ “work-readiness” or employability

WIL has become the norm in several disciplines, including medicine, business, engineering, and teaching education. It has also become more common in the computer science field.   

Benefits of work-integrated learning

Here is a list of the most notable benefits of integrated teaching and learning that students and businesses can expect. 

1. Broaden perspectives

Work-integrated learning broadens students’ perspectives as they get to meet and work with people who all bring their skills, wealth of knowledge, and experience to the workplace. 

They will learn to think differently about specific approaches as they collaborate with these colleagues. They’ll understand the importance of teamwork and communication and how to use their skills to complement one another. 

Furthermore, it’ll give them real-world experience working with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. 

2. Increase awareness of global challenges

There is no better way to learn about the business world, including local and global business environments and challenges, than being in the middle of it.

By jumping right into the work environment and discovering how everything works together, students will better understand how theory can be applied in real-life scenarios. 

This will enhance their learning capabilities since their practical experience will help them better understand all future theories they learn.
It is a win-win. 

3. Enhance soft skills 

In many ways, working to learn is like learning to work. Work-integrated learning will teach students how to apply their knowledge in real life — providing them with various soft skills and transferable skills that will aid them in all future endeavours. 

Soft skills refer to character traits that a person develops, which aid them in their professional relationships with colleagues, managers, clients, and more — E.g. Friendliness, empathy, confidence, enthusiasm, etc. 

According to studies by Harvard University and the Stanford Research Center, 85% of job success comes from soft skills. 

On the other hand, transferable skills can be used in various occupations and professional settings. These skills are highly beneficial if students plan on changing roles or careers. E.g. Teamwork, listening, leadership, analytical reasoning, and more.  

In many cases, these are skills that they would not have been able to acquire without working in a professional setting. 

4. Guide future career aspirations

Since a single qualification often offers a range of different career opportunities students can pursue, this can lead to the student not knowing which path they want to take. 

Work-integrated learning can help them choose which career path they enjoy most — so they can pursue it right from the start. 

This is great since students will have the chance to start their dream careers early on and will be able to become an expert in that field a lot quicker.  

5. Boost employment prospects

Work-integrated learning can help students gain more employment opportunities since they have experience working in a professional business setting. 

Prospective employers will see them as the better choice since they will not have to spend as much money and time training them as they would a graduate who has no working experience. 

This makes them stand out from the crowd of candidates. 

6. Build a flourishing network

Establishing industry network connections early on will benefit students in the future. 

Students will meet many new people working while studying — from colleagues and clients to managers. All these individuals could help the students gain better career opportunities, exclusive invites to industry events, and more.  

Work-integrated learning will help students establish these connections — setting them up for future success within the industry. 

7. Make a positive impact

Work-integrated learning will expose students to real-life problems within their field of study. Thus, students will have the opportunity to come up with creative solutions to these problems alongside their colleagues. 

In many ways, this will benefit their current employer — making them an invaluable part of the team. 

As a result, they will have the opportunity to positively impact their current employer, their clients, and sometimes even the industry as a whole.

Work-integrated learning with REGENT

REGENT Business School offers work-integrated learning programmes to help students succeed in their chosen fields after graduation. 

Have a look at our range of different programmes, including a Bachelor of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Commerce in Law, a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, and more.


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