CEWIL Webinar Research Series Part 1

October 8, 2020, 1:00 - 2:00 PM

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Join us for the first in our Research Webinar Series. See below for details.

 

Welcome - Advancing WIL Research

Ashley Stirling, University of Toronto

 

Validation of a Talent Framework for Work-Integrated Learning Students 

Dana Church, University of Waterloo

David Drewery, University of Waterloo

Judene Pretti, University of Waterloo

 

What talents will be most important for students to succeed in the future workplace? We reviewed the peer-reviewed literature, grey literature, and consulted work-integrated learning experts to construct a framework that would guide students, WIL practitioners, and employers in preparing students for what has been termed “Industry 4.0”: a labour market disrupted by artificial intelligence, automation, technology, and the “gig economy.” From our analysis we identified 12 key talents that could be categorized into three main groups. We then derived 49 behaviours that represent these 12 talents. To validate our framework, we surveyed over 1,000 employers who, in the past 12 months, had supervised a student in a co-operative education program. With a particular co-op student in mind, we asked survey participants to assess that student on their “work readiness” in terms of the 49 items that were derived from our talent framework. “Work readiness” refers to the degree to which someone is ready for an entry level role typical of a university graduate, and it was rated using a 5-point Likert scale. Survey participants were also asked to rate the student in terms of their overall performance during their co-op work term as well as the return-on-investment they felt they received in hiring the student. We found that six actions or “talents” seem most important for student success in the workplace: develop relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities; ask questions; manage own deadlines; do the work; cope with challenges; and manage emotions.

 

Examining the “Work” in Work-Integrated Learning

Judene Pretti, University of Waterloo

Sustainable work-integrated learning partnerships are based on the existence of reciprocity. That is, employers will continue to participate in WIL programs if what they are gaining through their involvement outweighs the challenges or costs associated with their participation. The same could be argued for students participating in WIL programs. That is, in the case of optional programs, students will choose to participate in WIL if they feel that what they are gaining through the WIL experiences is worth whatever costs are associated (e.g. time and effort). The question, however, is how can the co-op experience be designed to enable both students and employers to benefit? Through a case study approach, involving interviews and surveys with students and workers within one organization, this research examined the ways in which students were helpful and not so helpful to their co-workers and supervisors, and on the flip side, the ways that supervisors and co-workers were helpful and not so helpful to the students. Based on a social exchange theory, the results of this research revealed a model for a co-op role which, for one organization, enabled them to maximize benefits for the organization and the students and minimize costs for the organization.