Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) is an essential tool in workforce development around the world. Participating in WIL has been shown to be associated with higher grades, students being better prepared for career success, better informed about their chosen careers, and improved self-efficacy and adaptability. Existing literature shows that high-quality WIL experiences contribute positively to students’ studies, work, and lives. WIL seems to provide all participating students with information about their proposed careers, allowing them to make more informed decisions about whether a target job is the right one for them. However, studies that investigate the experiences of students from equity-deserving groups note that if WIL does not follow best practices for equity, accessibility, inclusion, and anti-racism, this can contribute to a sense of not belonging to their chosen profession or industry. But executed well, WIL can help all students develop work readiness in core skill sets and career planning.
This study evaluates Canada’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) through four surveys, including a survey of SWPP students and SWPP employers, as well as “control” surveys of students and employers who have (a) participated in a form of WIL other than the SWPP or (b) not participated in WIL at all.