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Chief investigator: Dr Jacqueline Mackaway
Equitable student access to work-integrated learning (WIL) placements: “Stories of Success”
The study  seeks the perspectives of students, employers and university staff who  have experience with WIL, specifically in relation to the  organisational, practice-based and personal factors that enable  equitable student access to placements.
The following people are invited to participate:   a)       students who have completed a WIL placement in the past 3 years  b)      employees or workplace supervisors who are currently involved in the coordination and/or supervision of WIL students at their organisation or have been involved in this type of activity in past 3 years  c)       academics or professional staff members from tertiary institutions who are currently involved in the placement and/or supervision of WIL students or have been involved in this work in the past 3 years.
WIL plays an important role in the preparation of work and world ready graduates. Students gain personal, academic and career benefits from their involvement in WIL, while employers, the economy and society more broadly also benefit from graduates who are well-prepared to engage in work and civic life. The success of WIL for all these stakeholders however, relies on students having access to quality placements with organisations. For the past decade, it has been acknowledged that not all students have equitable access to WIL, with some struggling to find a placement. Failing to make WIL available to all students comes with social and economic risks for diverse learners, employers, universities, government and society.  This study is designed to explore factors that help support and enable equitable student access to placements to ensure the full benefits of WIL can be shared and maximised.
Information gathered will be used to inform ‘Stories of Success’, namely a set of resources that showcase the inclusive conditions, models and practices that support and widen student access to WIL. These resources will be disseminated via the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) website. Findings from the study will also be presented at the ACEN conference in October 2021 and published in the International Journal of Cooperative Education.
If you decide to complete the attached ‘Story Template’ survey it will take approximately 20 minutes of your time. At the end of the survey you are invited to contact the lead researcher if you are interested in participating in a semi-structured interview at a time and place convenient to you. This interview will seek to gain a deeper understanding of the range of factors that help successful access to WIL placements for diverse learners. The aim is to use information gathered via the surveys and/or interviews to develop resources that promote inclusive approaches to WIL.  Furthermore, the study aims to convert some of the stories gathered into digital resources such as a podcast or short video. This option will be discussed with participants who are interviewed to gauge their interest and explore options.
Data gathered by the survey will be anonymous and no participant identity will be revealed, however if you decide to be interviewed you will be given the option to be identified in your “Story of Success” or to remain anonymous.
Participation in the study is entirely voluntary: you are not obliged to participate and if you decide to participate you can withdraw at any time without having to give a reason and without consequence. Formal consent will again be sought if you choose to be interviewed. Only the lead researcher will have access to the data.
Your  completion of this survey assumes you have read the above information  (or, where appropriate, have had read to you), understand the  information and agree to participate in the survey.


This study is being conducted by Dr Jacqueline Mackaway from the School of Social Science at Macquarie University. If you have any queries Jacqueline can be contacted by email on or by phone 02 9850 8027.
The ethical aspects of this study have been approved by the Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref #52019588710373). .  If you have any complaints or reservations about any ethical aspect of your participation in this research, you may contact the Committee through the Director, Research Ethics & Integrity (telephone (02) 9850 7854; email  Any complaint you make will be treated in confidence and investigated, and you will be informed of the outcome.
This study is supported with funding from the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN).


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