Work Integrated Learning and the Case for a “Student-Industry Network” in Undergraduate Construction Management Programs

Perry Forsythe

Abstract


The term “work ready graduates” is commonly used by Universities to describe students who have been well prepared and who can seamlessly enter professional practice. It is an ideal that is simpler said than achieved in reality. Students in construction management often work and study concurrently but this is often undertaken in an ad hoc way that does not derive the benefits of the potential synergy between the two. The paper explores the need to create such synergy by operationalising Work Integrated Learning concepts and the issues and conditions involved in implementing at the study-work interface for construction management students. The extant literature is used to build the case and identify relevant issues that need to be addressed in the context of contemporary higher education thinking. Research findings are presented from the perspective of the university sector, the student and the industry. Based on findings and insights from these stakeholders, the paper proposes a means of enabling Work Integrated Learning via a structured student-industry network. The brief for such a network is introduced with a view to real world application.

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