Avoiding the Trap of Exploitative Work: A National Approach to Making Work-Integrated Learning Effective, Equitable and Safe
(2018) 31 Australian Journal of Labour Law
Posted: 1 Feb 2019
Date Written: 2018
As the transition from education to employment becomes increasingly challenging, mechanisms to increase employability, including work-integrated learning (WIL), become more popular. As tertiary WIL curricula multiply, and increasing numbers of students undertake WIL, it is important to ensure the risks and difficulties associated with these experiences are understood and managed. This article considers equity of access to WIL, protection of participants and quality of educational outcomes. These issues are central to ensuring WIL is a valid educational opportunity, not mere exploitation. The national regulatory quality assurance mechanisms and extension of workplace laws to WIL will be considered, and the impact of regulation on WIL will be critically examined through case studies of different curricula. This analysis supports a call for changes to the national educational and employment regulations that affect WIL, as well as increased transparency of intra-university quality assurance processes. It is argued this will help protect students engaged in WIL, encourage institutions to maximise the efficacy and equity of WIL, and ensure that workplace standards are not unreasonably undermined.
Keywords: Exploitative Work, Work-integrated learning, WIL
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation