Work-integrated Learning

Almost half of Ontario’s postsecondary students take part in a co-op, internship, field placement or some other form of experiential learning by the time they graduate. The Ontario Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel has recommended that all postsecondary students have at least one work-integrated learning opportunity before they complete their studies to better prepare them for the demands of today’s changing workforce and ensure their labour market success.

Are institutions ready for the challenge? And will students have access to meaningful experiential learning opportunities? HEQCO’s research work in this area has produced reports shedding light on the views of facultyemployers and students about work-integrated learning; a survey exploring the employment outcomes of graduates with work-integrated learning experience; a typology of what work-integrated learning encompasses that has been adopted by the Ontario government; a handbook for practitioners; and a report on the legal implications of providing experiential learning opportunities for employers and institutions. ​

HEQCO will continue to work with Ontario colleges and universities to identify the barriers and challenges students face in accessing work-integrated learning opportunities, find ways of ensuring that all students have access to meaningful work-integrated learning experiences, and determine whether these efforts are resulting in the desired workplace skills.

HEQCO’s key WIL reports

Maximizing Opportunity, Mitigating Risk: Aligning Law, Policy and Practice to Strengthen Work-integrated Learning in Ontario

Legal confusion presents challenges for expanding work-integrated learning opportunities As experiential education and work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities expand across Ontario and the rest of Canada, a new paper by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) cautions that a lack of clarity on a number of WIL legal issues is becoming increasingly challenging for […]

A Practical Guide for Work-integrated Learning: Effective Practices to Enhance the Educational Quality of Structured Work Experiences Offered through Colleges and Universities

New guide helps practitioners enhance the quality of work-integrated learning opportunities Work-integrated learning (WIL) is becoming increasingly popular in higher education; almost half of Ontario’s postsecondary education students will take part in some form of co-op, placement or internship by the time they graduate. A new guide from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario […]

Work-Integrated Learning in Ontario’s Postsecondary Sector

Research Summary  Postsecondary work/learn programs align student skills with changing labour market Whether it is co-operative education, apprenticeships, service-learning placements or internships, work-integrated learning (WIL) can help Ontario colleges and universities respond to rapid change in the Ontario labour market. A recent Ipsos Reid survey found that almost a quarter of Ontarians with some postsecondary […]

Barriers to Work-integrated Learning Opportunities

High demand exists for WIL programs, but barriers still keep certain students out Although much has been done to increase access to work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences in postsecondary education, there are still many opportunities to make WIL programs more accessible to students, argues a new report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). […]

Work-Integrated Learning in Ontario’s Postsecondary Sector The Experience of Ontario Graduates

Research Summary: Student survey says postsecondary co-op, internships improve employability skills Internships, field placements, co-op and other forms of postsecondary work-integrated learning (WIL) help Ontario college and university students gain practical work experience, enhance their résumés, improve employability skills and determine their fit with a potential career, according to a new study from the Higher […]

Work Integrated Learning in Ontario’s Postsecondary Sector The Pathways of Recent College and University Graduates

Work-integrated learning benefits students’ careers – but some benefit more than others Internships, field placements, co-op and other forms of postsecondary work-integrated learning (WIL) help college and university students clarify their career interests and get jobs relevant to their education and career ambitions, according to a new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of […]