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Professional development needs of the international work-integrated learning community

Many governments are expecting higher education institutions to make strong links between the educational offerings and employability while many employers are demanding graduates with prior workplace or community engagement before entering the workplace. As higher education institutions respond to these challenges, work-integrated learning (WIL) is increasingly seen as a powerful educational approach in developing and empowering work-ready graduates, with many institutions expanding their WIL offerings. With the expansion of WIL, however, comes the need for more staffing to resource the activity. The type of staff vary from practitioners (placement coordinators, field practitioners), teaching staff, researchers, and curricular designers, all of whom require a relevant skills set and knowledge. However, to date, professional development opportunities directly related to WIL have been limited, with most opportunities offered by some national associations providing webinars and workshops. Furthermore, little work has been undertaken to determine the actual professional development needs of WIL staff. Presented here are the findings of an online, international survey of 668 WIL practitioners which explores their perceived professional development needs.