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Work-integrated learning builds student identification of employability skills: Utilizing a food literacy education strategy

Work-integrated learning (WIL) is widely considered instrumental in equipping new graduates with the required employability skills to function effectively in the work environment. Evaluation of WIL programs in enhancing skill development remains predominantly outcomes-focused with little attention to the process of what, how and from whom students acquire essential skills during work placement. This paper investigates best practice in the classroom and placement activities which develop employability skills and identifies factors impeding skill performance during WIL, based on survey data from 131 undergraduates across different disciplines in an Australian university. What students actually experienced during placement, or what they felt was important to their learning, broadly aligns with best practice principles for WIL programs and problems experienced in performing certain skills during placement can be largely attributed to poor design. Implications for academic and professional practitioners are discussed.