Document Type

Journal Article


Taylor & Francis (Routledge)


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Business


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in Higher Education on 9 January 2014 as: Jackson, D. (2013) Employability skill development in work-integrated learning: Barriers and best practice. Studies in Higher Education, pp 1-18. Available online here


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.