Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Vocational Education & Training


Taylor & Francis


School of Business and Law / Centre for Innovative Practice




This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in JOURNAL OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION & TRAINING on 23/04/2021, available online:

Rowe, A. D., Jackson, D., & Fleming, J. (2021). Exploring university student engagement and sense of belonging during work-integrated learning. Journal of Vocational Education & Training. Advance online publication.


Work-integrated learning (WIL) is recognised as a valuable pedagogical strategy for developing graduate employability, increasing employment prospects and contributing to a range of other learning outcomes. The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine the degree to which WIL students in higher education, felt they fully engaged in workplace activities and experienced a sense of belonging to their workplace environment. Further aims were to identify factors that facilitated and inhibited their engagement and belonging. Data were collected using an online survey of 151 students undertaking WIL as part of a university degree, in the contexts of business, sociology and sport, in one New Zealand and two Australian universities. Students generally felt they engaged effectively in the WIL placement environment and experienced a sense of belonging by their workplace colleagues. Qualitative responses provided insights into what facilitated and enabled engagement, with confidence identified as a key facilitator and inhibitor. Belonging was associated more with relationships and the workplace environment. When preparing university students and workplace supervisors for WIL, it is important to be aware of (and address) factors, such as confidence, that facilitate engagement and belonging in order to create opportunities that fully immerse students in the workplace community.



Research Themes

Society and Culture

Priority Areas

Diverse, equitable, informed and productive communities, schools and workplaces

Available for download on Sunday, October 23, 2022