Title

Enhancing graduates’ enterprise capabilities through work-integrated learning in co-working spaces

Author Identifier

Denise Jackson

ORCID : 0000-0002-7821-3394

Stephanie Meek

ORCID : 0000-0003-0427-3316

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Higher Education

Volume

84

First Page

101

Last Page

120

Publisher

Springer

School

School of Business and Law

RAS ID

36949

Funders

Spacecubed under Grant Agreement Number G1004419

Comments

Jackson, D., Shan, H., & Meek, S. (2022). Enhancing graduates’ enterprise capabilities through work-integrated learning in co-working spaces. Higher Education, 84, 101-120.

https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-021-00756-x

Abstract

Complex and rapidly evolving work contexts augment industry calls for future-capable graduates that can demonstrate enterprise capabilities such as critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and value creation. Gaps between employers’ expectations and evaluations of higher education (HE) graduates’ enterprise capabilities continue to drive university curriculum renewal. There is a particular focus on work-integrated learning (WIL), a spectrum of industry-student engagement activities which provide valuable opportunities for developing and applying skills and knowledge, including enterprise capabilities. Despite small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) offering fertile ground for enterprise learning, challenges limit their engagement in workplace-based WIL (internships/placements) due to resource and supervisory constraints. This study explores how co-working spaces may support SME engagement in WIL to develop enterprise capabilities, better preparing HE students for future work. It piloted two rounds of business student internships in the largest co-working space in Western Australia, surveying and interviewing both students and workplace supervisors to gauge development and understand enablers and challenges during WIL. Findings affirmed the synergistic value of SMEs and co-working spaces for fostering students’ enterprise capabilities, particularly communication and critical thinking skills, innovative behaviour, and building confidence. While some of the challenges which impact on SMEs engagement and outcomes in WIL remained, the co-working environment offered unique exposure to entrepreneurial mindsets and rich opportunities for collaboration, networking, and formal training. This study offers important insights on WIL design that increases participation among SMEs, a targeted objective of Australia’s national WIL strategy, and leverages co-working space environments to produce future-capable graduates.

DOI

10.1007/s10734-021-00756-x

Access Rights

free_to_read

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