Engineering work integrated learning placements: the influence of capitals on students’ access

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 2019, 41 (5), pp. 534 - 549
Issue Date:
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© 2019, © 2019 Association for Tertiary Education Management and the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Education Leadership and Management. Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is embraced in Australian higher education (HE) and is a feature of most Australian HE ‘entry to profession’ engineering education programs accredited by Engineers Australia. Accreditation guidelines articulate the need for curriculum-integrated engagement with professional practice (EPP) and encourage EPP in a separate workplace environment, e.g. WIL. This article reports on the analysis of semi-structured interviews with staff and student engineers from four Australian HE institutions with mandatory engineering WIL. Framed by a Bourdieusian theoretical perspective, the influence of capitals on student access to engineering WIL placements was investigated. The research found that students’ capitals influenced access to engineering WIL placements. Policy and educational practice recommendations are made.
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