Work and study in construction education - practices of undergraduate students in Australia

The South African Association of Quantity Surveyors
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
International Cost Engineering Council: 8th ICEC World Congress, 2012, pp. 1 - 12
Issue Date:
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The aim of this paper is to determine the amount of time construction management students spend engaged in paid work and study during semester time. Past research has shown that working long hours has a negative effect on the study patterns of undergraduate students. Students responded to a questionnaire on the nature of their paid work while enrolled in full-time study in a sample of universities across Australia. The results showed that students are working on average 18 hours per week during semester time. The results indicate that students in their first two years tend to undertake casual work that is not related to their degree. However, this pattern changes in the later two years of the course, where students switch to roles in construction that do relate to their coursework. The students start working on average 15 hours in the first year of their degree, and the time spent rises to 23 hours in their fourth year. Past research suggests that students may be working to an extent beyond what is considered beneficial to their studies. The implications of the amount of time working and the type of work are discussed. The long-term impact of high levels of work and study on construction students are unknown. The paper concludes by suggesting that universities need a greater awareness of the impact of paid employment on engagement with their learning.
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