Integrating the workplace into a degree

Jessica Priess

Work Integrated Learning is increasing student employability.

Getting students job-ready is just one benefit of Flinders University’s Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program, where students get the opportunity to merge their degree knowledge with the practical aspects of being in the workplace.

Master of Environmental Management student Jessica Priess recently undertook a WIL placement at the South Australian government’s Department for Environment and Water (DEW).

She explains what she has gained personally and professionally from being part of the program.

‘At Flinders I first studied a Bachelor of Science majoring in Marine Biology and Aquaculture because of my interest in the ocean and my desire to work scientifically in the field. But over time I felt like I could make more of a positive impact on the marine environment by combining my previous knowledge with a Master of Environmental Management.

‘I wanted to do a placement with DEW because it aligned with my major project on coastal adaptation, which is also the area that I want my career to be focused on.

‘I spent 15 days working with the department – but spaced over a few months so that I could also fit in my studies. Over this time, I learnt a lot about how DEW works in relation to South Australia’s coastline, and the role it plays.

‘I was surprised to learn how many moving parts are involved with managing the coast, and the number of professional relationships that are involved between state and local levels.

‘It was great to be able to help the team work on assignments where I knew I had the ability to make a difference. For example, I assisted in a bid for funding from the Federal government towards coastal adaptation in South Australia.

‘Throughout the placement I was able to put my university knowledge into practice, especially the research aspects needed for developing the grant proposal.

‘DEW was the perfect place to get first-hand experience and it provided me with the opportunity for networking with professionals in that field.

‘For this I was tasked with researching various forms of literature for information based on the value of the South Australian coastline, economically, socially, environmentally and culturally – then complete an annotated bibliography for each piece of literature.

‘The networking opportunity was also amazing – I have met people in the field and worked directly with them to demonstrate my abilities.

‘This WIL opportunity has shown me the type of work involved in coastal management and confirmed my desire to work in this field – so that I can make a positive impact on creating a more sustainable South Australian coastline.’

Benefit from WIL at your organisation:
Work Integrated Learning includes clinical placements, internships, field education, vocational and professional practice, plus projects with industry and community organisations. If you would like to host a student for a WIL opportunity contact:  +61 8 8201 2978

2022 Encounter magazine – Read more

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2022 Encounter magazine

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