Finally – Universities and Government see need for internships

The Big Picture approach we use for our PreCAL class is centred on the real world learning of internships. Students who start with shadow days and progress to an LTI (Learning through Internship) begin to see the relevance of their learning and it fosters student engagement.

Now Universities Australia and the federal government are in talks about an introduction of more internships.

See The Age – Desperately seeking a new set of skills.

In speaking about internships…“Universities consistently reported that they improved student learning, engagement and retention.”

I have been saying to many people I meet about the value of internships and how little I gained at Uni with regard to learning how to teach. I think 60-75% of the time at university should be internships in schools and working alongside teachers.

Internships give students work readiness skills.

Only 10 per cent of employers are highly satisfied with the work-readiness skills of graduates — problem-solving, self-management, teamwork — according to a recent survey of 500 chief executives by the Australian Industry Group and Deloitte. More than half were dissatisfied with the relevant work experience of graduates.

Students are also unhappy about the paucity of internships. The difficulty of getting work experience in areas linked to their studies is their biggest gripe about university life, according to federal government research.

In the article above though there seems to be a sticking point and that is of funding and organisation. Apparently it is a costly exercise and to roll out such a program for all students is fraught with problems. Why not down-size universities and make the departments more personalised rather than the factory approach where each student is just a commodity.

This reinforces that we are on the right track.

Small and personalised with each internship matched to the interest of the student.

So it will be more of the same – going outside the classroom to experience firsthand the relevance of their learning.

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