FAQs - Work Integrated Learning

What is Work Integrated Learning?

Work-integrated learning (WIL) is a form of experiential learning which integrates a student’s academic studies with hands-on work-setting experience. WIL placements or projects include three stakeholders: the student, the academic institution, and an employer. 

Applied research projects take place within the work environment and involve students participating in research activities focused on innovation and project advancement.

Apprenticeships are skill focused learning opportunities that take place in a work-setting. Apprenticeships require both workplace experience and technical training components. 

Co-operative education combines classroom based education with workplace experience and involve students alternating between learning environments.

Field placements allow students to gain hands on workplace experience and apply the knowledge they acquired in class to a work setting that is focused on their area of interest.

Entrepreneurship WIL opportunities allow students to gain hands on learning experiences in a start-up or early stage business environment.

Internships are supervised WIL opportunities that provide a student with discipline-specific workstructured experience.  

Service Learning opportunities allow the student to apply the skills and knowledge acquired in their field of study to a community project or setting. Service learning provides meaningful work to the student and contributes to the overall health of the community. 

Work Experience WIL opportunities typically provide students with an opportunity to work for an organization to gain experience within a particular work setting. 

What are the benefits of participating in WIL?

Participating in a WIL program or project has many benefits for students. Benefits include but are not limited to: 

  • Helping students determine if they have chosen the right career path 
  • Empower students and provide them with an opportunity to build confidence in a professional setting 
  • Building upon and strengthening a student’s skill set and knowledge base required for the job or career they desire 
  • Allowing students to build a professional network of employers and mentors who can help further their career opportunities post-graduation 

Participating in a WIL program or project has many benefits for educators. Benefits include but are not limited to: 

  • Increasing graduate employability and overall success rates by providing links and networks of employers who are prepared to hire students from the WIL program 
  • Providing a learning opportunity to educators through student program feedback and completion reviews, allowing the educator to improve program offerings year over year 
  • Providing access to a network of employers and industry leaders who can help improve curriculum and program delivery, keeping institution offerings relevant and competitive 

Participating in a WIL program or project has many benefits for employers. Benefits include but are not limited to: 

  • Providing an opportunity for employers to give back to the community by working with educators on program innovation, improvement, and participation 
  • Providing an opportunity for employers to access new thinking and perspectives from students with a fresh mindset and eagerness to share 
  • Providing an opportunity for employers to become industry leaders and improve their corporate image while building on their corporate responsibility objectives 

See below for more information on employer benefits. 

Tax credits are available from some provinces and territories to employers who participate in WIL programs. You can find more information about available tax credits here: 

Ontario: Obtain the form from the Ministry of Finance (Government of Ontario) 

Quebec: Obtain the form from the “Ministère du Revenu (Gouvernement du Québec

Financial support is available from some provinces and territories to employers who participate in WIL programs. You can find more information about available financial support here: 

Student Work Placement Program 

Nation Research Council through its IRAP program 

Natural sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada 

NGO Subsidies Project (Faculty of Social Sciences) 

Green Spaces – United Nations Association of Canada 

Reduced recruitment costs are just one of the many benefits of participating in a WIL program. Participating employers are matched with motivated and eligible students who already possess the desired knowledge base and skill set. Once the WIL program is complete, often students will transition to full time employment, thus reducing turnover as well the amount of time and effort typically required to recruit qualified employees. 

When students are successful in their WIL placements, it is common for the student to transition to hired team memberHaving the opportunity to work with an individual from the very beginning of their experience within the organization ensures proper fit, overall job satisfaction and therefore, higher retention rates. Students who have had the opportunity to grow from the beginning and benefit from being mentored often choose to stay with the organization and continue to grow their career. 

The Government of Canada has introduced standards that helps organizations create diverse and inclusive workplaces for all Canadians. As such, organizations across the country have now shifted their recruitment and hiring practices to ensure equitable workplaces exist across Canada. WIL programs provide an opportunity for organizations to partner with external organizations to attract a diverse spectrum of talent, such as the Skills Council of Canada.  

When participating in a WIL program in partnership with the Skills Council of Canada, organizations receive access to tools and a fully supported platform that makes participation easy and efficient. Employers can access a library of reports, management tools and resources to support their projects and students in their WIL placements. 

What are my roles and responsibilities?

As an employer participating in a WIL program you can expect to: 

  • Work with the Skills Council of Canada to create WIL placement postings 
  • Meet with student(s) to discuss the placement as well as learning objectives and goals 
  • Onboard, meet, and mentor the student(s) during their placement to ensure program success 
  • Submit a final evaluation of the student’s placement and provide feedback to the student and educator for program improvement if required 

As an educator participating in a WIL program you can expect to: 

  • Work with the Skills Council of Canada to create WIL placement postings  
  • Meet with student(s) to discuss the placement as well as learning objectives and goals 
  • Answering student and employer questions as they set up and move through the WIL program 
  • Review the final evaluation of the student’s placement and provide feedback to employer for program improvement if required 

As a student participating in a WIL program you can expect to: 

  • Work with the educator to discuss placement opportunities, objectives and goals 
  • Work with the employer to discuss placement objectives and goals 
  • Complete the WIL program objectives and goals 
  • Continually meet and seek out feedback from the employer to ensure personal success and growth 
  • Complete a final WIL program evaluation to be shared with the employer and educator 

Partners and WIL program participants working with the Skills Council of Canada can expect: 

  • Platform registration and onboarding support 
  • Platform set up and access for students, educators and employers 
  • WIL program student-employer match facilitation 
  • WIL program/platform management and assistance as required 

Need help with your WIL posting?

As part of our Managed Service, the Skills Council of Canada will help you keep track of important dates and deadlines such as: 

  • Application dates 
  • Applicant review and interview dates 
  • Important deadlines 
  • Important announcements 

All dates and announcements will be accessible through the Skills Council of Canada platform. 

Every employer and WIL project will have different sets of criteria for participation. As part of our Managed Service, the Skills Council of Canada will help to ensure your organization can meet the criteria to participate in WIL program opportunities. 

The application process to participate in WIL programs. As part of our Managed Service, the Skills Council of Canada will provide tips, tools and support to complete the WIL program application process. 

The Skills Council of Canada is with you every step of the way as you move through the WIL program set up and execution. Our team is here to support the interview and hiring process as needed. 

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