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9 Fantastic Benefits of Work Integrated Learning

9 Fantastic Benefits of Work Integrated Learning main image

Sponsored by Universidad Tecmilenio

In today’s world, university is about more than just earning a degree. It’s also about getting yourself prepared for the big world of employment awaiting you after graduation.

But how are you supposed to do that while juggling exams, essays, presentations, group projects, a part-time job, socializing and everything else that a student does?

One innovative solution is work integrated learning (WIL). Work integrated learning is a learning development program that’s specifically integrated into your degree curriculum and which counts towards your final qualification.

It’s gaining momentum in the world of higher education as universities collaborate and liaise with businesses to set up bespoke job roles specifically for students which enable them to gain invaluable workplace experience and apply what they’ve learnt in their studies to the job. 

At the Universidad Tecmilenio, for example, every degree program offers work integrated learning, and has so far been considered a real success. To find out more about work integrated learning and the benefits it brings, we spoke to four students from the Universidad Tecmilenio who have done just that.

The opportunity to work in a genuine business setting

Getting out of the lecture hall and into a genuine workplace environment is no doubt a refreshing change for a start.

Joselin Alejandra Eras Sánchez, who studies industrial engineering, is undertaking her work integrated learning within the pharmaceutical industry.

“The opportunity to work here is incredible. The environment and the company is seeking to grow people and professionals, so I’m pleased with the activities and assignments they’re giving me, no matter how big or little they are,” she said.

Work integrated learning ultimately exposes you to a diverse learning experience that can’t be formulated in the classroom alone, and therefore has a genuine positive impact on students. By strengthening the overall experience, work integrated learning enables students to understand how they can apply what they’ve learnt in their degree into a practical setting.

Develop your sense and awareness of workplace culture

You may have a good idea of what the workplace is like thanks to your part-time job as a waiter/waitress at your local café or restaurant, or as a retail assistant in a clothes store. But to have the opportunity to get really stuck in in a job, in an industry where you aspire to work after graduating, is something else. 

Luis Daniel Rojas López, an industrial engineering student told us how they think the work integrated learning experience has benefited them both personally and professionally.

“Having work experience while studying helped me to understand the concepts I've learned in the classroom and see them applied in real scenarios.

“It also helped me to become more responsible, understanding that every decision has a consequence.

“Another advantage is that it helped me understand why the teamwork that we practiced every day in class is important as it is relatable to the way organizations work.”

Enhance your soft skills and advance your theoretical knowledge

Working to learn is learning to work. Work integrated learning will allow you to gain a good grasp of basic work capabilities and a plethora of both soft and technical skills that you wouldn’t necessarily develop without working in a professional setting.

“It has been a very full filing experience for me,” said Andrea Alejandra Ponce de León Barba who studies marketing.

“This semester in particular has given me the opportunity to learn on the go by putting into practice everything I've learned at school.

“It's a fun way to learn, and the fact that a company supports and mentors you on your way to entering the world of work is unique. The knowledge we get from this kind of learning is something no book can give us.”

It can help you manage your future career aspirations and decisions

One huge benefit of work integrated learning is it can help you decide what future career path you may (or may not) want to pursue after you graduate.

“Being able to understand and work with professionals that have high standards and great visions make me think about the future, and reflect on who I am now and who I want to be in the next few years,” said Joselin.

Work integrated learning allows you to gain a real sense of appreciation of your area of work, as well as have the opportunity to explore new and exciting roles that you may not have once considered.

It can boost your employment prospects

Students who undertake work integrated learning are considered to be more desirables hires, thanks to their prior experience and connection with the industry.

You’ll be able to build a flourishing network of contacts

Establishing industry network connections is an essential part of work. From colleagues to clients, you’ll meet a wide range of individuals from all walks of life, and so being able to diversify your social circle will benefit you in more ways than you may initially realize.

Andrea told us one of the favorite aspects of her work integrated learning experience was getting to know her colleagues and fellow interns: “The networking was with a lot of different people with different insights about life. I've learned a lot from talking with people that sit close to me, or even from other interns.”

Increase your awareness of global challenges and industry issues

There’s no better way to learn about the world of work and industry than by jumping right into it.

“From the moment I started to realize how the industry works, it changed the way I learned at school,” said Rolando Herrera Morteo, who studies mechatronic engineering.

“It was easier for me to see the theory applied in the real world and I was able not only to complete and understand my activities but also to contribute with real situations.”

Broaden your perspectives

An invaluable benefit of work integrated learning is you’ll inevitably meet and work with a diverse set of people who all bring their own wealth of knowledge, experience and skills to the workplace. As you liaise and collaborate with your colleagues, you’ll find yourself open to discussion and learn to think differently about particular issues.

“On a professional level I’ve learned a lot about the importance of teamwork,” said Andrea.

“Our responsibilities complement each other and that's why knowing each other, having a good communication, respecting and supporting each other is extremely important.”

You can make a positive impact and offer solutions to real-life problems

Students are able to bring solutions to real problems within the business they are working in, so it’s not just the student who benefits.

“In school they taught me all the theory about how things have to be done, and now, I’m applying all that knowledge in real life in order to solve real problems and help make the industry grow,” said Joselin.

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Written by Stephanie Lukins
As the sponsored content writer for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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