Successful work-integrated learning relationships: a framework for sustainability

Jenny Fleming*, Kathryn McLachlan, T. Judene Pretti

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    Work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences rely heavily on the development of relationships between the university, industry and often community organizations. As participation in WIL is increasing, the issue of sustainability becomes paramount, requiring processes and practices for effective collaborations and partnerships. This paper reports on an action research project to develop a framework to represent the critical success factors for sustainable WIL relationships. Drawing on reflections from WIL practitioners on what they considered were the critical success factors and a review of literature, a framework was developed, prioritizing three key themes: communication, commitment and compatibility. Within these themes, nine key factors were identified and then evaluated by academic and industry stakeholders in New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Trust, expectations, reciprocity, coordination, vision, learning, resources, reputation, and recognition were confirmed as important factors for sustainable WIL relationships. The framework provides good practice guidelines for all WIL stakeholders.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)321-335
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal of Work-Integrated Learning
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • work-integrated learning
    • sustainable relationships
    • partnerships
    • success factors
    • university-industry engagement


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