Effect of undergraduate student age on work-integrated learning preparation and experience
Work-integrated learning (WIL) is a strategy to create effective talent pools and meet business needs for competent and work-ready graduates. There are limited empirical studies on how WIL student demographic profiles (i.e., age) may affect the effectiveness of WIL projects and learning experience. Guided by the research question: Does undergraduate student age affect WIL preparation and experience? A survey was conducted through a quantitative approach among final year undergraduate students who participated in the WIL programme. Sixty-six copies of the questionnaire were distributed, forty retrieved and consider valid for further analysis. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Findings show that age could be an important factor in a student's WIL experience. Students in the age group of 21 years may have better WIL experiences than younger or older WIL students. Although age is not considered a major factor in determining overall WIL experiences, student demographical information is important for successful WIL projects. Findings further show that WIL preparation is an important factor towards better WIL project outcomes and enhanced student experiences. This paper adds to the body of knowledge on WIL student demographic considerations and creates awareness that student demographics must be considered if WIL projects are to be successful.
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