In September, ACE-WIL BC/Yukon partnered with the BC Chamber of Commerce on a survey through the Chamber’s BC MindReader™ platform, which gathers opinions and insight from businesses across BC. The goal of the research was to understand employer perspectives regarding work-integrated learning (WIL), including their awareness of the different types of WIL, the benefits and challenges when engaging a WIL student, and what supports they’re looking for.

Check out our infographic below for the results at a glance.

One of the more striking results was regarding the motivations employers had in engaging with WIL students. At the top of the list, about 71% of respondents indicated that “contributing to a stronger future workforce and economy” was an important or extremely important benefit of working with a post-secondary student. This altruistic perspective topped the more direct benefits of improving the business’s talent pipeline (65%) or filling gaps in staffing (64%).

For those who had not engaged a WIL student, the top reason was that their “needs don’t align with the timing/availability of students”, with about 36% of respondents identifying this as a barrier. For example, some tourism businesses would like to keep their WIL students onboard through the summer and into September, but this conflicts with the start of the fall term. This raises the question, are there ways for PSIs to introduce more flexibility with their WIL offerings to better align with business needs?

Not surprisingly, many of the employers surveyed indicated that “information about any funding/grants to offset the cost of paying a student” is the top resource they’d like help with, with 85% indicating it is extremely important or important. Other resources of interest are: specific examples of WIL types and how they might work in an organization (61%) and a centralized website with resources (60%).

These survey results will help inform resources under development for the ACE-WIL/BC Chamber COWIL project, and as part of the BC WIL Communications project.

To review the full report in more detail, click here.