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Career Centre

Explore our career-related and professional development resources, supports, and information

Work-Integrated Learning

Overview of WIL

"Work Integrated Learning is a form of curricular experiential education that formally integrates a student’s academic studies with quality experiences within a workplace or practice setting. WIL experiences include an engaged partnership of at least: an academic institution, a host organization, and a student. WIL can occur at the course or program level and includes the development of student learning objectives and outcomes related to: employability, personal agency, knowledge and skill mobility and life-long learning."

Source: What is Work-Integrated Learning (WIL)? (n.d.)CEWIL Canada.

WIL at NorQuest

Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) connects your academic experience to the real-world. Over 30 programs at NorQuest offer WIL opportunities from LINC to business to health. Students who complete WIL gain relevant experience, build their knowledge, develop their network, and launch their careers.

Connect with to learn how to complete a WIL experience.

Best Practices for WIL

Students on a Work Experience:

  • Work with a Career Coach to prepare for an upcoming WIL experience, you will participate in one-on-one coaching sessions and skill development workshops
  • Keep an ongoing conversation with your Career Coach during your WIL experience (they are here to support on your journey!)
  • Connect and work with your WIL experience supervisor. WIL supervisors are the employers and community partners who host students for WIL experiences. Open communication allows for both you and your supervisor to understand the details of the placement, and responsibilities of your role.

Employers supporting students:

  • Prepare a work plan for the student, designating an individual to support, train and evaluate student performance
  • Communicate with the student and their Career Coach before, during, and after the WIL experience
  • Create a welcoming, friendly environment by orienting the student to their WIL experience
  • Offer regular feedback and opportunities to connect with the student on a regular basis
  • See the 'Employer and Community Partner Tool Kit' on CEWIL Canada's website for advice on mentorship and hosting a student.

WIL-related Glossary:
  • Community Service Learning - promotes activities designed for equal benefit to the student and the community with a focus on learning through critical reflection to develop skills 

  • Co-op - typically full-time, paid positions that allow the student to gain career relevant experience

  • Field Placement - involves hands-on practical experience in a short-term period, often a few weeks

  • Informational Interviews – a short (1 hour to ½ day) opportunity for students to connect with a professional to network and learn more about a specific job or industry, helping them to make decisions about their future career path 

  • Job Shadow – a one- or two-day opportunity for students to shadow a professional in their field of interest, often includes informational interviews and participation in daily tasks 

  • Networking – connections to employers and industry, online or face-to-face

  • Practicum - typically an unpaid work experience where the student is working under the supervision of a experienced or licensed professional

  • Work Experience - occurs during an academic program, providing the student with hands-on work experience related to their career or study goals

International Students - Co-op Work Permits

"Many NorQuest College programs have a mandatory work-integrated learning or a community service learning component. If you are in one of these programs, you will be going on a practicum, co-op, or other work placement during your studies.

International students are required to get a co-op work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) before beginning the work-integrated learning or community service learning component of their program."

Students are able to find more location on NorQuest's International Student page, and by exploring the 'Co-op student and Intern' page on the Government of Canada's website.

Source: Co-Op Work Permit. (n.d.). NorQuest College.


Business & Higher Education Roundtable's Work-Integrated Learning 101

CEWIL Canada's Student Resources, Employer & Community Partner Tool Kit, and Work-Integrated Learning page

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario's 'A Practical Guide for Work-Integrated Learning'.

Top Universities' '9 Fantastic Benefits of Work Integrated Learning'