Home' Link : Learn Issue No. 1 Contents When students venture out of the
lecture hall and into the workplace,
there are benefits all round, writes
On the surface she's fresh-faced, feminine and petite.
However Courtney Scotney has a toughness that
comes to the surface when she's tasked with sorting
out road crews competing for gravel deliveries.
It's a quality that has served her well during her time
in CQUniversity's Engineering Co-op program where
she's been required to work for key civil engineering
organisations. Courtney scheduled projects for Boral
Asphalt in her first year of study and more recently worked
for RoadTek and Main Roads as part of flood reconstruction
projects, where she scheduled deliveries of roadbase
materials and various sizes of small aggregate rocks needed
for road construction.
"If a particular project area wants something it can become
a sort of a competition, so I'm the middle man who works out
what's best for everyone," says the 21-year-old from Theodore.
Now in her final year, Courtney has also managed to
squeeze in a research project to help Main Roads monitor
the performance of 'bitumen treated base'. She explains this
treatment is more expensive that other road rehabilitation
processes, but it uses natural gravel from the work site
rather than trucking in 'non-renewable' rock material, so
it's more sustainable. "The end result is stronger while still
being granular and flexible, but we still need to work out
the best specifications for future Main Roads projects."
Courtney was successful in attracting a Main Roads
scholarship during her study which not only guaranteed
her a paid work experience place, but also three years
employment upon completion of her degree -- a win-win for
both parties involved.
Quick uptake of graduates from programs like
CQUniversity's Co-op program in not uncommon. In fact
students world-wide are reaping the rewards of university
programs that link course work with on-the-job learning.
According to CQUniversity's Dr Patrick Keleher, Work
Integrated Learning marries together a student's work and
study life, making their study experience not only flexible
but relevant. "Although there are many different ways Work
Integrated Learning is used around the world, the common
factor is that learning occurs within work-like contexts,
whether it is through simulated work conditions, an actual
workplace or a combination of these," Dr Keleher said.
"Dependent on the way Work Integrated Learning is
employed, students can benefit financially by maintaining
a working life and by gaining formal qualifications in 'real
world' contexts." He believes students who have undertaken
some sort of Work Integrated Learning during their
study are also given the opportunity to establish valuable
networks and are more attractive to employers.
Work-Integrated Learning in Engineering, Built Environment and
Technology: Diversity of Practice in Practice is a new publication
edited by Dr Keleher along with CQUniversity's Arun Patil and
Dr Bobby Harreveld, which provides an insight into cutting-
edge practices of Work Integrated Learning. The authors give
a diverse perspective on how Work Integrated Learning has
been adopted and adapted around the world. The book is the
first product from a special interest research group at the
University which is focussing on best practice in this field.
CQUniversity is a leader in Work Integrated Learning in
Australia, having it embedded in a number of study areas
including engineering, health and education. Its students
learn and work in real world situations on industrial and
mining sites, hospitals and schools.
dents venture out of the
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