Mackaway, J., & Winchester-Seeto, T. (2018). Deciding access to work-integrated learning: Human resource professionals as gatekeepers. International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning, 19(2), 141-154.
Universities, industry and professional bodies advocate work-integrated learning (WIL) as a valuable way to prepare graduates to meet the challenges of contemporary society. When organizations preference particular students over others to host on placement, the full individual and collective potential of WIL is not realized. This paper reports findings from a qualitative study focused on the role played by Human Resource (HR) professionals in influencing student access to WIL placements in Australian organizations. Findings suggest being in a HR role may influence why and how an individual acts as a WIL gatekeeper however, there is an interplay between forces at three distinct levels: organizational, occupational/job and personal, which affect the intentions and actions of the HR professional. Furthermore, the study suggests several conditions are required for an inclusive approach to WIL to be enacted. This study contributes to the underexplored topic of equity and access in WIL.