Work experience is a fundamental learning stage during a university education as it provides vast benefits for all involved. Students, employers and universities all gain benefits undertaking supervised work experience programs. It is important for work experience to be incorporated into the students curriculum, to allow the opportunity for students self development outside of the classroom, in a practical setting. The main reasons students complete a university degree is to gain academic knowledge and experience for acquiring full time employment. According to Gracia (2010) positioning employability as the responsibility of the university, utilises mechanisms such as supervised work experience to incorporate employability into the undergraduate curriculum. Supervised work experience programs should be made mandatory for all university students to allow an easier transition for students into workforce.
Work experience is a vital part of the development of a university students learning cycle. Work experience has been defined by Neville T et al (2003) as assessing the aptitudes and competencies of students, undertaking work in a real economic setting which is assessed by the student’s employers and university. Work experience can be paid or unpaid work, however the emphasis is for students to gain firsthand experience of the work force. There are many components of learning taught whilst undertaking a work placement, which universities can not necessarily provide on campus. Students must adapt to a working situation by, putting their academic and interpersonal skills into practice. Interpersonal skills such as problem solving, open mindedness, leadership, ethics and team work are essential in the workplace as explained by Metzcus cited by Taylor (2000). Students who gain these skills from their work experience will be sufficiently confident in working situations which will aid their future career prospects. Students undertaking work placements receive a broad range of benefits. The most beneficial of all being the practical application of the knowledge they have been taught at University to everyday scenarios they may face in the workplace. Neville T et al (2003) explains that students will increase their employability, intellectual and core key skills and personal attributes through the knowledge they will gain whilst operating in a placed organisation. These skills are desirable to prospective employees as it provides an indication of how they will work within their company. Due to the nature of the workforce being extremely competitive, skills and attributes learnt early on during their studies will provide a greater chance for future job opportunities. Additionally students will be able to preview the work roles of the occupation they are studying for. According to Gracia (2010) supervised work experience allows students to remove uncertainties related to prospective careers. In turn this allows students to feel more confident in their chosen career path. It will also ensure students to clearly develop links between the