WACE brings together national associations from across the world regularly to share practice, research and strategy. A number of associations share their response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the resources and strategies developed for their members.
AUSTRALIAN COLLABORATIVE EDUCATION NETWORK (ACEN)
ACEN has stepped up its leadership role around COVID-19 and WIL by actively creating online dialogical spaces for sharing the challenges and innovative alternatives under distancing measures that the government has set. ACEN is supporting its community through:
- ACEN WIL & COVID-19 Surveys to feel the pulse and to be able to quickly respond to needs
- ACEN COVID-19 Webpage & Resources built to collate information and resources.
- ACEN COVID-19 Webinars and Critical Conversations which are recorded and freely available on our dedicated COVID-19 response webpage. These webinars attract record participation with over 100 participants from across Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
- ACEN COVID-19 Coffee Chats which are held weekly on Fridays with the inviting question: how are you going? They provide opportunity for WIL practitioners to gather, reflect, inquire and unload during the COVID19 crisis. They have proven to be quite a popular online hangout for like-minded WIL colleagues.
- ACEN is a co-author of a Joint Statement of Intent and Principles for the Higher Education Sector COVID-19 Response with Australian Council of Professions (ACoP), Universities Australia (UA) and others to guide the higher education sector to mitigate and minimise the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. ACEN particularly focused on the COVID-19 impact on mandatory professional placements and called for the need of flexibility as well as upholding quality.
- Media Releases which can be read here.
- Global Collaboration of resources sharing with our global WIL partners in Canada, NZ, UK and WACE.
The pandemic has highlighted the urgency to rethink WIL models in particular for professional placements that are regulated through accreditation bodies. ACEN keeps advocating for flexibility and creativity in responding to the pandemic now and into the future as it impacts on employment prospects of the future workforce.
CO-OPERATIVE EDUCATION AND WORK-INTEGRATED LEARNING CANADA (CEWIL)
Greetings from Canada! First, I hope that our message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe during this unprecedented time. As a WIL community, we have all experienced an unpredictable and unbelievable disruption to our norm. Our ability to find a path through chaos, has been what has helped us support our members, and in turn, support students from across the globe. A heartfelt thank you to all the leaders, practitioners, employers and community partners who have come together with the goal of sustaining quality WIL experiences.
In Canada, we very quickly came together as an association to work with our members and partners to try to save as many student opportunities as possible. CEWIL made a variety of announcements, called for advocacy, developed social media campaigns and brought the community together to understand, consult and collaborate. Our call to ask employer to support students to work from home or move their start dates from May 1st to June 1st if necessary, was an important, swift decision needed to help employers under immense pressure. We quickly announced that institutional decisions regarding their co-op programs would not affect their accreditation which allowed for our partner schools to make decisions based on the best interest of their students without worry about loss of accreditation or reputational risk. Additionally, our weekly town hall calls and invitation to members and non-members alike, has brought the community together to look after the Canadian WIL ecosystem as we weather the storm together.
Our social media campaign #WILfromHome / #CoopChezMoi was launched to help tell the wonderful stories of students, employers and institutions working on WIL initiatives and showcasing student work to encourage more employers to continue to engage with students. We also have collected biweekly data to understand the impacts of COVID and to assist in our advocacy efforts with government.
We continue to work with our federal government partners to ensure the fiscal investments in WIL in Canada continue to support quality experiences for students within this difficult labour market. We have seen unprecedented support of student experiences by the Canadian government including increased access to subsidies, funding for innovative programing and increased flexibility to continue to support paid student WIL experiences.
As we enter the next phases of COVID, with so many unknowns regarding campus openings, labour market rebounds, economic realities and the lifting of restrictions on boarders, we will leverage the strong community that has come together under these very difficult times. We will continue to create tools to support our members, advocate to government and provide flexibility for our members. We look to innovation and creativity to help us weather this next phase, all the while, relying on the structured and solid foundation of WIL that has been cultivated by our community throughout our history.
We would like to thank our global partners for their combined leadership, and we look forward to being able to meet again soon. In the meantime, stay well and safe.
CEWIL resources can be found here.
President, CEWIL Canada
WORK-INTEGRATED LEARNING NEW ZEALAND (WILNZ)
We are pleased to announce that NZACE has been renamed Work-Integrated Learning New Zealand (WILNZ). A name change has been discussed a number of times in the past and the Board believed now is the right time. After consultation undertaken with members over the last six months, this change was approved at the recent AGM held during the ‘lockdown’ via a video conference. Dr. Jenny Fleming was re-elected as the President of WILNZ. Congratulations to Katharine Hoskyn, who was elected as a Life Member for her significant and longstanding contribution to NZACE over more than 20 years. Richard Coll and Karsten Zegwaard received the accolade of becoming the inaugural honorary Fellows of WILNZ for their outstanding academic contributions to Work-Integrated Learning, nationally and internationally.
We have been working closely with our Australian neighbours, ACEN, to help support our members through the changing landscape created by COVID-19. Regular webinars and online conversations have enabled the sharing of ideas on different ways to approach WIL. In New Zealand, since the 25th March, the campuses of all tertiary institutions have been closed. The majority of WIL students have not been able to undertake placements at all because of the severe restrictions of the lockdown. As New Zealand gradually loosens these restrictions as we ‘flatten the curve’, many placement organisations will still be operating in different ways. It has been great to hear from others in similar situations and to collectively come up with some solutions and creative ideas to enable our students to complete or begin their WIL experiences.
In response to the COVID 19 pandemic Suranaree University (SUT) has developed a proposal for the Ministry of Education to consider using co-operative and work integrated education (CWIE) to support small to medium companies encountering problems during the crisis. This proposal is being considered by the Ministry of Education in Thailand and includes allowances for students and student visits to be funded by the Government.
This project would involve students undertaking CWIE jobs with these smaller companies and including visits from faculty members twice during the WIL experiences with a full evaluation of the outcomes of the project included. The proposal is currently being considered by the Thai Government.
Secretary, TACE Thailand
ASET THE WORK BASED AND PLACEMENT LEARNING ASSOCIATION
Firstly, in these challenging times, we hope that you and your families are all well.
In the UK, we have been in lockdown since March 23rd; it was from this point that ASET moved all delivery of training and communication online with meetings and training via Zoom.
Communicating with and supporting our members as they transitioned to online delivery within their institutions was our initial key focus. We ran our first week of regional hubs from the 30th March to the 3rd April, which resulted in the engagement of over 250 ASET members representing 85 Higher Education providers who shared ideas and resources to allow our members to develop new approaches to WIL across the country. The second round of these will take place from the 27th April to 1st May. All training is now delivered online, which is going well.
Our Board members have rallied to the cause, providing support and guidance for the membership.
We are now looking to and planning for the future, with the knowledge that the landscape is incredibly fluid, so flexing within that situation is essential.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
COOPERATIVE EDUCATION AND INTERNSHIP ASSOCIATION (CEIA)
In North America, the Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA) is committed to supporting its members during this difficult time. COVID-19 is impacting our colleagues in many ways, including: health and safety concerns, need for online student services, cancelled work arrangements for students, increased demand for virtual co-ops/internships, economic uncertainty, and navigating work-at-home with family responsibilities. CEIA believes that it is important to bring colleagues together during this stressful time to discuss the changing landscape of our work.
To assist members, CEIA moved quickly to develop virtual offerings and resources. CEIA’s COVID-19 CONVERSATIONS are being promoted as free Zoom webinars. We held Navigating Uncertainties on March 27 and Remote Internships on April 9. In addition, regional meetings are being held on the topic. You can visit our website for details.
To bring colleagues together during this difficult time, CEIA developed VIRTUALLY in San Diego, which was a series of conference sessions delivered as webinars on April 8, 9, 14, 15, and 16. You can view details on our website.
Another great resource to assist colleagues is Experience Magazine™ :: Practice + Theory + Podcast. Our editors are encouraging CEIA members to submit best practices, ideas, and concerns as it relates to COVID-19. If you are interested in contributing to this excellent resource, please visit the website.
WACE INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH COMMUNITY (WACEIRC)
The WACE International Research Community is comprised of active WIL researchers, and those interested in being involved with WIL research activity. We run a peer-reviewed process for conference papers, select recipients for the WACE research grant, and organize professional development opportunities for emerging and established WIL researchers. We have an executive committee representing different geographic regions of the globe who provide updates from their regions on WIL research awards, grant recipients, upcoming grant opportunities, and WIL research-related events.
Are you, or do you have colleagues, conducting research on the impact of COVID-19 on your WIL programs? We want to hear from you. Please contact Judene Pretti as we are putting together a panel to present a webinar in July with preliminary findings from research projects taking place around the world. Stay tuned for a date and more details about the webinar.
The ACEN WIL Research Conversations series kicked off the first session of the year held last Friday 1 May. The topic was ‘Researching technology and WIL’. The WACE IRC are presenting the next Conversation on 26 June which is about ‘Publishing in WIL’.
Updates from Regional Vice Chairs:
From the European Vice Chair, in response to the COVID-19 disruption, a research project has been launched to explore perceptions of students and staff to the changes that occurred as a result of the pandemic. Participating schools include University of Hertshire, UK; University West, Sweden:, Catholic University Milan. Staff from international universities in Italy, NMMU, South Africa, France, Tunisia, Germany, Turkey and Russia are participating. We look forward to sharing the findings of this important research.
Co-operative Education and Internships Association (CEIA) in the United States announced research awards in March despite the cancellation of their conference. Dr. Denise Jackson (Australia), received the James W. Wilson award for outstanding contribution to research in the field of co-operative education. The award recognizes longstanding contributions both by participating in research activity and providing leadership for others. In addition, CEIA awarded the Ralph W. Tyler Award to Dr. Jenny Fleming (New Zealand), Dr. Kathryn McLachlan (Australia), and Dr. Judene Pretti (Canada) for outstanding and distinguished research and publication in the field of cooperative education, internships and work-integrated learning. This award was based on their collaborative work entitled, “Successful work-integrated learning relationships: A framework for sustainability” published in the International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning.