Alternatives to Work Placements: Real Live Projects for Social Impact

Nina Starkey, Mieke Mcevey-Leppens, Mark O'Dwyer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper outlines an alternative approach to Work Integrated Learning (WIL) work
placements in Higher Education (HE) design courses. It involves design students from
different campuses across Australia studying on campus, Online and students from a partner
institution in Spain, working together on an actual project (Live Brief) but with a benevolent
focus set by an NGO for West African implementation as an alternative to work placements in
commercial companies. This method demonstrates amplified benefits resulting from a real as
opposed to an imaginary project and that collaboration on a live brief leads to a more valuable
experience. Significantly augmented learning outcomes through the experience, not least real
life/work skills such as tasks negotiating, time management, peer critique and presentation
skills add to the credentials of the student in view of future employability. Motivations increase
when addressing stringent criteria laid out in the project brief resulting from the prospect to be
able to present the project outcome to the client for feedback, critique on suitability. The
benevolent or “Here for Good” aspect of the project instils understanding and respect for noncommercial design work and provides skills for working with harsh limitations whilst addressing
all “Here for Good” criteria of the brief and the ethos of Torrens University within Laureate
International Universities, a registered B-Corporation. Four aspects: Live Brief with clear client
expectations, opportunity to present to the client, benevolent or “Here for Good” project with
stipulated design boundaries and group collaboration make for a highly valuable and
alternative approach that surpasses expectations of HE learning outcomes for WIL and an
alternative to job placements.
Keywords–Learning and Teaching, Transition through collaboration, Work Integrated
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings. 2018 ACUADS CONFERENCE
Place of PublicationPerth, WA
PublisherAustralian Council of University Art and Design Schools
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9758360-4-0
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Alternatives to Work Placements: Real Live Projects for Social Impact'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this