Work Integrated Learning

What is Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

Work Integrated Learning is the process through which students come to learn from experiences in educational and practice settings. WIL includes programs which can assist, provide, and effectively integrate learning experiences in both settings. WIL includes many types of experiential learning, such as apprenticeship programs, co-op programs, internships, applied research projects, service learning, and incubators and accelerators.

According to the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers, 83% of Canadian educators “believe they are producing graduates that have the skills and capabilities to successfully transition from school to the workforce ready to produce on day one,” yet only 34% of employers and 44% of students agree. This is a mismatch! It is suggested that one possible solution is giving more students access to work integrated learning opportunities.

Why should you utilize WIL?


  • The ability to set up or test a new project
  • Having a dedicated resource to complete specific tasks or projects
  • Having a pool of potential recruits with some general awareness of workplace culture
  • An injection of new ideas
  • Developing links with higher education institutions and feeding into teaching practices and methodologies
  • Staff development opportunities that arise from employees mentoring students


  • Working in a setting in which to put theory into practice
  • Developing an awareness of work-place culture and expectations
  • Developing ‘soft' skills such as communication, team working, email and report-writing skills, punctuality and attendance, leadership and career development
  • Having an opportunity to develop a practical appreciation of your chosen profession
  • Developing practical skills to reflect upon in future studies
  • Short-term financial benefits - some students can earn whilst studying
  • Developing enhanced employment prospects and the potential of commanding higher wages on graduation
  • Building up a network of contacts

Funding Opportunities

Provincial Funding Opportunities:

Nova Scotia

Graduate to Opportunity:

Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) is helping to build a stronger workforce and retain young people in Nova Scotia with a salary incentive that makes it easier to hire recent graduates. Employers receive 25% of the first year’s salary – 35% if the new graduate is a member of designated diversity group – and 12.5% of the second year’s salary.


Labour Standards Division- Co-op students, interns and experiential learning positions can represent a great opportunity for both employers and participants alike. Did you know that the Labour Standards Code may apply to these types of positions? For more information, contact the Labour Standards Division.

Toll Free within NS: 1-888-315-0110

Tel: 902-424-4311

Federal Funding Opportunities:



  • Acadia University
  • Atlantic School of Theology
  • Cape Breton University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Mount Saint Vincent University
  • NSCAD University
  • Nova Scotia Community College
  • Saint Mary's University
  • St. Francis Xavier University
  • Université Sainte-Anne
  • University of King's College

Want to know more?

Contact our Policy & Research Analyst, Kathleen, to learn more about Work Integrated Learning

Kathleen MacEachern

Kathleen MacEachern

Policy Analyst

(902) 481-1351

Email Kathleen

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