CEWIL Resource Hub: Work Experience at the University of British Columbia

The Work Learn program supports students’ career learning through workshops, site visits, and 1:1 coaching, as well as online content (e.g. résumé/cover letter writing tips, interview skills, networking skills), monthly newsletters, templates, case studies, frameworks, and literature for both supervisors and students. The Work Learn program has also been able to fund additional staff resources dedicated to further developing resources and educative programming designed to facilitate the exceptional supervision of student employees, which has a major impact on students' perception of their experiences.

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Key success factors

  • The Work Learn program supports supervisors in planning, proposing, and designing workplace experiences, as well as developing supervisory skills critical to providing exceptional workplace experiences for students. 
  • All Work Learn positions are posted through UBC’s online portal for career-building opportunities, allowing students to search for the opportunity that's best suited to their values, interests, and goals for career learning.  
  • The Work Learn program works closely with the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers to align workshop offerings on career skills, increase career advising and coaching availability during the two week application period, and ensure access to resources for specific student identity demographics (i.e. racialized students, students with disabilities, Indigenous students, and LGBTQ+ students) that support them as they navigate their job search and workplace experiences.  

Unique characteristics

  • The Centre for Student Involvement and Careers has positioned this program alongside a variety of other workplace learning opportunities for students, including internships and undergraduate research award programs. Building consistent programming, resources, and practices ensures that all of these experiences are high quality work-integrated learning opportunities for students. 
  • The Centre is leveraging the Work Learn program model to develop pilot programs and resources that better support students with specific identity demographics in successfully searching for, applying for, and navigating workplace experiences.  
  • Work Learn prioritizes experiences that are research-intensive to align with UBC students' expectations and needs. 42% of all Work Learn positions are research-based, providing students with the opportunity to work directly with a faculty member conducting research and even publish their work.   
  • The Work Learn program allocates funding to proposals that highlight how a position will satisfy the program’s core student learning outcomes, rather than the types of responsibilities or technical skills that are developed in the position. 


  • The Work Learn program supports 3200 students and 1900 supervisors annually with just three dedicated FTEs. Processing this volume of student appointments on a cross-campus basis results in extremely high volumes of administrative work.
  • Despite a sizable budget, annual demand for Work Learn funding continues to increase and exceed supply.  Many qualified students are unable to secure a suitable position. 
  • Administering the program (including processing and analyzing large volumes of student and employee data) requires navigating multiple unlinked institutional platforms.


Key characteristics

  • Type: Work experience
  • Year program was established: 2008
  • Number of students per year: 3200
  • Number of employers/partners per year: 1900 (university faculty and staff)
  • Programs/academic disciplines participating: All
  • Duration of experience: Winter term – 10 hours/week (max: 28 weeks; Spring 20 hours/week (max: 16 weeks)
  • Submitted by: Robyn Leuty