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Title: Student preparedness for Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in Biomedical Technology
Authors: Govender, Dhanasagren Derrick 
Keywords: Student preparedness;Work integrated learning (WIL);Biomedical technology
Issue Date: 30-Nov-2020
According to the Council of Higher Education (CHE), work integrated learning (WIL) is one
of the key tools for developing graduate attributes for the world of work (Council on Higher
Education, 2011). Biomedical Technology is a highly skilled profession with no room for
error since diagnosis and treatment of patients’ conditions depend primarily on accurate
results. Students enrolled for the National Diploma Biomedical Technology at the Durban
University of Technology (DUT) spend two and a half years at the University of
Technology (UoT) acquiring formal instruction and a compulsory six month period of WIL
at Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA) accredited training laboratories
in order to develop into graduates who are work-ready and familiar with organizational
Despite the established benefits of WIL, there is no data which ascertains whether the
strategies employed by the Biomedical Technology programme for preparing students for
undertaking WIL are actually successful. Nor has there been structured reflection to
establish the partnership between the department and the training sites and its
effectiveness for WIL. In addition, it would be important to ascertain whether the conditions
of the workplace are conducive for WIL. This information would therefore be extremely
valuable in informing whether the outcomes for WIL have been optimally achieved and
would further influence curriculum review development and delivery.
The purpose of the study therefore, was to determine the degree of work preparedness
of students’ exposure and experience for WIL through a descriptive analysis of the
perceptions of students regarding WIL. In addition, the perceptions of laboratory
supervisors on students’ preparedness for training at these HPCSA accredited
laboratories, as well as the quality of the partnership between the department and the
training unit, were also be ascertained. Methods:
A questionnaire, was the chosen method of data collection. A questionnaire which
included quantitative and qualitative components provided a descriptive analysis of the
preparedness of students in the Biomedical Technology programme for WIL.
A saturation sample of all final year students registered for the National Diploma in
Biomedical Technology at the DUT constituted the sample. This constituted students who
completed their WIL at HPCSA registered training sites in both private and state
The Cronbach’s alpha showed an overall reliability score of excellent degree of internal
consistent scoring for the different aspects of the research. Factor analysis results showed
moderate inter-correlation and inter-relatedness between the measured variables.
The students were generally satisfied with the beneficial WIL orientation and the
workplace orientation programme. The students and supervisors indicated the
inadequacy of the practical component at the university, and recommended the
purchasing of updated and advanced practical equipment.
The salient findings were that:
 Student’s theoretical and ethical knowledge is poor, including under
preparedness for the world of work (WoW).
 Inherent increased training cost and supervisor’s workload.
 Support from university in terms of communication and engagement needed
This study investigated student preparedness for work integrated learning, and raised
a variety of issues from both students and supervisors. The good practices in the Biomedical Technology programmes will be reinforced, and strategies will be formulated
and implemented to address the areas of concern, now that it has been formally
This study concluded that students were generally not well prepared for the workplace.
The curriculum review of the programme was identified as a concern, particularly in the
third year where the WIL is the major component. These findings will certainly inform the
WIL offering in the new curriculum, and can be extrapolated to the Health Sciences
community at large.
Submitted in fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Health Science in Medical Laboratory Science in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Technology at the Durban University of Technology, 2020.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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