Cord, Bonnie; Bowrey, Graham D.; and Clements, Michael D., 2010, Towards accounting students workplace preparedness: A unique internship approach, Proceedings of the Australian Collaborative Education Network National Conference, Queensland, Australia: Australian Collaborative Education Network, 83-91.
Undergraduate accounting students would benefit from the combined learning approach of simultaneous classroom and workplace experience to better prepare them for the challenges of industry. In the absence of teachers, subjects and assessment, students need to know how to learn by reflecting on their workplace knowledge and skills, both for professional growth and development, and to adapt to an ever-changing workplace environment. This paper presents a unique internship programme for business students, focusing on their learning beyond the classroom. The Commerce Internship Programme (CIP) developed and implemented at the University of Wollongong, Australia, offers a model for enhancing student engagement in learning through practical experience. This study explored the reflective learning insights of accounting students who participated in CIP. Data was collected across two cohorts of students who participated in the internship program in the autumn and spring semesters of 2009. Preliminary results suggest that accounting students reveal learning pertaining to their workplace preparedness, understanding of accounting principles and taught concepts, generic skill enhancement and consolidation of accounting as their chosen professional career. The paper suggests that such a programme as the one examined will contribute to the professional bodies` expectations of accounting graduates to possess key cognitive and behavioural skills.