The thinking required by higher education student engagement in research processes may segue into the development of students’ work skills, enabling them to professionally transition to the workforce. However, although this transition may be facilitated before and during Work Integrated Learning [WIL] experiences, there is typically a gulf between the skills taught in higher education and skill requirements of industry. To address these challenges faced by WIL, and to connect students more effectively with contemporary and future employer needs, the first objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the use of a validated generic employability framework, the Work Skills Development [WSD] framework, and the second objective is to provide evidence about the framework’s effectiveness when used to articulate work skills and student autonomy. This overview of the WSD and its uses contributes to WIL pedagogy and has direct applicability to tertiary educators’ contribution to the development of student work mindset to bridge the gap between tertiary institutions and industry requirements.