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ABSTRACT The common linkage made between student work experience and the acquisition of personal transferable skills is challenged. Not only are workplaces biased environments for the acquisition of supposedly generic skills, but other venues (including university campuses) are at least as effective in providing students with such assets. It is noted that the transferability of skills is still largely an untested assumption, that many students do not have the opportunity while working to reflect on their acquisition of skills, and that many mature-aged students do not want to return to work in order to improve their personal skills. It is concluded that most work experience is still largely about work, that our assessment of the skills outcome of such experience leaves a great deal to be desired, and that transferable personal skills can just as effectively be acquired in other contexts.