Work Placement (SWL) - FAQs  

1. What are work placements?

2. How is work placement different to work experience?

3. What are the benefits to your business?

4. What is your role as a host employer?

5. What about payment?

6. What about insurance?

7. What are the legal obligations?

8. What happens if there is an accident?

9. What about confidentiality?

10. Interested, want to get involved?

1. What are work placements?  

Structured Workplace Learning (referred to as work placement) is the on the job training component of Vocational Education & Training (VET) courses in school programs available to secondary students.

During the HSC, students who are undertaking vocational courses are required to complete a total of 70 hours with a host employer (Generally 35 hours in Year 11 and 35 hours in Year 12. Work placements allow VET Students to perform hands on tasks in the workplace that are related to competencies in their course.

Work placements are viewed by employers as an essential part of a VET course as they give students a real insight into industry.

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2. How is work placement different to work experience?  

The key points that differentiate work placement are as follows:

  • Undertaken by Year 11 to 12 students enrolled in a VET Course.
  • Structured learning that helps students develop skills relevant to the industry.
  • Students are more interested in their chosen area of training.
  • Students are motivated to practice their skills and perform hands-on tasks in the workplace.

In contrast work experience involves:

  • Year 9 and 10 students attending a work place for a short period of time.
  • Students not enrolled in a specific course.
  • Students observing activities within the work place.
  • Providing students with a taste of the work force.

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3. What are the benefits to your business?  

As a Host Employer you will; 

  • Identify young people with potential for your industry.
  • Promote the attitudes and skills you want in your workforce.
  • Increase the supervisory, training and mentoring skills of your staff.
  • Talk to students about your industry, its career paths and future directions.
  • Strengthen your links with the community and raise your business profile.
  • Save time and money on advertising jobs and screening potential employees.
  • Have an extra set of hands to help with entry level tasks.
  • Personal reward of helping give young people a good start with their career.
  • No financial outlay for business your time and effort is all the investment required.

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4. What is your role as a host employer?  

Host employers should aim to provide students with as many hands-on tasks as possible. Work Placement is a great opportunity for students to combine classroom and on the job learning to develop industry skills. Meaningful work and learning opportunities often create better results, as students genuinely feel like they have contributed to the business.

In the student's work placement journal, there is a list of suggested student activities to assist you in planning tasks for the student.

A host employer must provide;

  • A safe working environment and any required safety equipment.
  • A workplace induction.
  • Meaningful tasks related to the skills in the student's VET course.
  • A nominated Workplace Supervisor.

A host employer will be required to;

  • Provide brief feedback about the student and their performance on work placement.

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5. What about payment?  

No payment or remuneration is required whilst on work placement. Any remuneration to a student will change the status of the student to an 'employee' and make the host employer responsible for the provision of worker's compensation insurance.

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6. What about insurance?  

The Department of Education & Communities covers the insurance for all secondary students attending public schools whilst on work placement. Independent and Catholic Schools arrange insurance for all Private and Catholic School students. 

These policies cover injury to the student as well as third party property damage caused by student negligence.

For more details refer to the Employer's Guide to Workplace Learning Form

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7. What are the legal obligations?  

Your legal responsibilities relating to the duty of care are the same as for all persons in your employment. However, the younger age and lower maturity level of school students generally requires a greater level of care and supervision. 

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8. What happens if there is an accident?   

  • Seek medical help immediately.
  • Phone the student's emergency contact, the school and TAFE or Training Provider. (Details are on the student's emergency card.)
  • Complete an accident report and forward a copy to the school and TAFE or Training Provider.

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9. What about confidentiality?  

Confidentiality is addressed in the early part of Vocational Education training. Students must have a clear understanding of confidentiality before they can be assessed as 'work ready' by their teacher.

If your organisation uses a standard Confidentiality Agreement for employees, you are entitled to ask visiting students to comply with your company policy.

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10. Interested, want to get involved?  

Call Career Links on 02 4967 1050.

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