Work Placement

Senior high school students studying a Certificate II in Business Services Administration as part of their HSC, need to attend a business for one week to gain practical experience, skills, and knowledge about the industry. This is a compulsory component of their course.

They learn to communicate with staff and supervisors. Employers offer students a range of industry activities that suit their resources and their business.

Work placement allows school and TAFE NSW students to develop industry-specific skills and generic work skills in the workplace whilst completing the NSW Higher School Certificate. Host work placement employers assist schools and TAFE NSW colleges to prepare young people for the workplace by providing meaningful workplace learning opportunities. Host work placement employers are acknowledged by the wider community as highly valued contributors to the next generation of the Australian workforce.

What is workplace learning?

Workplace learning programs form part of the NSW secondary school curriculum. They enable students to spend a planned period of time − usually a week − in the workplace, gaining practical experience, assisting their career choices and building their industry skills. Workplace learning is available to students in Years 9,10,11 and 12. Students are generally placed in an industry of their choice, reflecting the type of work they plan to do after completing their studies. For some students workplace learning is their very first experience of the workplace while others have done many hours of paid work in their part-time jobs.

What kinds of workplace learning programs are there?

NSW secondary schools offer two main types of workplace learning program − work experience and mandatory work placement for students studying HSC vocational education and training (VET) courses. Most students have the chance to participate in at least one of these programs during their time at high school.

What is Work Experience?

These programs are usually undertaken by students in Years 9 or 10 with some opportunities in Years 11 and 12. Work experience provides a general introduction to the ‘world of work’.

Young people are able to:

  • observe a variety of work being done
  • undertake supervised work appropriate to their skill level
  • ask questions about the workplace
  • gain general skills related to being at work
  • learn how enterprises work and how to be enterprising
  • complete course assignments relevant to the industry or workplace
  • find out about training and employment opportunities
  • fine-tune their career aspirations and career and transition planning.

HSC VET Work Placement

Work placement programs are intended for students enrolled in Higher School Certificate (HSC) industry-recognised courses.

These vocational education and training (VET) courses may be delivered by the school, a TAFE NSW institute or by a private

training provider contracted by the school. Work placement ensures that these students spend a period of time as voluntary workers in a relevant workplace. Employers supervise the students as they practise and extend the specific industry skills they have learned in their course work. During their work placement, students work towards gaining specific industry competencies. They are assessed by their teachers in consultation with the host employer and, in some cases, a qualified workplace assessor. Students achieving competency receive an industry-specific VET qualification that is recognised throughout Australia.

How long will the student spend in your workplace?

This varies. Students usually spend a week with an employer but shorter or longer placements are possible. Some students come to a workplace for half or one day per week for an extended period of time. HSC VET students are generally required to

complete two weeks of work placement over two years, each week with a different employer.

The Benefits for Employers

Hosting students allows you to:

  • participate in the education, career development and vocational training of young people in your community
  • talk to students about your industry, its career paths and future directions
  • promote the attitudes and skills you want in your workforce
  • identify young people with potential for your industry
  • strengthen your links with the community and raise your business profile
  • increase the supervisory, training and mentoring  skills of your staff
  • give students the knowledge of the value of work and raise the quality of those coming into your industry

Work Placement Service Providers

These local organisations are funded to coordinate HSC VET work placements, liaising between schools, TAFE NSW institutes, private providers and employers. You will find they have considerable expertise and resources to help you provide quality work placements for HSC VET students.

You are welcome to contact them directly.

Who has duty of care?

The school maintains a duty of care to students undertaking workplace learning. Schools are responsible for deciding if placements are suitable, preparing students for workplace learning, monitoring the student’s progress and welfare during the placement and following up with them immediately afterwards. It is the responsibility of the host employer to provide a safe workplace environment and appropriate supervision for the  student. Parents and carers are required to be or nominate the emergency contact for any emergencies that occur outside normal business hours.

Are there any other conditions?

  • Participating students must be aged 14 years or over.
  • Students under 15 years cannot work before 7am or after 6pm.
  • No student can be directed to carry out any task that isnot safe.
  • Employers and employees are to respect the rights of students to a safe and healthy host workplace, free from harassment, discrimination and any conduct that is unacceptable in terms of child protection.

What about insurance?

Insurance and indemnity requirements are arranged by the NSW Department of Education and Communities under the NSW Treasury Managed Fund Scheme. Specific cover relevant to workplace learning is provided for DET (policy no. MF100003) and TAFE NSW (policy no. MF100007) under the terms and conditions of the Miscellaneous Insurance Policy. These insurance and indemnity provisions also apply to vocational education teachers undertaking industry placements as part of their VET teacher training program and to teachers supervising students participating in workplace learning programs.

For the full NSW Government, Education & Communities, Employers Guide