Workplace learning for secondary students in NSW public schools

Direction and guidance on organising, running and reporting on workplace learning programs to help students contextualise their learning and achieve significant curriculum outcomes.


  • principals and school staff who facilitate workplace learning activities
  • students, aged 14 or over enrolled in public secondary, central and schools for specific purposes
  • education and training organisations involved in providing workplace learning to students
  • external vocational education and training (EVET) providers
  • students undertaking vocational education training (VET) courses with a mandatory work placement component
  • community stakeholders involved in providing workplace learning
  • parents and carers
  • work placement service providers.
Version Date Description of changes Approved by
5.0.0 09/05/2024 Updated under the 2023 Policy and procedure review program, including conversion into the new template and improving document readability. Executive Director, Skills and Pathways

Document history

2021 Nov 12 - updated policy statement contact details. In section 3.1, replaced Melbourne declaration with the Alice Springs Education Declaration 2020.

2020 Jun -update to contact details, text and style.

Amended to reflect plain English principles.

Update responsibilities of employers and schools to reflect the Work Health Safety Act 2011.

Update the context of the policy document.

Reminder that duty of care includes preparing students for workplace learning.

A new section on using the DEC Incident Reporting Policy and Procedures in relation to incidents in the host workplace.

Superseded documents


  1. Policy statement
    1. Workplace learning programs are to achieve curriculum outcomes and enhance the vocational, educational and social development of secondary students enrolled in NSW public schools.
    2. Workplace learning programs include, but are not limited to, work experience, work placement for HSC vocational education and training (VET) courses, career and entrepreneurial learning programs, community learning and student mentoring programs conducted by employers in the workplace.
    3. The department and the host employer hold a concurrent duty under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of students while engaged in a workplace learning program. This duty requires the elimination of health and safety risks where possible and if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate those risks, to minimise the risk so far as is reasonably practicable.
    4. The department and external VET (EVET) providers must, through their delegated officers, take reasonable care to keep all students undertaking workplace learning safe. Duty of care for students rests with both the school in which the student is enrolled and the EVET provider. This extends to workplace learning placements even where there is no direct daily supervision of the student by a school or an EVET provider.
    5. The department’s insurance and indemnity provisions, as stated in The workplace learning guide for employers (PDF 1047 KB), apply to workplace learning placements approved by the principal or nominee, and where relevant, also by the responsible EVET provider manager or delegate or nominee. However, those insurance and indemnity provisions do not apply to the paid employment component of school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.
    6. Regular and effective communication with parents and/or carers, support staff and with host employers, directly and through work placement service providers, is an essential aspect of all workplace learning programs. For school-based apprenticeships and traineeships, this also includes the training provider and the employer, or host employer where a group training organisation is the employer.
    7. The department and EVET providers must ensure that students with disability are provided with opportunities on the same basis as other students. This includes identifying and liaising with the workplace around reasonable adjustments for students with disability where required.
  2. Context
    1. This policy supports:
    2. The participation of local businesses, larger employers, industry groups, community agencies, universities, registered training organisations (RTOs) and intermediary organisations is an invaluable and essential aspect of the skill and knowledge environment available through workplace learning. Intermediary organisations may broker opportunities between schools and employers. They include not-for-profit groups, government agencies or locally led networks.
    3. The Workplace learning for secondary students in NSW public schools procedures support this policy.
  3. Policy contacts
    Director, Careers Programs
    0407 406 499

    Leader, Career and Workplace Learning
    0436 804 282
  4. Monitoring the policy
    The Executive Director, Skills and Pathways monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
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