Students gain practical experience and learn more about career choices.
Workplace learning provides opportunities for students to:
- explore first-hand the world of work
- gain job-ready skills and knowledge
- practice general and industry-specific skills
- identify career options and pathways
- be inspired about new work opportunities.
Workplace learning includes work experience for students who are at least 14, as well as work placement for students studying Vocational Education and Training (VET) subjects.
Workplace learning only occurs during school terms unless the principal approves a holiday placement for individual Year 11 or 12 students. However, placements are not allowed in the December–January school holidays.
Students are not paid for workplace learning.
Learn more about the differences between work experience and work placement.
Students spend time in an industry or job of their choice during work experience. Students can be inspired and motivated by the people they meet and benefit from connecting with employers.
Arrangements are made with school approval. Talk to your school careers adviser for more information.
Work experience helps students:
- link classroom learning to the workplace
- put classroom learning into practice
- decide if they like the job or industry
- learn the realities of the workplace
- understand study, training and work opportunities
- choose elective subjects
- prepare for life after school.
Work placement is a mandatory requirement of many VET courses, including Industry Curriculum Framework (ICF) and some VET Board Endorsed courses. Students develop industry specific competencies, employability skills and appropriate work attitudes in a work environment.
Most industries work outside school hours so students must be flexible and prepared to travel. For example, construction students might start at 7am and hospitality students may work evenings.
Completion of 70 hours of work placement during Years 11 and 12 is usual. The school or external VET (EVET) provider will organise a suitable host employer.
Industry Curriculum Framework courses
Students must complete work placement as part of their ICF studies. Placements are coordinated by a work placement service provider but some may be organised by schools and EVET providers.
VET Board Endorsed courses
Work placement is also a mandatory component of many VET Board Endorsed courses. Work placement in these courses is organised by the school or EVET provider.
Some students in Years 9 and 10 study VET Board Endorsed courses with a mandatory placement.
VET Board Endorsed courses with mandatory work placement requirements include:
- Assistant Dance Teaching
- Sport Coaching – Certificate II.
For additional information on VET courses, see Courses and study options.
Students should participate in workplace learning in NSW – where possible. Schools located near a border may arrange interstate placements, if required, with the principal’s approval.
Accommodation away from home
The principal must approve any workplace learning involving accommodation away from home. Before approval is given, the following are considered:
- educational value of the workplace learning
- suitability of the proposed transport, accommodation and overnight supervision arrangements
- parent or carer's approval.
The school or external vocational and education and training (EVET) provider must discuss arrangements with the student and parents or carers and confirm supervision and emergency contact arrangements. Both the 'Student Placement Record' and 'Workplace learning – accommodation away from home' forms must be completed and submitted to the school.
The duty of a school or EVET provider to care for students extends beyond the work day of the placement, particularly where accommodation is away from home. This duty cannot be delegated by the school or EVET provider.
The school or EVET provider must take reasonable care to keep all students in placement away from home free from harm and minimise the risks so far as is reasonably practicable.
Any persons, other than family members, supervising students overnight must complete the following Working With Children Check documents:
Schools and EVET providers must prepare students before they start workplace learning.
- safety in the workplace
- employer expectations
- what to do if help is needed during the placement.
Go2workplacement is an online course to help VET students prepare. Students receive a Work Placement Ready Certificate on course completion.
Workplace learning will not be approved if there are any doubts about the safety of our students.
View the department's public liability certificate of currency.
For more information on managing risk, visit Keeping students safe.
Schools retain and dispose of workplace learning records in accordance with regulations. For information on how long records must be kept to comply with the legal and departmental requirements, visit Documents and records – retention and disposal. Refer to the 'Teaching and learning' and the 'Accidents and incidents' sections.
For more information on legal requirements, visit the Functional Retention and Disposal Authority for primary and secondary education – FA387.
Workplace learning for secondary students in government schools is the policy that supports workplace learning programs in your school.
Workplace Learning Procedures and Standards (Word 53 KB) expands on the policy.
For advice on workplace learning, contact Senior Pathways.