Models of Workplace Engagement

Schools have a key role in building young people’s workplace engagement, including supporting young people to explore a range of careers and industries, and sparking and building young people’s aspirations, engagement and capacity to navigate to their future destinations. All young people benefit from workplace engagement. It can support disengaged young people to re-engage in school or find non-school pathways, and help academically strong students to understand their pathways, make better decisions about tertiary education and have a smoother transition to their careers.

Given the link between young people’s aspirations, capacity to explore careers and workplace experiences and their success in transitioning for further education and employment as adults, careers and transitions support will be pivotal to young people’s capacity to navigate the changing future.

Through collaboration with industry, schools and pilots with student voice four models of workplace engagement have been formed to support schools to connect young people to the world of work.

OECD Disrupted Futures 2021: Models of Workplace Engagement


There are four key models of workplace engagement: -

  • in-school projects developing capabilities
  • discovery, exploration, and broadening aspirations
  • engagement, motivation, and inspiration, and
  • skills training and work readiness.

All workplace engagement should be designed to cater for the needs of the individual young person, with the support of all stakeholders including the parents/carers, employers, community, and school.

Department of Education Policies and Procedures must be adhered to when designing a Model of Workplace Engagement. See the link below for further information:

Workplace Learning

Examples of workplace engagement may include but are not limited to:

Work experience, work placement, workplace observation, volunteering, executive shadowing, entrepreneurship, industry visits, school excursions, Ready Arrive Work (RAW), school-based apprenticeships and traineeships and mentoring.


Benefits of models of workplace engagement for students include:

  • deliver real-world learning experiences
  • promote better understand of new and emerging work opportunities
  • raise awareness of the local labour market
  • improve engagement in learning
  • increased understanding of the impact of new technologies in the workplace
  • build employability and enterprise skills required for future life and work
  • develop critical career management skills used to successfully negotiate future work, and
  • improve the ability to make a smooth transition from school.

Benefits of models of workplace engagement for employers include:

  • contribute to workforce development needs

  • opportunities to potential employees

  • development of mentoring and training skills of staff, thereby improving their engagement

  • creating positive public relations

  • uphold business values (including corporate social responsibility)

  • develop students’ career awareness and work readiness, and

  • provide support to the local school and community.

Benefits of models of workplace engagement for schools and teachers include:

  • broaden and enrich the curriculum

  • provide ‘real world’ context for subjects studied at school

  • develop innovative teaching and learning

  • demonstrate a learning community in action

  • provide an avenue to access external skills and expertise

  • access up-to-date industry insights

  • generate school-business partnerships

  • provide opportunities for professional learning and industry experience / exposure, and

  • leadership development.

Benefits of models of workplace engagement for parents and carers include:

  • increase confidence their children are being prepared with the skills for future work

  • greater exposure to local industries and employment opportunities

  • evidence the school is engaging with the community to broaden curriculum delivery

  • provide an avenue for career conversations with their children

  • widen their understanding of their children’s post-school options

  • Improve their understanding of the changing world of work.


Depending on student interest, projects are designed in-school around a specific need or skill shortage in the local area/region. Key features of this model include:

  • creating elements of the workplace experience
  • exposure to the workplace experience through an outreach program, and
  • produce an experience that is real and visible.

Benefits of in-school projects include:​

  • Students build employability and enterprise skills and develop critical career management skills.

  • Employers and community groups develop students’ career awareness and work readiness, whilst staff develop mentoring and training skills.

  • Supporting the local school and community. ​

  • Schools and teachers access external skills and expertise, whilst developing school-business partnerships. ​

  • Parents and carers understand their children are being prepared with the skills for future work and given exposure to local industries and employment opportunities, widening their understanding of their children’s post-school options.

The aim is to create elements of a ‘workplace experience or workplace learning’ in a safe, school setting. Ideas to enhance in-school projects and workplace engagement may include:

  • workplace learning within the school canteen, library, and front office

  • workplace Learning and or job shadowing with school maintenance staff. Examples: General Assistant, Agriculture Assistant

  • linking with Student Representative Council (SRC). Focussing on: communication skills, business skills, administration and clerical skills, meetings, voting, hosting assemblies, student surveys​

  • environmental - Green Groups. Science and HSIE create a market or fresh produce stall, build flower or vegetable gardens during sport time, produce can be on-sold in the future, sustainability​

  • links with school events (volunteering with creative arts festival, art, drama, music students, hosting parent / teacher meetings, end of year assemblies​

  • hospitality students hosting fundraisers and school events (prepare, cook, and serve food and drinks at school events, supporting faculty events, sports carnivals)​

  • volunteer work at community events (Clean-Up Australia Day and World Environment Day), and ​

  • entrepreneurship programs such as iEntrepreneur - see Pathways and Transitions Entrepreneurial Learning webpage here.

Projects are designed to meet individual student requirements, taking into consideration the availability of authentic work placement availability. Key features include:

  • authentic interaction with workers

  • exposure to different worksites or roles, and

  • documenting and applying to school.

Benefits of discovery, exploration, and broadening aspirations include:

  • Students career awareness, work readiness and employability skills are developed in a “real life” working experience.

  • Employers develop mentoring and training skills, whilst contributing to the training of young people within their community.

  • Schools create and enhance local business/industry contacts whilst outsourcing the training of job specific skills to the industry professionals.

  • Parents/Carers understand their young person is being prepared with the skills for future work whilst gaining exposure to local industries and employment opportunities, widening understanding of post school options.

Ideas to enhance discovery, exploration, and broadening aspiration models include:

  • Individual block work experience placement with host employer/business.

  • Flexible work experience placement that may consist of one or two days per week ongoing.

  • Mock interviews with students applying for and attending authentic interviews conducted by business professionals.

  • Volunteer experience with local community organisation/s focussing on interaction with community members.

  • Access to careers markets, university open days, guest speakers, and role models.

Projects are designed to enhance the understanding of students regarding the relevance of education, life-long learning, employability skills and career pathways. These projects permit students to:

  • work on or develop a passion or interest

  • build self-esteem, growth, and direction

  • engage or reconnect with the school

Benefits of engagement, motivation and inspirational programs include:

  • Students develop an understanding of their skills, attributes and potential career opportunities based on their motivation and acquisition of work-related skills, improving their ability to make a smooth transition from school.

  • Employers develop skills in mentorship, providing motivation and encouragement and acting as positive role models for young people.

  • Schools develop links with service providers to enhance the educational experience and workplace learning opportunities of students facing barriers to their learning.

  • Parents/Carers recognise the school is engaging with the community to broaden curriculum delivery as well as providing an avenue for career conversations.

Ideas to enhance models of engagement, motivation and inspiration may include:

  • Role model guest speakers presenting at the school. This may include but not limited to alumni, successful businesspeople, sports stars, people who have overcome adversity.

  • Opportunities for students to shadow businesspeople, employers, executive shadowing.

  • Community programs supporting students to reengage in education such as Youth on Track, Start Your Future, pathways programs.

Skills for work and training models have been designed specifically to enhance student’s workplace experience related to a specific area of study. These projects permit students to:

  • develop capacity and confidence to be work ready.

  • increase understanding of specific vocational or job ready training., and

  • provide qualifications and experience.

Benefits of a skills for work and training model include:

  • Students gain specific job-related skills and an industry recognised qualification indicating their capabilities in that area.

  • Employers contribute to the growth and development of their industry area by passing on their industry specific skills and expertise.

  • Schools provide in-school training or access to Registered Training Organisations to deliver competency training and assessment catering to the needs of individuals and industry.

  • Parents/Carers can support their young person in gaining industry specific skills and qualifications enhancing employment prospects during and post, secondary education.

Ideas to enhance skills for work and training may include:

  • access to School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships

  • assessment of competencies during industry work placement, and

  • demonstrating acquired skills and competencies at events and functions i.e., Hospitality students catering for functions, Sports Coaching students organising sporting carnivals, Primary Industries students showing cattle at the local show.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Career advice
  • Pathways to work
  • Transition through stages

Business Unit:

  • Skills and Pathways
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