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Work experience placements for school students procedure

Version number 6.5 | Version effective 21 July 2021
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Work experience placements for school students procedure

Audience

All schools

Purpose

To detail the roles, responsibilities and processes for developing and implementing a work experience program for state and non-state school students when undertaken as part of their education.  

Work experience that is part of a vocational placement through a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course/qualification provided through a non-school Registered Training Organisation (RTO) is not covered by this procedure.

Overview

A work experience program provides a formal arrangement whereby students, while enrolled at a school, (including children registered for home education), participate in activities at a place of paid or voluntary work. Work experience is the short term placement of students with businesses and organisations to provide insights into the industry and the workplace in which they are located, and is unpaid. Whilst undertaking work experience, students will observe different aspects of work within their chosen industry and may assist with tasks allocated by their supervisor, but should not undertake activities which require extensive training or expertise.

Students must be at least 14 years old, and enrolled in an educational establishment. Students can be placed on work experience up to a maximum of 30 days in a calendar year. The principal, in consultation with the parent/carer and student, may approve work experience of more than 30 days for a student with disability. Any work experience undertaken as part of the student’s curriculum learning is the responsibility of the school and would not be supported though a student’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant plan.

The decision to implement a work experience program rests with the school principal, in consultation with students, parents and work experience providers.

Responsibilities

Principals

  • establish the work experience program ensuring that at all times the health and safety of the student and the educational value of the program are the primary considerations
  • approve work experience arrangements only if, in the principal’s opinion, the work experience provider is suitable to provide work experience
  • approve negotiation of placements for students (living in state border areas near New South Wales or the Northern Territory) with intended work experience providers in New South Wales or Northern Territory only when suitable placements are not available in the local area
  • may delegate responsibilities relating to work experience to a nominated officer, teacher, employee or contractor engaged by the educational establishment.

Delegated officers (work experience coordinators, teachers, nominated officers, contractors)

  • develop the work experience program as a key component of a broader career education program
  • support students to find work experience positions, liaise with work experience providers, complete paperwork and ensure students are prepared for work experience
  • ensure all work experience arrangements are made in consultation with students, parents and work experience providers
  • ensure risk assessment processes are undertaken for all work experience arrangements
  • ensure all parties to the work experience agreement are aware of their responsibilities, including any reasonable adjustments which need to be made for students with disability
  • ensure all work experience arrangements comply with the Education (Work Experience) Act 1996 (Qld)
  • monitor the progress of students whilst on work experience
  • are the main point of contact between the student, work experience provider and the school
  • manage processing of any insurance claims arising from participation in work experience
  • review and evaluate the work experience program
  • maintain a register of all work experience placements. 

Parents/carers

  • provide any medical information relating to the student which may impact on the safety of the student or the safety of others in the workplace, for inclusion on the work experience agreement form
  • ensure transport arrangements are made for the student to travel to and from their work experience placement
  • accept responsibility for all expenses related to the student’s participation in the work experience placement
  • immediately notify the school and work experience coordinator if the student is unable to attend work experience.

Students

  • identify potential work experience placements of interest and provide this information to the work experience coordinator, on request
  • collect and abide by all necessary information about their work experience placement including hours of work, clothing, personal protective clothing/equipment, prior to placement
  • complete any required paperwork requested by the school and work experience provider to facilitate the placement
  • comply with the responsibilities outlined in the Work experience agreement
  • reflect on and evaluate the work experience placement at the conclusion of the program to inform post-school pathway planning.

Work experience providers

  • discuss the proposed workplace activities to be undertaken by the student with the school, together with the associated workplace procedures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the student 
  • provide the student with all necessary information about the work experience placement prior to undertaking the placement
  • where applicable, make reasonable adjustments to support students with disability to access and participate in work experience on the same basis as a student without disability
  • comply specifically with the provider’s obligations in the Education (Work Experience Act) 1996 (Qld) and the responsibilities outlined in the Work experience agreement
  • if requested, provide information relating to any incident or accident involving a school student to facilitate a claim being made against the Department of Education (DoE)’s liability and/or workers’ compensation insurance policies arising from participation in work experience.

DoE State Schools (Curriculum, Teaching and Learning)

  • process liability insurance claims received from state and non-state schools and facilitate payment of claims
  • monitor workers’ compensation insurance claims received from state schools
  • conduct the annual mandatory collection of work experience data from state and non-state schools.

Process

Work experience placements for school students process:   Develop the program Preparing for placement During placement Following placement

Image 1 Work experience placements for school students process

Development of the work experience program

Program considerations

Schools, led by the principal or delegated officer, have the flexibility to decide, in consultation with their school community, how they organise their work experience program. Participation in a work experience program should not disadvantage students with regard to the rest of their education program at school.

Considerations include:

  • Has the program been designed in the context of a broader career education program?
  • Will participation in work experience further support students to identify their senior secondary and post-schooling pathway?
  • Do placements align to the learning goals documented in students’ Senior education and training (SET) plan, and support them in their transition from school to work?
  • Will the school offer both work sampling (sampling a work environment) and structured work placement (a key component of a vocational education and training (VET) qualification provided by the school as a Registered Training Organisation)?
  • How will the work experience program be scheduled? Will students attend whole days or half days, over a specified period of time, or every day of the week for a specified period?
  • Are all work experience arrangements consistent with policies on equity, diversity and social justice, and comply with the Education (Work Experience) Act 1996 (Qld), Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) and Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwlth) (where applicable)?

Operational arrangements

Schools, led by the principal or delegated officer, should consider where work experience best fits within the school’s educational program and make provision for the operational demands associated with conducting a work experience program. All programs require time throughout the school year to:

  • support students to find an appropriate work experience provider and/or liaise with interested businesses and organisations regarding potential placements for students
  • coordinate risk assessment processes in consultation with the work experience providers 
  • prepare paperwork and ensure all parties to the work experience placement have completed, signed and returned it prior to placement
  • prepare students for their placements
  • schedule and prepare staff to visit students whilst on work experience
  • maintain an adequate record system to assist with future placements, track insurance claims and provide work experience data, on request
  • evaluate the work experience program to inform future planning
  • identify opportunities to build sustainable relationships with industry and community organisations
  • promote the benefits of the work experience program to the school community.

Preparing for work experience placements

Setting up the placement

The school decides how work experience placements are to be sourced. Schools may require students to find their own placement, or the school may maintain a database of work experience providers with whom they have developed solid relationships, who may be willing to accept the student for work experience.

Schools should refer to Section 5: Other considerations, for work experience information relating to Interstate/Territory arrangements, children registered for home education, and insurance arrangements, if applicable.

Delegated officers:

  1. contact or visit the work experience provider to:
  • discuss any special requirements for placement (e.g. personal protective clothing/equipment) and proposed workplace activities, together with risk assessment processes, to determine the suitability of the work experience placement, in consultation with parents/carers (if under 18 years of age and not an independent student) by ensuring only activities covered by the insurance policy are undertaken by students, and as far as practicable that the:
    • work undertaken is relevant and appropriate to the needs and interests of the student
    • work undertaken is without risk to the student’s health or safety
    • workplace can provide adequate supervision of the student
  • provide information about any condition (including cognitive, social, physical, sensory and/or medical) that may impair a student’s capacity to safely engage in work experience placement and ensuring reasonable adjustments are able to be made prior to the start of placement and during the placement as required
  • explain the processes related to work experience including:
    • arrangements for a school staff member to visit the work experience provider’s location during the student’s placement
    • completing any documentation (e.g. student report) required and returning it to the work experience coordinator or giving it to the student
    • reporting an incident or accident in the workplace involving the student by contacting the principal or work experience coordinator
    • lodging liability insurance claims involving the student
    • terminating the agreement, if necessary, by contacting the principal or work experience coordinator
  1. complete the school, work experience provider and placement details on the work experience agreement form before sending to:
  • the parent/carer (if under 18 years of age and not an independent student) for signing and provision of student information including medical information which may impact on the safety of the student or the safety of others in the workplace
  • the work experience provider for signing
  1. provide liability insurance and workers’ compensation information to work experience providers, students (state and non-state) and parents
  2. check the work experience agreement form for accuracy and completeness, attach any supporting documentation and obtain the principal or delegated officer’s signature
  3. provide a copy of the work experience agreement to the student, parent/carer and work experience provider, ensuring that all parties to the agreement understand how the student’s personal information contained in the work experience agreement may be held, used and disclosed
  4. retain a copy of the work experience agreement form and supporting documentation at the school.

Students:

  1. meet with the work experience provider to arrange the placement, if required by the school
  2. sign the work experience agreement form and return it to the school to confirm their agreement and acknowledge their rights and responsibilities relating to the placement.

Parents/carers:

  1. complete the work experience agreement form by providing any necessary health information relating to the student (if under 18 years of age and not an independent student), which may impact on the safety of their student or the safety of others in the workplace
  2. sign the work experience agreement form and return it to the school to confirm their agreement and acknowledge their responsibilities relating to the placement of their student, including:
  • making appropriate arrangements for their student to travel to and from work experience
  • paying any expenses related to their student’s participation in the work experience placement
  • reporting their student’s absence from work experience to the school/work experience coordinator as soon as possible on the day of the absence.

Work experience providers:

  1. supply the school with a summary of the main activities the student will undertake whilst on work experience, together with any special requirements for placement (e.g. personal protective clothing/equipment) for inclusion in the work experience agreement
  2. discuss workplace procedures relating to the activities to be undertaken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the student
  3. sign the work experience agreement form and return it to the school to confirm their agreement and acknowledge their rights and responsibilities relating to the placement of a student for work experience.

A suggested approach to risk assessment

Schools use a variety of strategies when determining the appropriateness of a workplace for work experience. Consideration of the nature of workplace activities to be undertaken by the student whilst participating in work experience will assist schools to identify and implement risk assessment activities to ensure student safety and wellbeing. Activities may include:

  • a conversation (by telephone or workplace visit) with the workplace provider about health and safety practices in place
  • conducting a work experience induction program with students prior to commencing placement
  • completing school-developed workplace health and safety processes for proposed workplace activities
  • obtaining health and safety/risk assessment documentation from the workplace provider to support proposed workplace activities.

The DoE’s Risk assessment template for student work experience placements may be used in circumstances where the school identifies that a particular activity warrants further assessment.

Preparing the student for placement

The primary considerations when preparing students for participation in work experience are the health, safety and wellbeing of the student, together with the educational value of the placement.

Schools should refer to Section 5: Other considerations, for work experience information relating to Interstate/Territory arrangements, children registered for home education, and insurance arrangements, if applicable.

Delegated officers:

  1. inform students of their rights and responsibilities including: 
  • the school’s expectations regarding attendance and behaviour
  • immediately contacting the school/work experience coordinator if they are unable to attend work experience or are late
  • following all workplace health and safety procedures in the workplace
  • reporting to the school and work experience provider any incident or accident in the workplace involving the student 
  • providing information regarding workplace harassment and unlawful discrimination, and the process to follow if a situation arises in the workplace including:
    • advising the offending person immediately that they do not want them to behave in that way
    • informing their workplace supervisor and parent
    • contacting the school principal or work experience coordinator
  1. ensure students have a clear understanding of the work being carried out in the particular workplace
  2. confirm students are aware of any specific requirements (e.g. working hours, clothing, personal protective equipment, the need for confidentiality) for participation, and support students through the process to meet the requirements
  3. provide students with any documentation to be:
  • completed by the student whilst participating in the work placement (e.g. work experience diary of activities) 
  • completed by the workplace supervisor about the student’s participation in the work experience program (e.g. student report)
  1. provide students with contact details of an appropriate staff member from school when a work experience placement is arranged to take place during vacation periods
  2. ensure students know that a member of the school staff will visit during the student’s placement to talk to both the student and the workplace supervisor
  3. ensure students understand the potential opportunities for themselves and other students that may arise from participation in work experience including school-based apprenticeships, traineeships, and employment.

During the work experience placement

Schools should refer to Section 5: Other considerations, for work experience information relating to Interstate/Territory arrangements, children registered for home education, and insurance arrangements, if applicable.

Delegated officers:

  1. arrange for a teacher or other nominated person including personnel with expertise to support students with disability, to visit students on work experience at least once during placement to monitor students’ experiences, by:
  • liaising with the school leadership team to identify teachers and appropriate release times for visits to be undertaken
  • providing visiting teachers with work experience provider contact information to facilitate the scheduling of visits
  • providing visiting teachers with site visit questions to inform conversations with work experience providers
  1. monitor the progress of work experience students with teachers who have undertaken visits to identify any issues or concerns
  2. ensure work experience providers are implementing reasonable adjustments, where appropriate, for students with additional educational needs
  3. withdraw students from placements when justified, or postpone or withdraw placement in the event of industrial dispute
  4. report complaints involving sexual abuse or assault to Child Safety Services, or to Queensland Police Service
  5. record, report and investigate all incidents and accidents involving students and retain copies of relevant documentation
  6. lodge insurance claims for liability and workers’ compensation, as required, following the process outlined in Section 5: Other considerations.

Students:

  1. commit to attending work experience every day, arriving on time, performing their duties to the best of their ability and participating enthusiastically in workplace activities
  2. follow all workplace health and safety procedures and comply with all reasonable directions given by their workplace supervisor
  3. report any workplace issues or concerns to the work experience coordinator
  4. complete any documentation (e.g. work experience diary of activities) required by the school.

Work experience providers:

  1. induct students into the workplace on their first day of placement, by:
  • explaining workplace policies regarding bullying, harassment and discrimination and any other codes of conduct relevant to the workplace
  • explaining the tasks students will undertake during the placement
  • explaining processes for reporting problems or issues to their workplace supervisor and immediately contacting the work experience coordinator
  1. provide students with relevant and appropriate training, where required, and direct supervision at all times while undertaking work-related activities
  2. allocate a workplace supervisor to the student and ensure this person is aware of their responsibilities during the placement
  3. implement reasonable adjustments where appropriate, for students with additional educational needs
  4. provide the workplace supervisor with contact details of the work experience coordinator in case an issue arises, including notification of student absence
  5. notify the school/work experience coordinator immediately of any incident or accident involving a school student, any action undertaken and damages to property involving the student during the placement
  6. arrange for the workplace supervisor to meet with the school staff member who visits the workplace to discuss the student’s progress
  7. complete any required documentation (e.g. student report) and return it to the work experience coordinator or the student.

Following the work experience placement

Schools should refer to Section 5: Other considerations, for work experience information relating to Interstate/Territory arrangements, children registered for home education, and insurance arrangements, if applicable.

Delegated officers:

  1. conduct a debriefing session with the student to:
  • discuss the student’s experiences and feedback received from the work experience provider
  • enable the student to reflect on and evaluate the placement to inform post-school pathway planning and career goals outlined in the student’s SET plan
  • identify opportunities for the placement of students in employment or training, e.g. school-based apprenticeships or traineeships
  • review the workplace health and safety practices of the work experience provider to determine the appropriateness of the placement for students in the future
  1. contact the work experience provider by email or telephone to:
  • thank them for supporting the school’s work experience program
  • request feedback about the program which may inform future work experience placements
  1. maintain a register of details of each student participating in work experience, including student’s full name, date of birth, address, and contact details (maintenance of all signed school work experience forms will fulfil this requirement)
  2. provide information to the DoE on all work experience placements in the form specified in the Corporate data collections schedule (DoE employees only)
  3. lodge insurance claims for liability and workers’ compensation, as required, following the process outlined in Section 5: Other considerations
  4. review and evaluate the work experience program to identify any issues or concerns, including those arising from work experience insurance claims, which will inform future planning and preparation of students
  5. develop procedures to be implemented for future placements to address issues or concerns identified.

Students:

  1. complete any documentation (e.g. work experience diary of activities) required by the school
  2. participate in a debriefing session about their work experience placement
  3. review and revise (if applicable) their SET plan to determine if their post-school pathway and career goals remain the same.

Work experience providers:

  1. complete and return any documentation (e.g. student report) provided by the school
  2. provide feedback about the work experience program to the school which may inform future planning

Other considerations

Interstate/territory arrangements

Reciprocal arrangements exist for Queensland students to undertake work experience in New South Wales (NSW) and the Northern Territory (NT) only. These arrangements are primarily for students who live in regions adjoining the border Queensland shares with those jurisdictions. This arrangement should only be explored when all suitable opportunities in Queensland have been considered.

The following processes must be followed for interstate/territory placements, in addition to those listed in Section 2: Preparing for work experience placements.

Delegated officers:

  • confirm that the student’s proposed work experience placement meets the criteria for interstate/territory arrangements. These criteria are:
    • the student lives in a Queensland regional area adjoining the border of either NSW or NT
    • the school has considered all suitable opportunities in Queensland
    • the proposed placement is in NSW or NT only
    • sufficient time has been provided to finalise the arrangements for placement.
  • contact the nearest host school to seek support for the placement and to make provision for one supervisory visit or some other form of contact for placements where distance or exceptional circumstances precludes teacher visits
  • complete Section A: Home School section of the Interstate/Territory work experience approval form and forward to the host school for completion of Part B: Host School section, together with the Work experience agreement form
  • ensure both forms have been received at least three weeks prior to the expected placement.

Schools are required to follow processes outlined in Section 3: During the work experience placement and Section 4: Following the work experience placement, with the exception of the requirement to make arrangements to visit the student whilst on placement. An alternative form of contact with the work experience provider must be arranged in this situation.

Children registered for home education

Children registered for home education are eligible to participate in work experience subject to the provisions in the Education (Work Experience) Act 1996 (Qld) and the processes outlined in the Work experience placements for school students procedure. The Home Education Unit’s Work experience placements for children registered for home education parent guidelines outlines parent obligations in relation to work experience. The guidelines also include a Work experience agreement form for children registered for home education. For further information, email the Home Education Unit.

Insurance arrangements

The DoE maintains insurance cover for students undertaking work experience when enrolled in a school approved by the Minister of Education (including children registered for home education). The insurance cover for work experience students (state and non-state) has certain restrictions and activities precluded from cover, and these activities may not be undertaken during work experience. The insurance policies cover students undertaking work experience placements in Queensland.

The school should support students to complete paperwork and lodge relevant documentation arising out of liability and/or workers’ compensation insurance claims relating to participation in work experience.

Liability (state and non-state schools)

Delegated officers:

  1. complete the Notice of claim – Students on work experience placement form 
  2. advise all parties that any admission of liability could prejudice the opportunity for indemnity under the policy
  3. collect relevant supporting documentation including:
  • a copy of the student’s Work experience agreement form
  • incident/accident reports, statements and photographs
  • third party correspondence (tax invoices, quotations, letters of demand)
  1. return the completed form and relevant supporting documentation to DoE State Schools Division (email: VETinSchools@qed.qld.gov.au) where it will be recorded and sent to the insurance company
  2. direct any summons, writ or legal demand received at the school to the insurance company to the DoE State Schools Division (email: VETinSchools@qed.qld.gov.au)
  3. keep records at the school of all claims made
  4. review any claims lodged to identify if additional strategies are required to prepare students prior to their attendance at work experience to minimise the re-occurrence of such incidents.

Workers’ compensation (state schools only)

Delegated officers:

  1. ensure that the student and/or parent (if student is under 18 years of age) is aware that the student must visit the doctor and obtain a medical certificate  
  2. assist the student with the completion and lodgement of the WorkCover Queensland claim form, with their attached medical certificate, to WorkCover Queensland 
  3. send a copy of the completed WorkCover Queensland claim form and the student’s Work experience agreement form to DoE State Schools Division (email: VETinSchools@qed.qld.gov.au) for tracking of claims
  4. keep records of all claims made at the school
  5. review any claims lodged to identify if additional strategies are required to prepare students prior to their attendance at work experience to minimise the re-occurrence of such incidents.

Definitions

Term

Definition

Work sampling

Provides students with the opportunity to learn actively about people at work and gain first-hand knowledge, skills and attitudes required in a workplace.

Structured work placement

Provides learning opportunities that are a part of a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification program provided by the school as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that takes place in a workplace or simulated workplace and is structured, monitored and regulated.

Student

An individual who is at least 14 years old and is enrolled in an educational establishment. This includes children who are registered for home education under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld).

Work experience provider

A person, a company, a business, an association, a local authority or any other body able to, in the opinion of the principal, provide work experience.

Vocational placement

A workplace which provides practical training and experience that is required under, and is an assessable part of, a student’s VET course, where the RTO is an external provider to the school and has a fee-for-service arrangement.  

Reasonable adjustments

An adjustment is a measure or action taken to enable a student with disability to participate in education on the same basis as other students whilst balancing the interests of all parties.

Legislation

Delegations/Authorisations

  • Nil

Other resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

4.0 Work experience placements for school students

5.0 Work experience placements for school students

6.0 Work experience placements for school students

Review date

18 December 2022
Attribution CC BY
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