This policy sets out the requirements for schools implementing work experience placements for secondary school students.
- Work experience is the short-term placement of secondary school students with employers.
- Work experience is generally undertaken in Years 9 or 10.
- It is intended to give students insights into the industry and the workplace.
- Schools must ensure they implement this policy and the associated work experience manual when planning for and conducting work experience arrangements, to ensure compliance with legislation.
Work experience is the short-term placement of secondary school students, generally from Years 9 and 10, with employers to provide insights into the industry and the workplace in which they are located. It provides students with the valuable opportunity to:
- develop employability skills
- explore possible career options
- understand employer expectations
- increase their self-understanding, maturity, independence and self-confidence.
Students are placed with employers primarily to observe and learn – not to undertake activities which require extensive training or expertise.
Work experience arrangements
All arrangements for work experience must comply with Ministerial Order 382: Work Experience and the accompanying arrangement forms must be used from the Resources tab.
Work experience manual
The department has developed the work experience manual, to support schools to comply with Ministerial Order 382. Schools must use this manual when planning for and conducting work experience arrangements. Refer to:
The Work Experience Manual outlines all the steps required for work experience arrangements under Ministerial Order 382 including:
- student age requirements
- required forms
- timing, duration and hours of work
- permitted number of work experience students per employer
- travel and accommodation arrangements and responsibilities
- communication between the school and the student
- payment and taxation
- WorkSafe and public liability insurance
- interstate placements
- overseas students
- roles and responsibilities
- student safety and welfare.
Work experience arrangement form
The Work experience arrangement form must be completed and signed before the work experience commences. It must be signed by:
- the employer
- the student
- the parent/guardian of the student – if the student is under 18 years of age
- the Principal or acting principal – this authority cannot be delegated to a deputy principal or other member of staff.
The principal must ensure a copy of the signed arrangement form is provided to each party. The principal should retain the original copy.
Variations or amendments to the arrangement form may only be made in writing and must be signed by the:
- parent/guardian – if the student is under 18 years of age
Work experience travel and accommodation form
The Work experience travel and accommodation form must be used:
- if it is proposed that the student may need to undertake vehicle travel with their employer and/or supervisor during the arrangement, including travel to or from the workplace
- if the student is required to stay in accommodation other than their normal place of residence while undertaking work experience.
This form must be signed:
- for travel – by both the employer and the parent/guardian, or the student if they are aged 18 years or over
- for accommodation – by the parent/guardian, or the student if they are aged 18 years or over.
Structured Workplace Learning Statewide Portal
The department has established the Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) Statewide Portal – a website which provides students and teachers with a single, easy to navigate information and referral point for work-based learning opportunities offered by a diverse range of employers.
Searching on the portal can be done by:
- VET certificate.
If you are a student or teacher looking for work-based learning opportunities, including work experience and structured workplace learning, refer to the SWL Statewide .
The 31 Local Learning and Employment Networks (Victorian LLENs) have been funded to deliver the School to Work Program and facilitate student access to work-based learning placements which are tailored to local priorities and employment opportunities. To find your nearest LLEN, refer to the Local Learning and Employment .
Occupational health and safety
Prior to commencing work experience, students must satisfactorily complete occupational health and safety (OHS) training, either through:
- for students with disabilities or additional needs – A Job Well .
It is the responsibility of the principal to determine which OHS program is the most appropriate for the student to undertake.
Employers and students participating in work experience should continue to follow COVIDSafe practices in line with public health guidance and recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Employers should ensure that students are aware of the workplace’s COVIDSafe Plan, if available, as part of their induction to the workplace. Students should comply with any control measures implemented in the workplace to manage the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Some employers, particularly in the healthcare and aged care industries, may have a workplace vaccination policy that requires a student on placement to provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status to attend work onsite. Students and schools are encouraged to check with employers if a vaccination policy is in place before making a work experience arrangement. If a student refuses to disclose their vaccination status to an employer and the employer is not comfortable with the placement proceeding on that basis, then the employer may choose not to proceed with the placement. If this occurs, all efforts should be made to organise alternative arrangements for students.
For other department policy, guidance and advice on school operations during COVID-19, schools can also refer to COVID-19 advice.
Child Safe Standards
The Child Safe Standards are compulsory minimum standards for all Victorian schools to ensure they are well prepared to keep children and young people safe and protect them from abuse. Ministerial Order 1359 – Implementing the Child Safe Standards – Managing the risk of child abuse in schools provides the framework for child safety in schools.
The Child Safe Standards require schools to put in place systems and processes to help prevent harm to students in all school environments, including workplace learning environments where students undertake:
- work experience
- structured workplace learning
- school community work (volunteering)
- school based apprenticeships and traineeships.
For more information, visit:
For assistance with queries relating to work experience arrangements, please contact the relevant organisation as outlined below.
For government schools
Career Education Unit, Senior Secondary Pathways Reform Taskforce, Department of Education and Training, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Catholic schools
Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools, Jenny Wilson, email: email@example.com, phone: 03 9267 0253
For independent schools
Independent Schools Victoria, Peter Roberts, email: Peter.Roberts@is.vic.edu.au, phone: 03 9825 7200
The short-term placement of secondary school students with employers.
Reviewed 14 April 2023