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Structured workplace learning and work experience during COVID-19

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) and work experience can take place at this time, subject to student health, safety and welfare requirements being satisfied.

Advice for all schools

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) and work experience are an important part of students' education, providing them with valuable opportunities to:

  • develop employability skills
  • explore possible career options
  • connect their learning to the world of work
  • understand employer expectations, and
  • increase their self-understanding, maturity, independence, and self-confidence.

Students can take part in SWL and work experience placements.

Students must adhere to the workplace's COVIDSafe plan as well as any COVID-19 restrictions applicable to the workplace.

Conditions of SWL and work experience

SWL and work experience can only take place if the principal is satisfied that:

Principals should consider the following when deciding whether an SWL or work experience placement for a particular student should proceed:

  • The extent to which it would be possible and practical for a student to maintain physical distancing at the placement by health advice.
  • The level of supervision an employer would reasonably be able to provide the student to ensure safety measures are adhered to.
  • The extent to which the placement could be regularly monitored by the school.
  • The personal circumstances of the student, including any medical conditions or medical advice about the student's suitability to undertake the placement.

Where these conditions cannot be met, principals should consider cancelling or deferring SWL and work experience placementsExternal Link . If SWL or work experience placements are deferred or cancelled, all efforts should be made to organise alternative arrangements for students.

Updated SWL guidelines and work experience guidelines

The SWL Guidelines for EmployersExternal Link and Work Experience Guidelines for EmployersExternal Link have been revised to include advice relating to reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. Schools should provide these guidelines to all employers before placements begin.

Student and parental engagement

For all SWL and work experience placements, it is recommended that the student and their parent/guardian (if the student is under 18 years of age) complete one of the following documents, whichever is relevant, as an acknowledgement and agreement that COVID-19 may have changed the proposed work environment or may do so in the future.

A copy of this form should be attached to the SWL or Work Experience Arrangement Form kept at the school.

Process for the cancellation or deferral of SWL or work experience placement

Where it's necessary to defer or cancel an SWL or a work experience placement, the cancellation or deferral takes effect by written notice from a principal to an employer. If an SWL or a work experience placement needs to be cancelled, all efforts should be made to organise alternative options for students.

For placements organised through the SWL Statewide Portal, amend the placement status to "On Hold" for deferred placements and to "Cancelled" for cancelled placements.

A sample written notice is provided below:

Dear (employer),

I am writing to advise you that in line with public health advice, SWL and work experience placements at (name of school) will be (cancelled/ deferred).

This applies to any placements that are currently in process or any new placements yet to commence. Accordingly, please note that the scheduled SWL or work experience placements of students at your workplace will not go ahead.

I would like to thank you for supporting workplace learning opportunities for our students. If you are willing to consider the possibility for placements to be re-scheduled for a later date, please contact (school SWL/work experience coordinator name & telephone or your local LLEN).

Yours sincerely,

Name of principal

Name of school.

Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination orders

Under Pandemic OrdersExternal Link made by the Minister for Health, some workers will need to provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status to their employer to work onsite. These workers include students undertaking SWL and work experience at:

  • workplaces that are the subject of these Orders; or
  • when undertaking workplace learning outside of the home in industries or occupations that are the subject of these Orders.

For further information, refer to Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination orders and requirements for Structured Workplace Learning and work experienceExternal Link .

More information and contacts

More information is available on workplace learning for secondary studentsExternal Link .

If students have any queries or concerns, they should ask their supervisor or employer for advice in the first instance. If they feel they cannot ask the supervisor/employer, they should speak to their school's SWL/Work Experience Coordinator immediately.

The 31 Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs) have been funded to facilitate student access to structured workplace learning placements across Victoria. LLENs can provide support and advice on work experience opportunities and connections to local employers. To find your nearest network, visit the Local Learning and Employment NetworkExternal Link .

For advice on SWL within:

For queries about SWL or work experience placements, contact the Career Education Unit at career.education@education.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 16 June 2022

Coronavirus Victoria

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