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Workplace learning

Workplace learning is a broad term that covers work placement programs including structured workplace learning and work experience.

Work placement, governed by the workplace learning procedures (PDF 1.4MB) is a school assisted learning program for students at a worksite without the direct supervision of a teacher. Students will observe a variety of work as well as undertake supervised work appropriate to their age, maturity, competence and skill level.

Workplace learning provides students with valuable opportunities to develop vocational skills, knowledge and attitudes in the context of real work environments. Work placement aims to build on their school’s work and career education programs as well as other course work and career planning activities that assist students in their transition from school to work and/or further study.

Structured workplace learning

This is linked to a Vocational Education and Training (VET) program being undertaken by the young person. This program may be provided on the job, by a teacher or trainer in a school, or by another training organisation.

Structured workplace learning will often require additional assessment to meet VET qualification needs.

Work experience

This involves the young person taking part in a short-term industry placement, which will enhance their experience and understanding of a work environment and may help them choose a career.

Information for students

Prior to attending work placement, your school will ensure that you undertake an appropriate program of workplace preparation that deals with relevant aspects from the:

  • Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA)
  • Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA)
  • Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA)
  • Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA).

This program will include information about:

  • your right to undertake your work placement in a child safe environment
  • your roles, responsibilities and rights related to work health and safety in the workplace
  • insurance arrangements and implications for this work placement
  • the procedure to be followed if you experience illness, injury, unsafe workplace practices, bullying, teasing, violence, sexual harassment, alcohol or drug abuse, or any other issue that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable
  • the purpose and goals of the work placement
  • particular requirements when working with children and vulnerable people
  • any other specific requirements of the workplace provider eg industrial safety matters.

You should only undertake a work placement where:

  • you are adequately supervised by the workplace provider
  • you are safe and protected from harm
  • appropriate insurance is held by both the workplace provider and the school 
  • the procedure to be followed if you experience illness, injury, unsafe workplace practices, bullying, teasing, violence, sexual harassment, alcohol or drug abuse, or any other issue that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable
  • the purpose and goals of the work placement
  • particular requirements when working with children and vulnerable people
  • any other specific requirements of the workplace provider eg industrial safety matters.

Hours of work

Where possible your work placement should occur during the normal working hours for the industry in which you are placed. If these working hours are unusual when compared with your normal school hours you need to discuss this with your teacher. This is particularly so if you are asked to work on weekends or during school holidays because your school still has a duty of care for your safety and wellbeing.

Travelling

It is your responsibility to make arrangements for getting to and from the workplace. If travel in a work vehicle during your work placement is required this will be noted on the workplace learning agreement form.

Pay and insurance

It is important that you are not paid or receive any material or other form of reward in relation to your work placement. All insurance, legal and industrial arrangements for your work placement exist on the understanding that an employment relationship is not established.

Working with family

It is not recommended for you to undertake a work placement with a family member.

Child safe environments

You have the right to feel safe and free from harm at all times during workplace learning. Your parents/caregivers as well as workplace providers are provided with a brochure about students undertaking workplace learning. These brochures contain information about work health and safety and child protection matters.

Additionally, you must not be treated in a manner that may be psychologically harmful or that would constitute physical assault. This would include pushing, grabbing or hitting you as well as berating, humiliating or belittling. Workplace providers are required to ensure all of their staff are aware of the special responsibilities associated with working with school students.

Child protection legislation also applies to you while you are doing work placement.

Examples of unacceptable conduct by an employer or their employees include:

  • deliberate exposure of students to the discriminatory or sexual behaviour of others
  • inappropriate conversations and obscene language
  • suggestive remarks and actions, including showing of publications, electronic media or illustrations which are inappropriately suggestive
  • jokes and gestures of a discriminatory or sexual nature
  • inappropriate personal correspondence with a student
  • unwarranted and/or inappropriate touching of a student.

Relevant history screening

From 1 July 2019, people working or volunteering with children in South Australia must, by law, have a valid child-related clearance. If your work placement is in a position where it is reasonably foreseeable that you will work with children, you will need to obtain a Working with Children Check.

A Working with Children Check is an assessment conducted to determine if a person poses an unacceptable risk to children. It considers the person’s criminal history, child protection information and other information.

Working with Children Checks are started by the school, using an online process.

An DHS (DCSI) child-related check will be recognised as a Working with Children Check until it expires.

Work health and safety

You have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. Under the Work Health & Safety Act 2012 employers must make sure the workplace is as safe as possible. This includes an induction to the worksite, safe use of machinery and equipment, training you as a worker on safe work practices and providing you with personal protective equipment.

As part of the Work Health & Safety Act 2012 you as a worker are responsible for safety too. You must also take care of your own and other’s safety by following health and safety instructions, using protective equipment as required, reporting workplace hazards and cooperating with the workplace provider on health and safety issues. 

Accidents/injury

You must report any accident or injury to your workplace provider as soon as possible, even if you think it is minor at the time.

You are covered by insurance if you are hurt at work as long as you are doing an approved workplace learning program.

This means that your workplace learning agreement form has been signed by all parties before you have started in the workplace.

You may not be covered if the injury or damage was the result of your negligence or failure to follow clear and reasonable instructions.

If you feel uncomfortable about the work placement

If you feel able you should talk about your concern with the workplace supervisor. If the problem still continues or you do not feel comfortable talking with the workplace supervisor you should make contact with the teacher nominated by your school. Their contact details are listed on the workplace learning agreement form.

The emphasis during work placement is always on trying to provide a safe, interesting and valuable learning experience. This requires you taking responsibility for a number of arrangements including the following:

  • negotiate your work placement with your teacher
  • arrange the completion of the workplace learning agreement form and promptly return it to the school
  • complete the appropriate program of workplace preparation and participate in a worksite-specific induction before commencing your placement
  • behave as a worker while on placement, conforming to all the workplace rules and instructions from your workplace supervisor, including being punctual and notifying both the workplace and the school of absences
  • remember while on work placement you are representing your school, therefore school policies and codes of conduct apply at all times
  • complete activities set by the school before, during and after the placement
  • understand that the work placement may involve confidential and sensitive information which must be kept private
  • wear the appropriate footwear/ protective clothing/uniform as expected by the workplace provider
  • seek feedback from the workplace provider at the end of the placement and thank them.

 

Information for work placement providers

Benefits

Work placement providers have the opportunity:

  • to be involved in the education and training of young people
  • to enhance the professional development of their own employees as they gain experience as workplace supervisors
  • to promote goodwill in the community through closer links with schools.

The school values your contribution to the education of its students and will contact, and where possible, arrange to visit during the placement to support you and the student.

Preparing for a work placement

Before young people start their work placement, the school will make sure the student has completed an appropriate workplace preparation program that covers aspects of the:    

  • Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA)
  • Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA)
  • Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA)
  • Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA).

This preparation will cover:

  • the student’s right to undertake their work placement in a child safe environment
  • the student’s roles, responsibilities and rights related to work health and safety in the workplace
  • the insurance arrangements for the work placement
  • the procedure to be followed if the student experiences unsafe workplace practices, bullying, teasing, violence, sexual harassment, alcohol or drug abuse, or any other issue that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable
  • the purpose and goals of the work placement
  • the particular requirements when working with children and vulnerable people
  • any other specific requirements of the workplace provider eg specific industrial safety matters.

Students can only be placed in work placement where:

  • they are adequately supervised by the workplace provider
  • they are safe and protected from harm (physical, psychological and emotional)
  • the workplace provider holds appropriate public liability insurance.

Your role as a work placement provider

Prior to work placement

Ensure the workplace learning agreement form is completed by you and returned to the school, assist the school with the Work Health & Safety Checklist and contact the school if you have further questions.

Once work placement commences

Work placement providers are asked to advise the school if any of the following occur:

  • the student is unwell or injured at work
  • the student is absent, late in arriving or seeks early dismissal
  • the student displays inappropriate or unsafe behaviour
  • there are requests to renegotiate approved work dates and/or times
  • industrial action that may impact on the student.

Hours of work

Where possible the work placement should occur during the normal working hours for the industry in which students are placed. If these working hours are unusual when compared with normal school hours, this will need to be negotiated between the work placement provider, the school and the student. Particularly if students are asked to work on weekends or during school holidays because the school still has a duty of care for their safety and wellbeing.

Travelling

It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements for getting to and from the workplace. If travel in a work vehicle is required this should be noted on the Workplace learning agreement form in Section C1 and parents/caregiver permission provided.

Pay and insurance

Students engaged in work placements must not be paid or receive a material or any other reward. All insurance, legal and industrial arrangements in relation to work placements exist on the understanding that an employment relationship is not established.

Working with family

Direct supervision by family is not recommended.

Child safe environments

All students have the right to feel safe and free from harm at all times during workplace learning. Work placement providers should ensure that all their employees are aware of the special responsibilities associated with working with young people and of the consequences of any abuse. Child protection legislation applies to students undertaking workplace learning programs.

Students must not be treated in a manner that may be psychologically harmful or that would constitute physical assault.

Relevant history screening for work placement providers

There is no legal obligation for personnel within workplaces to undergo relevant history screenings when they host a student for work. Schools, however, are required to thoroughly prepare students undertaking work placements to recognise and manage potential risks. Work health and safety Students have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. Under the Work Health & Safety Act 2012 work placement providers must make sure the workplace is as safe as possible.

This must include:

  • an induction to the worksite
  • safe work practices and training on the use of machinery and equipment
  • providing personal protective equipment.

As part of the Work Health & Safety Act 2012, the student as a worker is responsible for safety too. They must take care of their own and other’s safety by following health and safety instructions, using protective equipment as required, reporting workplace hazards and cooperating with the work placement provider on health and safety issues.

Accidents/injury

If students are hurt at work they are covered by insurance as long as the workplace learning agreement form has been signed by all parties before they start in the workplace.

Students have been advised they must report any accident or injury to their workplace provider/supervisor as soon as possible, even if they think it is minor at the time.

Students may not be covered if the injury or damage was the result of their negligence or failure to follow clear and reasonable instructions.

If students feel uncomfortable about the work placement

Students have been advised to discuss any problems or issues with the workplace supervisor. They will also speak with their nominated supervising teacher about such matters.

Examples of unacceptable conduct by a workplace provider or their employees include:

  • deliberate exposure of students to the discriminatory or sexual behaviour of others
  • inappropriate conversations and obscene language
  • suggestive remarks and actions, including showing of publications, electronic media or illustrations which are inappropriately suggestive
  • jokes and gestures of a discriminatory or sexual nature
  • inappropriate personal correspondence with a student
  • unwarranted and/or inappropriate touching of a student.

Expectations of the student

To make the time spent on a work site a safe and valuable learning experience, students are required to:

  • negotiate their work placement with their teacher
  • arrange the completion of the workplace Learning Agreement form which includes a section for work placement providers and return it promptly to the school
  • complete the school’s program of workplace preparation and participate in a worksite-specific induction before commencing their placement
  • conform to all the workplace rules and instructions from their work placement supervisor
  • remember that while on work placement they are representing their school, therefore school policies and codes of conduct apply at all times
  • complete activities set by the school before, during and following the placement
  • understand that the work placement may involve confidential and sensitive information that must be kept private
  • wear appropriate clothing and/ or footwear/protective clothing/ uniform as instructed by you
  • ask for feedback from you at the end of the placement.

Information for parents and caregivers

You can help your student understand their workplace safety rights and responsibilities before and during their work placement by asking them about their learning at school, their induction into the workplace, by talking about health and safety and by sharing your own workplace health and safety experiences.

The school is required to assess each individual student's suitability for their chosen workplace and the level of risk associated with it prior to the placement.

If you have any concerns about the placement please discuss these immediately with the school. Young workers are more likely to be injured at work than any other age group because they:

  • don’t have the experience, knowledge and skills to fully understand the risks involved in new tasks
  • are still developing physically and emotionally and may be confronted by tasks beyond their current capabilities
  • may be in an environment where the level of supervision and guidance they receive is less than they are used to at school
  • may be asked to do work for which they are not properly trained
  • may not be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities in terms of workplace health and safety and may also lack confidence in asserting their rights.

Preparation for a work placement

Before young people start their work placement, the school will make sure the student has completed an appropriate program of workplace preparation that covers relevant key aspects of the:

  • Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA)
  • Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA)
  • Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA)
  • Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA)

This preparation includes:

  • the student’s right to undertake their work placement in a child safe environment
  • the student’s roles, responsibilities and rights related to work health and safety in the workplace
  • insurance arrangements for the work placement
  • the procedure to be followed if they experience illness, injury, unsafe workplace practices, bullying, teasing, violence, sexual harassment, alcohol or drug abuse, or any other issue that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable
  • the purpose and goals of the work placement
  • their particular requirements when working with children and vulnerable people
  • any other specific requirements of the workplace provider eg industrial safety matters.

Hours of work

Where possible the work placement should occur during the normal working hours for the industry in which the student is placed. If these working hours are unusual when compared with normal school hours, this will need to be negotiated between the work placement provider, the school and the student. This is particularly so if students are asked to work on weekends or during school holidays because the school still has a duty of care for their safety and wellbeing.

Travel

It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements for getting to and from the workplace.

Where travel in a work vehicle during work placement is required this must be noted on the workplace learning agreement form.

Pay and insurance

Students engaged in work placements must not be paid or receive a material or any other reward.

All insurance, legal and industrial arrangements in relation to work placements exist on the understanding that an employment relationship is not established.

Accommodation away from home during the work placement

Students attending work placement who need accommodation away from home will have to confirm the arrangements made by their parents/caregiver with their school before the placement. These circumstances must be noted by the student’s principal, who will ensure that attention has been given to all aspects of the arrangements including travel, accommodation, workplace supervision and the student’s suitability for the work placement.

Workplace safety

All students have the right to feel safe and free from harm at all times during workplace learning. Workplace providers are required to provide ‘child-safe’ workplace learning sites for students. This includes responsibilities for work health and safety, child protection matters, and an environment free of harassment and bullying. Workplace providers need to ensure all staff are aware of the special responsibilities associated with working with students.

Under the Work Health & Safety Act 2012 employers must make sure the workplace is as safe as possible. This includes the provision of a site specific induction for the student, safe use of machinery and equipment, training students as workers on safe work practices and providing personal protective equipment. As part of the Work Health & Safety Act 2012, students as workers are also responsible for safety. They must take care of their own and other’s safety by following health and safety instructions, using protective equipment as required, reporting workplace hazards and cooperating with the workplace provider on health and safety issues.

Working with family

Work placement with family is not recommended for students.

Accident or injury

Students must report any accident or injury to their workplace provider as soon as possible, even if they think it is minor at the time.

Students are covered by insurance if they are hurt at work as long as they are doing an approved workplace learning program. This means that the workplace learning agreement form must be signed by all parties before students start in the workplace.

Students may not be covered if the injury or damage was the result of their negligence or failure to follow clear and reasonable instructions.

If students feel uncomfortable about the work placement

If students feel able they should talk about their concern with the workplace supervisor. If the problem still continues or they do not feel comfortable talking with the workplace supervisor they should make contact with the teacher nominated by their school. Their contact details are listed on the Workplace learning agreement form.

For further information

Contact your child’s school.

Workplace learning forms

Accommodation away from home (PDF 247KB)

Addendum to the Workplace learning agreement form (PDF 213KB)

Maritime workplace learning agreement (PDF 295KB)

Student risk assessment summary form (PDF 255KB)

Work health safety checklist (PDF 317KB)

Work placement monitoring report (PDF 404KB)

Workplace learning agreement form (PDF 426KB)

Workplace risk assesment summary (PDF 197KB)

Contact

Further Education and Pathways

Phone: 8226 0284
EmailEducation.pathways [at] sa.gov.au