Work Placement Coordination

Program Guidelines

These guidelines have been developed to support the provision of Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) for students undertaking mandatory work placement as part of a NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC) Industry Curriculum Framework (ICF) vocational education and training (VET) course.


1. Structured Workplace Learning in NSW Schools

Work placement is a mandatory HSC requirement for a range of HSC VET courses including the 13 ICF courses: Automotive, Business Services, Construction, Electrotechnology, Entertainment Industry, Financial Services, Hospitality, Human Services, Information and Digital Technology, Metal and Engineering, Primary Industries, Retail Services, and Tourism Travel and Events. These ICF VET courses are available to students in Years 11 and 12 and also to students in Years 9 and 10 in appropriate circumstances through the early commencement pathway for Stage 6 VET courses. Guidelines for access to VET courses by students in Years 9 and 10 are available at:

The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) Principles Underpinning Work Placement in the Higher School Certificate are provided at Appendix One.

2. NSW State Advisory Committee for Work Placement Coordination

The Structured Workplace Learning Coordination Program is advised by the NSW State Advisory Committee for Work Placement Coordination. Membership of this group includes the NSW Department of Education (DoE), the Catholic Education Commission NSW, the Association of Independent Schools of NSW, the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW and major stakeholder groups such as the Australian Industry Group and the NSW Business Chamber.

3. Management of The Structured Workplace Learning Coordination Program

The Structured Workplace Learning Coordination Program is managed state-wide by Secondary Education - Senior Pathways - in the NSW DoE on behalf of the Catholic Education Commission NSW, the Association of Independent Schools in NSW and TAFE NSW.

In this role, the Secondary Education-Senior Pathways manages:

4. Work Placement Service Providers

4.1 Definition

Work Placement Service Providers are non-government, not for profit organisations contracted to support and coordinate mandatory work placements for students undertaking HSC ICF VET courses within a specified service region.

Work Placement Service Providers work with local schools with secondary enrolments, TAFE NSW colleges and campuses, and employers to coordinate HSC ICF VET work placements for all eligible students within the service region.

4.2 Service Regions

There are 16 service regions across NSW. Each region will be serviced according to a separate Funding Agreement for each Work Placement Service Provider. An organisation may hold Funding Agreements for more than one service region. For further information about Service Regions see Appendix Two.

4.3 Funding Agreements

This is a four year program. Subject to the Recipient meeting all of the requirements of this Funding Agreement, as determined by the Department of Education, further funding may be available for each of the next three years. The Recipient will be required to enter into a Funding Agreement for each further term.

The Funding amounts for each of the next yearly periods subsequent to the Initial Funding Period will be determined each year by the NSW State Advisory Committee for Work Placement Coordination.

The funding applicable to each service region is calculated annually and is fixed for that year. The value of the funding is calculated using a funding weighting across a number of factors. These include geographical remoteness, (based on Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) mapping) and historical student demand for structured workplace learning. Student activity is used to provide an indicative demand for the current school year but cannot be seen to an absolute target.

The student activity level reflects all home school activity and is indicative of the number of students likely to require placement for the year of the contract but should not be seen as an absolute level of activity. More students may require placement and some students may require additional placement.

4.4 Protection of Children

Work Placement Service Providers must comply with the provisions of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012, and all related legislation from time to time (Child Protection Legislation) including without limitation:

  • ensuring that personnel, and volunteers performing work or persons undertaking practical training who are or will be assigned to work on the program comply with the Child Protection Legislation
  • carrying out employment screening of each worker who is or will be assigned to work on the program, provided that any worker who declines being screened does not work on the program
  • notifying NSW DoE of any relevant disciplinary proceedings in relation to the Child Protection Legislation against any worker who is or will be assigned to work on the program or of any applicant in relation to the program is rejected for child-related employment
  • not assign, or continue the assignment of, a prohibited person in relation to the program or allow such prohibited person to undertake work in relation to the program.
  • Work Placement Service Providers have an obligation to take reasonable steps to minimise risk to students.

4.5 Criminal Record Checks

Work Placement Service Providers must ensure that a criminal record check is undertaken by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for all its Personnel, which includes:

(1) its Personnel who are engaged to work on the program

(2) volunteers who work on the program; and

(3) any personnel within its organisation who may come into contact with young people participating in the program.

4.6 Professional Development

Work Placement Service Providers will undertake relevant professional development for staff who are engaged to work on the Structured Workplace Learning Coordination Program.

Work Placement Service Providers will also participate in regular network meetings with neighbouring service regions and with education sector representatives.

The Funding Agreement for each service region will identify an indicative funding level to be allocated for professional development activities which includes including attendance by relevant staff at workshop events convened by DoE Secondary Education- Senior Pathways.

4.7 Reporting Requirements

Work Placement Service Providers are accountable for service delivery in their Service Region and are required to adhere to reporting requirements which form part of the Funding Agreement.

Work Placement Service Providers will maintain accurate, appropriate records of their work with schools, TAFE NSW Institutes and employers.

Work Placement Service Providers are required to complete online, milestone progress reports and an annual report. Information from students, schools and employers about the quality of the work placement will also be collected on the work placement website:


5. Implementation of Structured Workplace Learning Coordination

On behalf of schools and TAFE NSW Institutes, Work Placement Service Providers coordinate work placement opportunities that encourage the practise, development and refinement of HSC ICF VET competencies in a workplace setting.

Within a service region, the following activities carried out by the Work Placement Service Providers support the coordination of work placement:

5.1 Working with schools and TAFE NSW Institutes

  • determining current and future needs for work placements
  • supporting the implementation of to promote work placement readiness for students undertaking work placement
  • providing participating schools and TAFE NSW Institutes, in a timely fashion, with appropriate work placement opportunities to enable schools and TAFE colleges to match students and ensure satisfactory completion of work placement
  • liaising with, and giving assistance as required
  • ensure that additional learning and support needs of students are appropriately supported in the workplace
  • maintenance of effective communication with education stakeholders (participating schools, TAFE NSW Institutes and where relevant, private providers)

5.2 Working with Employers

  • promotion of the work placement agenda to engage business and industry
  • recruitment of suitable employers to host work placements
  • induction of host employers including student safety and supervision and the protection of young people as well as promoting employer compliance with the Workplace Learning Policy for Secondary Students in Government Schools and TAFE NSW Institutes Policy (reference number PD/2005/0016/V04), relevant procedures and related mandatory documents. Non-government schools will also have policy documents relating to this work.
  • reinforcing requirements of work placement including the need for supervision of students by competent persons who are adequately briefed for the task
  • students with disability or learning and support needs should be provided with opportunities on the same basis as other students - liaising with employers around adjustments and accommodations that students with additional needs may require
  • outlining the work placement feedback facility for employers at
  • introducing to employers and promoting the resource and associated documentation
  • participating in relevant local community networks including Work Placement Service Provider forums to promote structured workplace learning
  • annual evaluation of employers (taking into account feedback from stakeholders) to maintain program quality
  • maintenance of effective communication with stakeholders in business and industry as well as participating host employers.


5.3 Work Placement Readiness

Work Placement Service Providers will liaise with schools and TAFE NSW Institutes regarding work placement readiness. Suitable pre-placement activities must be provided by the school or where relevant, by the TAFE NSW Institute or private or community RTO to prepare all HSC ICF VET students for work placement and to optimise the planned workplace learning experience.

Go2workplacement is an online work placement preparation resource for students enrolled in HSC ICF VET courses to get the most out of their work placement by identifying the skills and competencies they want to focus on during their time in the workplace. See

Work Placement Service Providers will work with schools and TAFE to implement the resource and will promote go2workplacement to participating employers in their service region.

5.4 Work Placement Reference Group

Work Placement Service Providers will establish a reference group for each of its service regions, with membership drawn from VET coordinators/teachers, school principals, employers and or industry representatives. The role of the Reference Group is to encourage feedback from education and training providers and host employers to support monitoring, review and continuous improvement of work placement delivery within a designated service region. The Work Placement Reference Group must meet a least twice a year. On request, minutes of Work Placement Reference Group meetings must be provided to the Department of Education. The Work Placement Reference Group does not replace the functions of the WPSP's Board of Management.

6. Payment to Students

Students in NSW undertaking Structured Workplace Learning are not paid employees and therefore host employers are not required to make any payment to them. Work Placement Service Providers must ensure that host employers are aware of this requirement and the impact of any payment on the education sectors' insurance and indemnity provisions for host employers.

7. Insurance Requirements

Each of the education sectors maintain insurance and indemnity arrangements to cover injury to students, loss or damage occasioned by students and indemnity arrangements for host employers. Conditions apply. As is standard business practice, host employers must have current public liability insurance coverage.

8. Mandatory Work Placement Documents and Procedures

There are mandatory documents and procedures that must be used in the coordination of mandatory work placements. These include a Student Placement Record (SPR) that must be completed by all parties. A separate Student Placement Record is generated for each student work placement. This form records contact details, arrangements and approvals relating to the student's placement. The Student Placement Record also records information regarding any disability, learning and support needs, medical condition, allergy or restriction that may affect the safety and supervision of the student in the workplace. It will indicate if employers need to make adjustments to accommodate a student's additional support needs or disability.

It is mandatory to provide a guide to employers to explain the expectations of host employers and their responsibilities. These are provided to Work Placement Service Providers by each education sector. Work Placement Service Providers play the lead role in introducing and explaining the guide/s to prospective host employers and in highlighting key responsibilities of employers and their staff, for example, in relation to student safety, supervision and child protection issues.

APPENDIX ONE: Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) Principles Underpinning Work Placement in the Higher School Certificate

The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW has identified the following principles relating to Structured Workplace Learning:

Principle 1 - Work placement must have a clearly articulated and documented purpose. The structure of the work-based learning experience needs to be planned and developmental.

A range and number of purposes are possible including, for example:

  • learning about a particular industry, workplace culture and career opportunities
  • practicing skills learnt off the job
  • developing new skills
  • improving work-related skills
  • developing skills including employability skills such as teamwork, using technology and problem-solving
  • achieving entry-level competencies
  • achieving workplace performance of particular competency standards
  • assessing in a realistic environment or allowing for holistic assessment
  • providing opportunities to build skills in a developmental manner from the simple to the complex
  • providing opportunities for the learner to reflect upon the workplace learning experience in the context of individual current knowledge and understanding
  • encouraging students to undertake further education and training.

Principle 2 - The scheduling of the work placement should reflect student readiness and should complement off-the-job learning programs. The scheduling of the work placement should take account of:

  • whether or not students are workplace-ready in terms of the competencies they will need to develop and demonstrate in the workplace
  • how the timing of the work placement links to overall course planning
  • the degree of flexibility available at both the workplace and the school
  • how the alignment of both on- and off-the-job competencies can be best achieved.

An individual work placement program focusing on a developmental approach should be negotiated with the workplace supervisor/employer. This approach should focus on students moving from simple to more complex tasks. Dependence on supervision should reduce over time as students move towards greater independence in the workplace. The ultimate goal of a work placement should be competence and autonomy in the range of tasks required for the job being undertaken.

Principle 3 - Work placement should be relevant to the VET courses being undertaken.

The 'real' tasks being undertaken in the workplace should complement the tasks and learning being undertaken by the students in their VET courses at school. Work placement may also provide students with the opportunity of having learning outcomes/units of competency assessed in the workplace by accredited trainers and assessors.

Principle 4 - Work placement can provide opportunities for work-based assessment.

Not all industry curriculum frameworks specify that it is mandatory for competencies to be assessed in the workplace. Assessment events should relate to overall course planning and the purpose of the work placement. In a competency-based course, assessment of competencies is criterion-referenced. This means that a participant's performance is judged against a prescribed standard - not against the performance of other participants.