Work experience

Work experience is the short-term placement of secondary students in a work place. Students are placed with employers primarily to observe and learn - not to undertake activities which require extensive training or experience. The placement is designed to provide insights into industry and the world of work.

Work experience is generally undertaken in Years 9 or 10, and is not undertaken as part of an accredited VET or VCAL program. Ministerial Order 54 contains information on work experience arrangements and the work experience arrangement form.

Structured Workplace Learning is on the job training during which a student is expected to master a set of skills or competencies, related to an accredited course of study. These courses are usually VET courses taken as part of a student's VCE or VCAL.

OHS requirements

All students are required to complete an occupational health and safety program before undertaking work experience. This is done through safe@work, the Victorian health and safety package for secondary school students.

safe@work provides students with information about occupational health and safety hazards and laws, and practical solutions to some common health and safety problems. This includes gaining an understanding of their responsibilities as work experience students in the work place, and of the responsibilities of employers.

safe@work contains a General Module on workplace health and safety and well as industry specific modules. Students are required to complete the general module and the industry module specific to the area that they are undertaking work experience. Students must read and understand the information, prior to undertaking the test.

There are Awards of Attainment for the General Module and for each of the Industry Modules. These can be printed off the Internet when students answer at least 12 out of 16 questions correctly. The Award of Attainment is only valid when it has been stamped by the school and signed by the principal.

Awards of Attainment are only valid for twelve months. After twelve months a student who wishes to undertake work experience in the same industry area, must complete the Review Module and redo that Industry Module. If the student is planning to undertake work experience in a different industry, they must satisfactorily complete the Review Module and the Industry Module relevant to that industry.

Work experience and structured workplace learning arrangements are legally binding arrangements entered into by a principal of a school, parent, student and an employer. Schools, students, their parents and employers must comply with the relevant Ministerial Orders relating to work experience and structured workplace learning when making these arrangements.

Further information

Schools must refer to the Victorian Department of Education and Training's guidelines and manuals on workplace learning, available at:

This website contains the latest information about workplace experience and structured workplace learning, as well as links to resources.