For Students & Parents

Spending time in a workplace or listening to employers helps students to learn about the world of work, and their interests.  School-employer engagement activities include:

School community work (SCW) is organised by the school and involves students undertaking work that directly benefits the community.

Work experience (WE) is the short term placement of school students with employers primarily to observe and learn. Minimum student age is 15 years. Use WE option to find these opportunities.

Events (EV) can include guest speakers, work visits, mock interviews, and work-readiness preparation that help students understand employer expectations.

Vocational education and training (VET) for secondary school students

Many employers expect school leavers to have some practical experience, enabling them to quickly become productive in the work environment. VET programs help students to cross the bridge between general education and the world of work.

Undertaken as part of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) studies, VET programs enable students to develop the skills and attitudes that employers look for in workers. Including VET programs in the curriculum expands opportunities and pathways for senior secondary school students, and helps them to:

  • navigate the world of work
  • interact with others
  • plan and organise
  • identify and solve problems
  • create and innovate, and
  • work in a digital world. 

VET programs for secondary school students are typically at the Certificate II and Certificate III levels.

VET programs are delivered directly by the school, if the school is also a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Alternatively, VET programs are provided through partnership arrangements between the school and an RTO. TAFE Institutes are public RTOs, and there are commercial, private RTOs in the marketplace.

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL)

Minimum student age is 15 years. SWL is delivered as part of a Vocational Education and Training (VET) program, VCE Industry and Enterprise, or VCAL units.

SWL is on-the-job training during which a student is expected to master a set of skills or competencies related to their VET program. Many VET programs include opportunities for students to participate in SWL. Host employers supervise and instruct the students as they practise and extend the industry skills they have learned in their VET programs. Students interested in an SWL placement should seek guidance from their schools. Prior to the commencement of SWL the employer, student and parent must sign the SWL Arrangement Form.

See: SWL Arrangement Form

The appropriate occupational or workplace health and safety unit of competency in each VET program must be completed at school before the student goes on a work placement. For example, the student must be undertaking occupational health and safety training that is part of their accredited course or has completed the required occupational health and safety program (safe@work, A Job Well Done, or Work Related Skills Unit 1) prior to the commencement of the SWL.

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) VCE VET program publications contain information relating to SWL. The SWL requirements are expressed in hours and weeks and are expected to be carried out over the duration of the VCE VET program.

See: Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) VCE VET program publications

The Department of Education and Training has also published a Structured Workplace Learning Manual for Victorian secondary schools

See: More information and SWL Manual

School based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBAT)

Minimum student age is 15 years.

Students may also combine study for their VCE or VCAL with employment as an apprentice or trainee, by participating in an SBAT. An SBAT offers students the option of combining part-time employment, school and training. The program runs under a contract with an employer, has a registered training plan, and leads to a nationally recognised qualification.

Further information on all of these options, including possible credit towards VCE and VCAL studies, can be found at Workplace Learning for Secondary Students