Nowadays, most schools offer a range of opportunities for students to engage with the world of work. This might involve spending time in a workplace, participating in school-community work, or in paid part-time employment. For these programs to be successful, it is vital to have the support of quality host workplaces and employers.
Becoming a host employer or involving yourself in school activities is a great opportunity for you to:
- participate in the education, career development and training of young people in your community
- talk to students about your industry, its career paths and future directions
- promote the attitudes and skills you want in your workforce and identify young people with potential for your industry
- strengthen your links with the community and raise your business profile
- increase the supervisory, training and mentoring skills of your staff.
Types of activities that you can support include:
School community work (SCW) is community work undertaken by students which is organised by the school and directly benefits the community. The activity is approved by the school, commonly undertaken by a group of students with on-site support from a school staff member. These activities could be in support of a one-off event, or through regular attendance over a period of weeks.
Work experience (WE) is the short term placement of secondary school students, generally from Years 9 and 10. The host workplace agrees to provide appropriate supervision in an approved environment, usually for a period of one or two block weeks.
The student’s role is primarily to observe and learn, however they may be able to participate in entry-level tasks that do not require any specific skills or training. The minimum student age is 15 years unless exceptional circumstances apply.
Structured workplace learning (SWL) placements provide students with the opportunity to integrate on-the-job experience with secondary study. It is delivered as part of Vocational Education and Training (VET – see below), VCE Industry and Enterprise, or VCAL Units. Host employers supervise and instruct the students as they practise and extend the industry skills they have learned in their Vocational programs. Minimum student age is 15 years.
School based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBAT) offer students the option of combining part-time employment, school and training. The program involves a contract with an employer, a registered training plan and leads to a nationally recognised VET qualification. Minimum student age is 15 years.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Most schools offer students the opportunity to undertake a VET program as part of their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). VET programs are designed by industry and provide a clear line of sight to the knowledge and skills required in the workplace.
A key component of VET programs is structured workplace learning (SWL), on-the-job training during which a school student is expected to master a set of skills or competencies related to their VET program. Host employers supervise and instruct the students as they practise and extend the industry skills they have learned in their VET programs.
Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLEN)
The role of the 31 organisations that comprise the LLEN is to work with employers and schools to identify and facilitate access to appropriate school-employer engagement activities that helps school students find work placements and promotes opportunities for them to learn more about the world of work.
This Portal promotes the opportunities that the LLEN source from local employers. Schools and students can access the portal 24/7 to find opportunities that help them better connect to the world of work.
To learn more, contact your Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN)
Additional Resources, including guidelines for hosts can be found at Workplace Learning for Secondary Students