Guide for Schools and Teachers

Experiences of work enhance students’ school studies and help them develop the knowledge and skills that employers need.

Your Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) is funded to deliver the School to Work program, which supports schools to engage with industry and provide high quality work-based learning opportunities for all students. For more information, visit the VicLLENs website.

School staff can access the School and Teacher Portal to explore and secure opportunities for students. To request access, contact your LLEN.

This portal offers 3 types of work placement and learning opportunities for students:

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) is on-the-job training, during which a student is expected to master a set of skills or competencies related to their vocational program. SWL can be part of Vocational Education and Training (VET), the VCE Vocational Major, VCE Industry and Enterprise or the Vocational Pathways Certificate.

Host employers supervise and instruct the students as they practise and extend the industry skills they have learned in the classroom.

The minimum student age for SWL is 15 years.

Schools offering SWL should read the Ministerial Order 55 – Structured Workplace Learning Arrangements. Before a student goes on a work placement, a student must have completed or be undertaking occupational health and safety (OHS) training. For information about the specific OHS training required, and to access Ministerial Order 55, see the SWL policy on the Policy and Advice Library (PAL).

SWL placements are strongly recommended for all VET programs and are compulsory for some. Visit the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s website to learn more about how SWL works, including each VET course’s SWL requirements.

Work experience is the short term placement of secondary school students, generally completed in years 9 and 10.

The student’s role is primarily to learn through observation. They may also be able to participate in entry-level tasks that do not require any specific skills or training.

The minimum student age for work experience is 14 years (noting there are some additional requirements for employers and the school when students are under the age of 15).

The student must meet appropriate occupational or workplace health and safety requirements before the work experience placement can commence.

All arrangements must comply with amended Ministerial Order 382 and the amended arrangement forms must be used.

Schools planning to offer work experience should read the Amended Ministerial Order 382 and the Department of Education’s Work experience manual. These documents and more guidance is available from the Work Experience policy on PAL.

A school based apprenticeship and traineeship (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.

The minimum student age for an SBAT is 15 years.

The minimum number of employment and training hours for a SBAT is 13 hours per week. The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) regulates apprenticeship and traineeship training contracts, and the VRQA website has more information about calculating the minimum hours for employment and training.

You can learn more about arranging a SBAT from the SBAT policy on PAL.

In government schools, SBATs can be sourced through the Head Start program. Head Start provides support to students before and during their SBAT. For more information, see Head Start apprenticeships and traineeships.

School community work is community work undertaken by students that is organised by the school and directly benefits the community. Because they are organised by the school, school community work opportunities are not advertised on this portal.

The School Community Work policy on PAL includes requirements for government schools and guidance resources, including for arranging placements and protecting the health, safety and welfare of students.