Workplace Learning

In line with the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) initiatives and in consultation with stakeholders, Education Services Australia created a new framework in 2014 for the delivery of vocational learning and Vocational Education and Training (VET) to secondary students. Preparing Secondary Students for Work reflects modern schools and workplaces and recognises that the 21st century is driven by higher demands in the workplace due to changes in technology, globalisation and socioeconomics. Schools need to equip young people through workplace learning to gain workplace skills and an understanding of the workplace while still at school.


'Work experience helps young people understand the workplace and build critical enterprise skills such as problem solving and communication'

(The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), The New Work Reality,2018, p14)

Workplace Learning COVID-19 Safe Practices for Students

WPL COVID Safe Practices for Students










Students engaged in learning in the workplace can gain first-hand knowledge of the nature of the workforce, with their experiences integrated into the curriculum in the senior secondary years of schooling.

Schools develop programs which:

  • provide direction for the safety and wellbeing of students in the workplace
  • promote equal access to work placement for all students
  • challenge students’ perceptions of paid and unpaid work and the nature of work
  • are adaptable to the changing nature of the youth labour market
  • help develop positive attitudes to lifelong learning and skill development
  • provide opportunities for students to learn about effective citizenship
  • support the application of essential skills and understandings in the workplace
  • provide opportunities for students to develop employability skills related to enterprise
  • encourage students to develop industry-related competencies
  • enable students to explore potential career choices and pathways.


'Vocational learning is most effective when it provides opportunities for secondary students to have conversations with employers and people who work in industries they are interested in, as well as direct experience in workplaces. These activities help build the confidence of students that they are on the right track.’

(ESA, 2014 p. 12)

Designing and delivering programs which support workplace learning require the collaboration of employers/workplace providers, teachers, parents and students. The key elements include:

  • establishing a partnership between the teacher, the workplace provider and the student
  • providing a child-safe and friendly environment for workplace learning
  • ensuring the student placement is assessed as part of the recognised school curriculum
  • ensuring the student has opportunities to develop and demonstrate work-related skills and competencies.

These procedures provide the basis for unpaid workplace learning programs for all eligible South Australian students when they are on work placement and not under direct supervision of a teacher.

Workplace Learning Procedures

The Workplace Learning Procedures is for use in all South Australian schools planning and implementing Workplace Learning programs.

Version 2.0 of the Workplace Learning Procedures was endorsed in August 2016, for use by schools in 2017. Workplace Learning Procedures Version 2.1 is intended for use in schools from Term 1 2020 and contains some minor revisions to update terminology, relevant Acts and procedures. More substantial changes were made to sections relating to child safety and Working with Children Checks and introducing a clearer process for documenting risk management.

Essential information contained in Child Safe Environments: Principles of Good Practice (2012, updated 2019) has also been included.

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For further information, please contact:
Louise Murphy, Education Advisor – Pathways & Transition