Structured workplace learning (SWL) and work experience during COVID-19

Advice for all schools

All SWL and work experience placements can take place on site, providing the conditions below are met. Students must be included in the density limits for the workplace and comply with any restrictions applicable to that workplace, as well as the COVIDSafe Plan in place. 

The Department of Health has recommended that SWL and work experience placements in high risk* settings at this time (i.e. healthcare, aged care, meat works etc) be deferred until further notice unless they are required for assessment within the VCAL/VCE/VET or International Baccalaureate. 

*High-risk settings are generally defined as high-risk areas of increased risk/transmission (aged care workers/healthcare settings), high-risk industries (such as meatworks) where there are known cases/high levels of community transmission or a geographical area of high risk as determined by public health (i.e. exposure sites).

Conditions of SWL and work experience

SWL and work experience can only take place if the principal is satisfied that:

Principals should consider the following when deciding whether a SWL or work experience placement for a particular student should proceed:

  •  The extent to which it would be possible and practical for a student to maintain physical distance at the placement in accordance with health advice.
  • The level of supervision an employer would reasonably be able to provide the student to ensure safety measures are adhered to.
  • The extent to which the placement could be regularly monitored by the school.
  • The personal circumstances of the student, including any medical conditions or medical advice about the student's suitability to undertake the placement.

Where these conditions cannot be met, principals should consider cancelling or deferring SWL and work experience placements until further notice. Refer to the process for cancellation or deferral below. If SWL or work experience placements are deferred or cancelled, all efforts should be made to arrange suitable alternative arrangements for students. 

Updated SWL guidelines and work experience guidelines

The SWL Guidelines for Employers (docx - 65.92kb) and Work Experience Guidelines for Employers (docx - 62.72kb) have been revised to include advice relating to reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. Schools should provide these guidelines to all employers before placements begin.

Student and parental engagement

For all SWL and work experience placements, it is recommended that the student and the parent/guardian (if the student is under 18 years of age) complete one of the following documents, whichever is relevant,  as an acknowledgement and agreement that COVID-19 may have changed the proposed work environment.

A copy of this form should be attached to the SWL or Work Experience Arrangement Form kept at the school. 

Process for the cancellation or deferral of SWL or work experience placement

Where it is necessary to defer or cancel SWL or a work experience placement, the cancellation or deferral takes effect by written notice from a principal to an employer. Where it is necessary to cancel SWL or a work experience placement, all efforts should be made to organise alternative options for students. A sample notice is provided below:

Dear (employer),

I am writing to advise you that in-line with public health advice, SWL and work experience placements at (name of school) will be (cancelled/ deferred).

This applies to any placements that are currently in process or any new placements yet to commence. Accordingly, please note that the scheduled SWL or work experience placements of students at your workplace will not go ahead.

I would like to thank you for supporting workplace learning opportunities for our students. If you are willing to consider the possibility for placements to be re-scheduled for a later date, please contact (school SWL/work experience coordinator name & telephone or your local LLEN).

Yours sincerely,

Name of Principal

Name of school. 

More information and contacts

Additional information is available on workplace learning for secondary students.

For advice on SWL within:

For further queries about SWL or work experience placements, contact the Career Education Unit at career.education@education.vic.gov.au