Pre-accredited work experience is designed to be a ‘step up’ program which will prepare learners for future accredited training and employment.
Work experience guidelines and agreement
The guidelines support work experience that is safe, easily administered, and valuable for learners, providers and industry. Download the guidelines as well as a template for a pre-accredited work experience agreement and some additional information:
The recording below provides further information to complement the guidelines.
Learn Local providers should only consider including pre-accredited work experience activities if they:
- are delivering either employability skills or vocational pre-accredited programs
- have the capacity to provide trainer supervision for all on-site host employer activities.
The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) provides insurance to Learn Local providers via their Community Service Organisation (Education) package. It includes personal accident and public liability policies.
This package provides coverage for learners participating in pre-accredited work experience, based on the following conditions:
- Pre-accredited work experience is undertaken as a group, and is supervised by a Learn Local trainer at all times.
- Pre-accredited work experience is directly linked to the pre-accredited A-frame.
- Pre-accredited work experience does not exceed 10% of total pre-accredited course delivery hours.
- A formal agreement is in place between the Learn Local provider and the host employer.
The ACFE Board does not recommend that Learn Local providers facilitate individual unsupervised work experience placements. Unsupervised work experience placements as a component of pre-accredited training pose a risk to providers and host employers.
From a legislative perspective, there are issues at both the Commonwealth and State levels.
The Fair Work Act does not recognise pre-accredited training under the provisions for work experience. There's also additional exposure for host employers who engage pre-accredited learners in activities that could be deemed 'productive work.'
The Education and Training Reform Act provides specific guidelines for the administration of:
- work experience in schools
- structured workplace learning (VETiS)
- practical placements (RTOs).
For the duration of these placements, the student is considered to be an employee of the Department of Education and Training, and is insured accordingly.
The Workplace Rehabilitation Compensation Act provides a framework for compensation due to workplace injury, including a definition of vocational placements that is specifically aligned to the Education and Training Reform Act.
As pre-accredited training is not included in either of these key pieces of legislation, WorkCover does not provide protection to host employers of pre-accredited work experience.
The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) provides insurance to Learn Local providers via their Community Service Organisation (Education) package, which includes personal accident and public liability policies.
The package provides full coverage for Learn Local providers hosting work experience within their own organisation. However, this full coverage does not extend to externally-placed unsupervised work experience placements.
This is because the package is not a worker’s compensation policy, and does not provide the same protection as is required by the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.
While there may be some limited coverage for the learner, the host employer is exposed for any occurrences beyond the scope of the policies. For example, the VMIA policy does not provide coverage for:
- mental health-related claims such as stress leave
- aggravation of pre-existing injuries
- lifetime disabilities
- return to work costs.
This leaves the host employer responsible for this insurance coverage, and exposes them to potential action under the Fair Work Act.
Alternate models of work experience in pre-accredited training
The model of pre-accredited work experience detailed in the pre-accredited work experience guidelines is the model endorsed by the ACFE Board. It's safe, supported by legislation, covered by insurance and aligned to the intended cohort of pre-accredited training.
If Learn Local providers would like to conduct a different model of work experience in pre-accredited training, the Board recommends that Learn Local providers either:
- inform the host employer that they will need to cover the activity with their own insurance policy, and ensure the host employers have adequate insurance coverage to support the activities
- explore other arrangements to provide adequate insurance coverage.
Reviewed 21 April 2021