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Workplace learning: information for RTOs

Information for registered training organisations (RTOs) who provide workplace learning to secondary school students.


There are 3 kinds of workplace learning arrangements under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006:

  • structured workplace learning
  • work experience
  • practical placements.

These arrangements are opportunities for students to get first-hand, on-the-job experience or training.

It is important to make sure that the correct type of workplace learning arrangement is entered into for each student undertaking a placement with an employer.

Structured workplace learning and work experience

Students enrolled with registered training organisations (RTOs) and undertaking the VCE, the VCE Vocational Major or Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) can participate in structured workplace learning or work experience. They cannot undertake practical placements.

Structured workplace learning (SWL) is undertaken by students aged 15 years and over. It provides students with the opportunity to integrate practical on-the-job experience and learnings with secondary study.

SWL can be part of vocational education and training (VET), the VCE Vocational Major, VCE Industry and Enterprise or the VPC.

Work experience is undertaken by students aged 14 years and over and involves short placements which are part of a student’s general secondary education.

Students are placed with employers primarily to observe and learn, not to undertake activities which require extensive training or experience. Work experience placements are not a requirement as part of a particular subject or course.

Ministerial Orders 723 and 724

Amended Ministerial Orders 723 and 724 commenced on 1 January 2017.

All arrangements made after 1 January 2017 must comply with amended Ministerial Orders 723 and 724 and the accompanying arrangement forms must be used.

Structured workplace learning

Work experience

Practical placements

Practical placements are undertaken by students in post-secondary VET courses and are intended to develop job-related skills in the area of the particular post-secondary course. They vary widely in duration and content from course to course, although the minimum requirements are set out in the Practical Placement Guidelines:

These guidelines are to assist RTOs and employers to meet their obligations with respect to arranging practical placement for students of technical and further education.

Reviewed 25 January 2023


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