Student work experience


The Department of Education's Work Experience Placements for School Students (PDF, 286KB) procedure outlines the roles, responsibilities and processes for developing and implementing a work experience program.

The procedure also contains links to:

  • frequently asked questions
  • relevant legislation
  • forms
  • insurance information for schools, parents and work experience providers
  • insurance certificates of currency
  • workplace health and safety.

Types of work experience

Work sampling

A work sampling placement provides students with the opportunity to test personal vocational preferences through performing tasks in a workplace. Students select placements according to their future occupational aspirations. The student may experience the following outcomes:

  1. clarification of employment goals
  2. first-hand information about what it means to work, as well as about the work processes of the organisation and the work environment.

Example scenario: Student A completes their SET plan and indicates that they have an interest in being a chef. The school allows the student to attend work experience in a hospitality workplace for a week block to enable the student to conduct work sampling, get a feel for the hospitality industry and determine if the student wants to pursue a career as a chef.

Structured work placements

A structured work placement involves the student participating in specific tasks in the workplace as described in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Schools program. The program may or may not mandate assessment in the workplace.

Prior to the placement, negotiation occurs between the teacher, student and the work experience provider, to identify the specific tasks for the student.

Example scenario: Student B is enrolled in a Certificate I in Construction as part of a VET in Schools program delivered by the school. The student attends work experience as structured work placement, working on a construction site, to gain knowledge and practice key skills required in that industry.

Differences between work experience and vocational placement

When assessment occurs in the work environment as a mandatory part of a student's VET course of study, this is not work experience. If the attendance at a workplace is required to complete a unit/s of competency and students have compulsory assessment during these placements, this is known as a vocational placement.

Work experience Vocational placement

Formal arrangement where students participate in activities in a workplace that may or may not be related to a VET program

Hands-on work in a real work environment that is a required component of a student's VET course

Maximum of 30 days per calendar year

Length of placement is informed by the relevant Training Package

Placement details will be outlined in student's training plan

Approved by the principal of the student's educational establishment

Approved as part of the training plan in consultation with all parties


  • Public liability insurance is the responsibility of the Department of Education in all Queensland schools
  • Workers' compensation is the responsibility of the individual schooling sectors.


  • School registered training organisations are covered by the Department's public liability insurance policy
  • School registered training organisations are covered for workers' compensation by their individual schooling sectors
  • Public liability insurance and workers' compensation are the responsibility of the external RTO

May be assessed when related to a VET course

Assessment in the workplace is mandatory

Data collection

Student work experience data is collected annually as a requirement of the Department of Education Corporate Data Collection Schedule using the WebSurvey System. Schools with students aged 14 years and over will receive an email message seeking their responses by a particular date in late February.

Last updated 08 March 2021