Mandatory Work Placement Principles during COVID-19

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These Principles have been developed to guide solutions to address the immediate impact of the reduced availability of work placements due to COVID-19. The goal of the Principles is to ensure that students are not unduly disadvantaged and are able to gain and be assessed on the skills and capabilities needed to equip them for work. This may require the identification of appropriate solutions to enable students to graduate where work placements specified in training products are unavailable.

The Principles have been developed to respond to the immediate challenge posed by COVID-19 in locations and situations where workplace learning is not available, and should be read in this context.

1. Solutions support the best outcome for students

Vocational education focuses on ensuring students have the required skills and competencies for employment. All parties engaged in developing solutions must consider the immediate and long-term employability prospects of impacted students.

This may involve the development of solutions jointly between Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), industry, employers, unions, licensing and accrediting bodies. The focus should be on an adaptive approach that can be variably applied depending on circumstances.

2. Solutions meet industry intent for a work placement where specified in a national training product

Mandatory workplace requirements have been included in training products following extensive national industry consultation, and are intended to support graduates to develop the skills and capabilities to operate effectively in a workplace setting.

Any modifications in response to the impacts of COVID-19 should result in assessment that is as authentic as possible.  

3. Changes are based on evidence

Student access to workplaces will vary across jurisdictions, regions, industries and qualifications. A clear case for modifying any delivery or assessment requirements must be informed by evidence, to the best extent available, that students are unable to access work placements due to changes arising from COVID-19.

4. Solutions ensure a coherent national approach

Confidence in the VET system is underpinned by meeting student needs, providing skills for industry, and understanding a workplace context, resulting in qualifications that are nationally consistent and supported by national policies and frameworks.

Where amendments to national qualifications for a nominated period, to accommodate localised requirements, these amendments will need to be clearly written, consistently applied across all jurisdictions.

5. Solutions comply with national and State/Territory health advice during the pandemic

Any solution needs to ensure the safety of students, instructors, co-workers and clients.