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Structured Workplace Learning

Structured Workplace Learning

If you’re studying a practical subject online, a structured work placement will give you the chance to get the hands-on experience that will give you an edge in your chosen industry.

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What is work placement?

Many of our courses involve Structured Workplace Learning - often called work placement. This means that during your course you will complete some of your learning activities (and be assessed) in a real workplace, giving you the chance to develop and demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have been learning in your course.

Structured Workplace Learning could also give you valuable insight into the industry in which you are working. They also help you develop contacts that could assist you on your future job search. Many students tell us that work placement is the most fulfilling aspect of their course!

At Open Colleges students are responsible for sourcing and securing their own work placement.

Firstly, you'll need to identify and secure a relevant workplace. Many students undertake work placement at their current work place (if suitable) or through family, friends of colleagues. We have a range of support resources and services to help you with this process - see 'How does Open Colleges help?' below.

Your work placement will need to be undertaken in Australia at a workplace, and with a suitably qualified supervisor, that has been approved by Open Colleges.

Once you have a work placement, you'll do a series of prescribed tasks and activities over time, and at an appropriate standard, under the guidance of a qualified Workplace Supervisor. You'll record these tasks in a logbook and complete an attendance report.

An Open Colleges Workplace Assessor will set up check points with you and your supervisor to check on your progress. You might also need to create a workplace portfolio, which is used to collect evidence of your workplace experiences.


Cost of work placement

All costs of work placement including any placement fees charged by the host organisation (whether to the student or OC), cost of statutory checks and vaccinations, travel, accommodation and uniforms are the responsibility of the student.

For those who might need assistance in securing a work placement, there's support to help you along the way, including:

  • Structured Workplace Learning Support Kit: an online guide available in OpenSpace that provides general advice, tips and resources on how to secure a work placement
  • Workplace Assessment Guide: specific for each course that has Structured Workplace Learning, this guide provides more detail about requirements for that particular course (see 'Where can I find more information'? below for how to access the guide)
  • Academic Support Team: provide support for enrolled students who are experiencing difficulties sourcing work placement. Call the support team on 1300 650 011 for a referral to them. 

Check the course detail box on the course page you are interested in. If the delivery mode is online with work placement, then the course includes Structured Workplace Learning.

The course guide and Workplace Assessment Guide/​Work Placement Overview ​contain specific details about the work placement requirements for the relevant particular course. You can download these documents by going to the particular course page and filling in your contact details - we'll  send you an email with these documents available for download.

You can also read our Work Placement Policy, located under the Key Student Information page of our website.

You can also call our friendly enrolment consultant on 1300 853 033. They can help you with any questions you may have about work placement (prior to enrolment) or studying with Open Colleges.

All costs of work placement, including any placement fees charged by the host organisation (whether to the student or Open Colleges), cost of statutory checks like Police checks and vaccinations, travel, accommodation and uniforms are the student’s responsibility.

It is important to remember that there are different times for starting your work placement, depending on the type of course you are doing. 

For example, while it is recommended to start looking for a placement in study period one, you might not be able to commence your work placement until study period three. This is because you need to build up your knowledge and skills, and have time to learn (and practice your skills) before you go into the workplace. 

Please check the Workplace Assessment Guide for more information specific to your course.

Finding a work placement is a bit like looking for a new job! Follow the steps below to find a work placement that will enhance your skills and get you some valuable on-the-job experience.


There are lots of ways you can look for a host organisation for your work placement:

  • Research organisations in your local area.
  • Look on job websites like SEEK, or Yellow Pages.
  • Look on Social Media pages
  • Ask family and friends.
  • Go in and experience the service provided by the organisation to see if it’s something you would be interested in.


You’ve found a potential host organisation and you need to approach them but you’re not quite sure how to go about it. We recommend the following:

  • Do a bit of research to find out who the best person in the organisation would be to contact. 
  • Compile an email to introduce yourself and approach them about the possibility of completing your work placement.
  • Make sure your resume is up-to-date and attach it with your email.
  • Include any other paperwork that might be relevant.
  • If you don’t hear back in around 3-5 days, follow-up with a call.

 And finally, be prepared to keep trying and don’t get too downhearted if you hear a no! Not all organisations have time to reply to offer work placements.

Yes. We recommend checking with your host organisation first or having a look through the Workplace Assessment Guide to see which checks and/ or vaccinations you will need to get, but there are a few standard ones you might come across:

  • National Police Checks:  All students will need to undergo a Police Records Check (National Police Check) before applying for a work placement.
  • Working with Children Checks:  You need this check if you are going to be working with children during your placement. The requirements for getting this check are different for each state.
  • Screenings and Vaccinations:  If you’re planning to do your placement in a healthcare organisation, you will need to be screened and vaccinated before you start any work.

The requirements that you’ll need to meet will be set by your individual host organisation, and you’ll be responsible for ensuring these are all in place before the start of your work placement. Not having these in place may delay your work placement or impact your ability to secure a work placement.

We recommend that you consider the general requirements early in your course, so you have time to obtain any necessary checks and vaccinations. 

If you are already in an aligned role in your industry, your Structured Workplace Learning component may be able to be completed with your employer (with their agreement).  This will be dependent on whether the full requirements of Structured Workplace Learning can be completed there.  If they cannot then you would need to complete some hours elsewhere.  Whether you can complete your Structured Workplace Learning there will also depend on whether a suitably qualified supervisor is available.  All supervisors must be approved by Open Colleges.

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