Structured workplace learning (SWL) and work experience during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Metropolitan Melbourne

All SWL, as well as work experience, should be deferred until the Stage 4 restrictions have eased.

Rural and regional schools

All SWL, as well as work experience, in Stage 3 restricted areas can proceed in line with advice provided below.

Continuing SWL and work experience under Stage 3 restrictions

Students can continue their SWL or work experience placements, if the principal is satisfied that:

Principals should consider the following in deciding whether an SWL or work experience placement for a particular student should proceed:

  • The extent to which it would be possible and practical for a student to maintain physical distance at the placement in accordance with health advice.
  • The level of supervision an employer would reasonably be able to provide the student to ensure safety measures are adhered to.
  • The extent to which the placement could be regularly monitored by the school.
  • The personal circumstances of the student, including any medical conditions or medical advice about the student's suitability to undertake the placement.

Where these conditions cannot be met, principals should consider cancelling or deferring SWL and work experience placements until further notice (refer below).

Updated SWL guidelines and work experience guidelines

The SWL Guidelines for Employers (docx - 62.86kb) and Work Experience Guidelines for Employers (docx - 62.72kb) have been revised to include advice relating to reducing the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace.

For any continuing SWL or work experience arrangements, it is recommended that schools write to employers to inform them of the revised guidelines and obtain acknowledgement that they have read them.

A sample email for schools writing to employers

To: Employer's email
Cc: School Principal's email

Dear (employer),
As you are an employer who is currently hosting, or will soon be hosting, a Work Experience or Structured Workplace Learning student, I am writing to advise you that the Department of Education and Training (DET) Work Experience/Structured Workplace Learning Guidelines for Employers [delete item that is not relevant] have been revised.
These Guidelines have been revised to include advice relating to reducing the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace.
It's important that you read the revised Guidelines relevant to the arrangement type you have entered into. The revised Guidelines are available on the Department website as follows:

Please respond to me by return email to acknowledge that you have received and read these revised guidelines.
Thank you for your support of workplace learning for our students.
Yours sincerely,
Name of Work Experience/Structured Workplace Learning Coordinator
Name of school

The above process is not required for any new SWL or work experience arrangements as schools provide copies of the SWL/Work Experience Guidelines to employers before the placements.

Student and parental engagement

For existing and new SWL and work experience placements, it is recommended that the student and the parent/guardian (if the student is under 18 years of age) complete the Additional Structured Workplace Learning Form (COVID-19) (docx - 98.98kb) or the Additional Work Experience Form (COVID-19) (docx - 99.01kb) - whichever is relevant - as an acknowledgement and agreement that COVID-19 may have changed the proposed work environment.

A copy of this form should be attached to the SWL or Work Experience Arrangement Form kept at the school (for all existing and new arrangements).

Alternative options to the provision of SWL or work experience

Where the decision has been made to defer an SWL (mandatory/non-mandatory) or work experience placement, schools can identify aspects of placements that may be undertaken remotely. For instance, a student could undertake research on industry and investigate jobs that interest them. Schools should work with employers to identify a process to capture and record student learning.
Where a mandatory SWL placement is cancelled, the school can consider substituting an alternative Unit of Competency from the Vocational Education Training (VET) certificate the student is undertaking that does not require a work placement. The TAFE or RTO will be able to provide details of relevant alternative UOCs.
For VCE Industry and Enterprise, you can find advice on alternative options for SWL during units 1, 2 and 3 where the required hours of SWL have not been met for the unit on the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) website.

Recognition of credit for partially complete SWL

Where students have commenced their SWL, they may be able to obtain credit through SWL Recognition for reflection on their learnings in the workplace. For more information about this process of recognition contact the VCAA VET Unit at

Process for the cancellation or deferral of SWL or work experience placement

The cancellation or deferral of an SWL or work experience placement takes effect by written notice from a principal to an employer.

A sample notice for principals writing to employers

Dear (employer),
I am writing to advise you that given the current restrictions relating to COVID-19, SWL and Work Experience placements at (Name of school) will be (cancelled/ deferred) until these restrictions are lifted.
This applies to any placements that are currently in process or any new placements yet to commence. Accordingly, please note that the scheduled SWL or work experience placements of students at your workplace will not go ahead until restrictions are lifted.
I would like to thank you for your support for workplace learning for our students. If you are willing to consider the possibility for placements to be re-scheduled for later in the year, please contact (school SWL/work experience coordinator name & telephone or your local LLEN).
Yours sincerely,
Name of Principal
Name of school

Additional information and contacts

Additional information is available on workplace learning for secondary students
 For advice on:

For further queries about SWL or work experience placements, contact the our Career Education Unit at