Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness:
Workplace and Industry Placement – “Placement” immerses a student in a workplace related to their discipline or career goals. Ideally, placement combines both class-based learning and structured and supported workplace activity with opportunities to reflect on learning and seek timely feedback on performance. Examples include: Internships, work placements, practicums, clinical placements, supervised professional experience, work shadowing, co-operative education, cadetship, traineeship or service learning.
Placement Partner is the entity in which the student is placed to complete their placement.
Placement Coordinator is the USC staff member who has responsibility for coordinating placement activities for a particular School, program or course.
Placement Academic Supervisor is the USC staff member who has responsibility for conducting and monitoring the assessment of the student’s academic performance and compliance with the Student Code of Conduct while completing the placement for a particular program or course. In some disciplines the roles of Placement Coordinator and Placement Academic Supervisor may be combined.
Placement Workplace Supervisor is the person in the organisation who supervises the student while completing their placement.
Student Placement Code of Conduct is a discipline specific code of conduct, or a set guidelines for professional conduct, or another suitable instrument, which is informed by the professional standards or code of conduct for the relevant profession.
Student Placement Agreement is the formal agreement between the University and the student undertaking a placement.
USC – Placement Partner Agreement is the formal agreement between the University and the Placement Partner.
Purpose of procedures
These procedures apply to the Workplace and Industry Placement category of work integrated learning (WIL) as identified in Section 4.2 of the Work Integrated Learning - Academic Policy.
1. Specific criteria for a workplace or industry placement
1.1 Workplace or industry placements must satisfy all the following criteria:
(a) the course/activity is a requirement of or an identified option in a program
(b) the course/activity is normally undertaken in an organisation (the placement partner) outside the University
(c) the learning and performance of the student in the course/activity is directed or supported by the University or persons engaged by the University
(d) the placement undertaken by the student with the Placement Partner involves the use of skills and knowledge relevant to the program for which the placement is a requirement of program completion
(e) the placement is located in a safe work environment, determined by the completion of a USC risk assessment
(f) the requirements of the relevant professional accrediting body (if relevant).
1.2 Status of Workplace and Industry Placement Courses
Courses that satisfy the criteria identified above require the “Workplace and Industry Placement” status to be approved by Academic Board. Normally, this would form part of the accreditation documentation for the program in which the courses are offered.
2. Design of programs containing Workplace and Industry Placement courses
2.1 Programs containing Workplace and Industry Placement courses:
(a) identify workplace tasks which derive from and are underpinned by academic theory with defined linkages to the knowledge and skills as required by the industry/profession
(b) establish that the tasks/activities to be undertaken by the student are productive and meaningful and have defined benefit to the student and the workplace
(c) involve contact hours that are appropriate for the unit value of the course or for the percentage value allocated to the task
(d) link the assessment to the academic theory and measurable workplace learning outcomes
(e) provide an opportunity for the student to reflect on the work integrated learning and its relationship to other elements of a program’s curriculum.
2.2 Program and course design
2.2.1 Programs containing courses which involve workplace and industry placements must be structured to provide scaffolding of the student exposure to the profession/discipline, from initial observation to active involvement during the final placement. The program should provide the student with an early opportunity to assess their suitability for the chosen profession/discipline.
2.2.2 Program design and fitness for practice
As part of their program, students may be required to undertake placement and training that involve dealing directly with patients, school children, clients or service users. It is vital that students have opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for practice before undertaking any placement. The program’s curriculum should be designed so that the requisite skills deemed appropriate for fitness to practice are assessed in courses prior to the student undertaking a placement activity.
2.2.3 The learning outcomes of the program should ensure that a student has a sound knowledge of the relevant discipline’s student placement code of conduct and can apply it to their work practices.
3. Assessment of Placement Courses
3.1 Use of Limited Grades
Courses that contain placement activities would ordinarily use Limited Grades – Pass (PU) and Fail (UF). Refer to the Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs – Procedures Section 1.14 for details of the conditions concerning Limited Grades. (See section 3.5 below about Assessment and the Student Placement Code of Conduct)
3.2 Conduct of assessment
3.2.1 Assessment should be conducted by the Placement Academic Supervisor, or in conjunction with the Placement Workplace Supervisor, where appropriate. Assessment should not be made by the Placement Workplace Supervisor alone. Disciplines offering the placement course should ensure the Placement Workplace Supervisor is conversant with the criteria and standards expected by the University.
3.2.2 The Placement Academic Supervisor, in conjunction with the Placement Workplace Supervisor where appropriate, assesses the student’s performance against the discipline’s student placement code of conduct.
3.3 Timing of feedback on assessment
The Placement Workplace Supervisor should provide developmental feedback and/or conduct regular feedback sessions with students throughout the placement, particularly in the early stages. If a student’s performance in regard to professional conduct is found to be unsatisfactory, then the Placement Academic Supervisor should be notified as soon as possible. In placement courses, assessment feedback is timed to allow the students an appropriate period in which to improve their performance, and should normally be provided by the mid-point of the placement.
3.4 Unit values of placement courses
3.4.1 The unit value attached to placement courses should be established through consideration of:
- the learning outcomes to be achieved during the placement
- the length of time of the placement, and
- the amount and type of assessment required within the placement course.
3.4.2 Refer to the University’s Coursework Program and Awards - Academic Policy.
3.5 Assessment and the Student Placement Code of Conduct
3.5.1 In all placement courses, a student’s performance should be assessed against a discipline specific code of conduct, or a set guidelines for professional conduct, or another suitable instrument, which is informed by the professional standards or code of conduct for the relevant profession.
3.5.2 The student placement code of conduct (guidelines or other suitable instrument) should be provided to the student, prior to commencing the placement activity. Assessment of the student’s compliance with the code forms the basis of a mandatory pass/fail task identified in the Assessment section in the course’s Course Outline, where appropriate for the discipline.
4. Establishing a placement
The following steps must be completed, but can be undertaken concurrently rather than sequentially depending on the situation and the time available.
4.1 Site visit to Placement Partner
4.1.1 If the partner does not have the required policies and procedures, and arrangements in place, then before a formal arrangement is established with a Placement Partner, the Placement Coordinator visits the site of the proposed activity to ensure that:
- The expectations and responsibilities of each party are clearly identified and agreed upon.
- All risks associated with the proposed placement are identified and minimised.
- The Placement Partner is able to provide the student with an experience that is in keeping with the learning outcomes of the placement course.
4.1.2 The Placement Coordinator may decide not to conduct a site visit if satisfied that the Placement Partner has appropriate policies and procedures relating to health and safety, risk mitigation and formalised orientation activities for new staff members.
4.1.3 If a site visit is not practicable, then such options as a visit by a third party, references, or evidence of undertaking placement activities with other institutions should be used.
4.2 Topics to discuss with Placement Partner
The Placement Coordinator’s discussions with the Placement Partner should cover such topics as:
- risk assessment, covering both general hazards and those specific to the placement
- physical environment
- duration of the activity
- expectations of student performance
- number of students that can be accommodated
- assumed level of knowledge of the students
- student induction activities
- supervision arrangement
- intellectual property
- supervisor training
- specific technical requirements
- liaison person
- dispute resolution processes
- students with a disability
4.3 Workplace Health and Safety Risk Assessment
4.3.1 Following completion of the site visit (or equivalent), the details of the proposed placement are entered into the University’s risk assessment system by the Placement Coordinator and a risk assessment is produced. This assessment must be made of the Placement Partner in advance of the actual placement of students (and only rechecked at the point of placement). If the assessment determines the host is suitable and appropriate, the Placement Coordinator arranges for the relationship to be formalised through a USC – Placement Partner Agreement. If the assessment indicates that the placement partner is not appropriate, the Placement Coordinator discusses the outcome with their supervisor to determine what actions should be taken. For further details, refer to the University’s Enterprise Risk Management and Resilience - Governing Policy.
4.3.2 At the point of placement, two processes are required to be completed:
(1)the site assessment is reviewed to determine if any factors have changed from when the site was assessed; and
(2)a student assessment, which covers location specific risks, communication plans etc. – situations that are often outside of the control of the host – but still risks for the student that the University has to consider. The student assessment links the risk to specific students and/or student cohorts.
4.3.3 In the case of a student undertaking a placement in a remote or overseas location, a Travel Management Plan is required, the student must inform the University (through this Student Placement Agreement) of where they will be staying and an alternate contact in the event of an emergency. A communication and emergency plan is also developed and provided to the student.
4.4 Work health and safety
Minimum standards to comply with the University’s work health and safety requirements for risk management include:
- the completion of a risk assessment for the industry/professional workplace (refer to 4.3)
- the student must be provided with access to the risk assessment statement relating to their placement
- orientation of the student to the WIL workplace and advice of the identified hazards and
- accurate record keeping.
4.5 The USC – Placement Partner Agreement
4.5.1 The development of a USC – Placement Partner Agreement or equivalent document is the responsibility of the Placement Coordinator. If the standard template is being used then the relevant Head of School can sign on behalf of the University, otherwise, the Executive Dean must sign the agreement. An appropriate industry/professional representative with the required delegated authority must sign on behalf of the placement partner.
4.5.2 Where the USC standard template is not used, the agreement must ensure that the following have been clearly identified:
- the expectations and responsibilities of each party
- the agreed placement activities
- the timeframe for the activities and an indication of the number of students to be involved
- all risks associated with the proposed activities
- the life of the agreement and a review process
- any financial implications for the partner, USC or the student
- the activities to be undertaken during the placement provide the student with an experience that is in keeping with the learning outcomes of the placement course or component.
4.5.3 The signed USC – Placement Partner Agreement must be included in the University’s WIL system (SONIA). In some circumstances, the contents of a USC – Placement Partner Agreement may be covered by a number of documents, all of which must be included in SONIA.
4.6 Intellectual Property
4.6.1 In placements where a student is required to create new and original intellectual property, such as copyrightable works or subject matter and the placement partner wishes to have ownership of that intellectual property, before the commencement of the placement, the student can be asked to sign an agreement in which the student gives permission for the placement partner to use their developed intellectual property. The student should be fully appraised of the implications of the proposed terms and conditions of the agreement and be advised to seek and obtain independent legal advice before agreeing.
4.6.2 The permission agreement should be consistent with the University’s USC Intellectual Property – Governing Policy.
4.7.1 The University’s Student Personal Accident, Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance identifies five conditions for indemnifying persons on a placement:
(a) The person must be a student as defined by the University
(b) A risk assessment has been undertaken and mitigation established
(c) The student has informed the University of any disabilities, health conditions, illness or other factor that is likely to impact on the student’s ability to fulfil the requirements of the placement (which is included in the Risk Assessment)
(d) The placement must be sanctioned by the University
(e) The student must not be a paid employee of the Placement Partner (refer to 6.4).
4.7.2 As a default position, the University only provides travel insurance coverage for students undertaking an international placement. The availability of other forms of insurance coverage is dependent on the outcome of the risk assessment undertaking for the placement partner site. Based on the outcome of the risk assessment the insurance coverage identified in the Placement Partner Agreement for an international placement can be expanded with the endorsement of the University’s insurance office and the approval of the relevant Executive Dean.
4.8 Contact with Placement Partners
The Placement Coordinator ensures that written guidelines regarding the management of the relationship with the Placement Partner are developed and made available to the Placement Partner on request.
On both parties signing the agreement, the Placement Coordinator makes available to the Placement Partner the following:
- program/course requirement information (e.g. Course Outline, supervisor manual)
- the Workplace Health and Safety Assessment statement
- opportunity for the Placement Workplace Supervisor(s) to undertake a training program or provide training materials
- information advising of the University’s Insurance and Occupational Health and Safety policies. (Refer to the University’s Student Personal Accident, Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurances.)
4.8.2 Prior to the placement commencing the Placement Coordinator or the Placement Academic Supervisor checks with the Placement Partner that the details contained in the Workplace Health and Safety Assessment remains current and the Placement Coordinator has included any information relating to individual students identified in the disclosure statement (part of the Student Placement Agreement).
The following information is provided to the Placement Partner by either the Placement Coordinator or the Placement Academic Supervisor at the commencement of the placement:
- a list of students undertaking their placement, including their names, contact details and other information required by the Placement Partner and agreed to by the student
- the agreed commencement and conclusion dates for the placement
- information relating to the assessment process and criteria relating to the placement
- the contact details of the USC staff member who is coordinating the placement.
4.9 Overseas placements
4.9.1 An overseas placement should be assessed as identified in 4.1 above. The Placement Coordinator also ensure that:
- there is alignment between the international placement and the intention and learning outcomes of the program/course outline.
- a budget has been allocated for a site visit (if required) and appropriate supervision
- a review has been undertaken of the location with regard to any professional accreditation requirements
- a USC contact is available for the student throughout the placement
- travel warnings for the placement location have been checked prior to the student’s departure.
- a formal communication plan has been developed and is stored in an appropriate records management system.
4.9.2 A student seeking to undertake an overseas placement may initially be required to attend an interview with the relevant Placement Coordinator.
4.9.3 Each Faculty maintains through SONIA a register of its students undertaking placement activities overseas.
5. Students and placements
5.1 Preparedness for the placement
Any student who has doubts about their preparedness for the placement should discuss the situation with the Program Coordinator. There is the option for Break from Studies as outlined in the Enrolments and Graduation – Procedures.
5.2 Provision of information on placement requirements to students
5.2.1 Inherent academic requirements for a program with one or more placement courses should be identified in promotional material related to the program.
5.2.2 Mandatory requirements for a student to undertake a placement shall be identified in promotional material related to the relevant program. Depending on the program these could include: a current first aid and Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate, evidence of Hepatitis B immunisation, a driver’s license, a National Criminal History Check and Working with Children Check (blue card). Detailed information is provided to students on commencement in the program.
5.2.3 International students are advised of the mandatory requirements as part of their offer package.
5.2.4 A student must maintain currency with the mandatory requirements for the duration of the placement and must notify the Placement Coordinator or Placement Academic Supervisor of an inability to maintain that currency. The student is responsible for any fees or charges incurred in meeting the mandatory requirements.
5.2.5 A students who cannot provide evidence of meeting the mandatory requirements before commencement of the placement is not allowed to participate. The student's enrolment in the placement course is withdrawn and the appropriate grade/notation allocated, depending upon the date and circumstances, in accordance with the Grades and Grade Point Average (GPA) – Academic Policy.
5.3 Allocation of student to placements
5.3.1 Disciplines must establish processes for the allocation of students to placement organisations that are transparent and fair. Disciplines must provide a timely process for students to appeal the placement decision.
5.3.2 Generally, compulsory placements are established locally to the University. Where the availability of a suitable placement may require the student to travel or to undertake the activity at remote, rural, regional or interstate locations, this information (and any costs to the student) must be advertised to prospective students and any ancillary costs are the student’s responsibilities.
5.3.3 Disciplines should provide a process that is compliant with the University’s Student Complaints and Appeals - Procedures which allows a student to appeal the location of the placement on the grounds of reasonable adjustment.
5.4 Students requiring reasonable adjustment
5.4.1 The University makes reasonable adjustments to ensure equitable treatment; the level of adjustments may be informed by the inherent academic requirements for the particular program.
5.4.2 An adjustment is a measure or action taken to assist a student to participate on the same basis as other students. An adjustment is defined as reasonable if it achieves this purpose and does not compromise the academic integrity of the program, while balancing the interests of all parties affected, including the student, the University and its staff, the Placement Partner and its staff, and other students.
5.4.3 Work placements may take longer to set up for a student requiring reasonable adjustment. A student who anticipates that reasonable adjustment may be required is encouraged to discuss this with Student Wellbeing and the Program Coordinator or Placement Academic Supervisor several months prior to the placement.
5.4.4 Before participating in placement activities, students are required to disclose to the University any disabilities, health conditions, illness or other factor that is likely to impact on the student’s ability to fulfil the requirements of the placement.
5.5 The Student Placement Agreement
5.5.1 The Student Placement Agreement must be signed by the student before the commencement of the placement. The agreement must include:
- the personal details of the student (including emergency contact)
- program and course details
- details of the placement (dates, contact persons and times (if available)
- Insurance, risk assessment and student disclosure statement
- travel management plan
- other information as determined by the discipline
5.5.2 A list of topics to be included inthe Student Placement Agreement is provided in Appendix 2.
5.5.3 The Head of School (or their nominee) approves the template for the Student Placement Agreement. Normally, the nominee would be the Course Coordinator or the Placement Academic Supervisor.
5.5.4 Each discipline determines the appropriate time period of the Student Placement Agreement. In cases of a student undertaking multiple activities, the Agreement might be for the length of a course or a set period of time during a program. In normal circumstances, an agreement would not be expected to be for a period longer than an academic year.
5.5.5 Any personal information that is collected can only be transferred to the Placement Partner with the written consent of the student. Consent is given when the student signs the Student Placement Agreement. If consent is not given the student is not be permitted to undertake the placement.
6. Undertaking a placement
6.1 Placement database
All placements are recorded in a recognised official repository for university records, the University’s Work Integrated Learning System (SONIA). Nominated staff members from each discipline area update the database and act as the contact point for enquiries from staff and students.
6.2 Pre-placement information
Immediately prior to students commencing their placement, the discipline provides pre-placement information to the student, which should include the following:
- a PrePlace course
- Student Placement Code of Conduct
- details of the required assessment
- health and safety issues, including procedures if an accident or injury occurs on placement
- insurance cover
6.3 Conflict of interest
6.3.1 A student should avoid undertaking a placement in a workplace where there is a possible or perceived conflict of interest, for example, where:
- a family member is responsible for supervising the student
- the student might be responsible for teaching or assessing a family member
- the student is in paid employment with the Placement Partner, unless the placement involves paid employment with the Placement Partner as part of an early employment scheme approved by the University.
6.3.2 A student must inform their placement supervisor(s) if such a situation arises and the conflict should be resolved by the relevant Head of School in consultation with the Placement Academic Supervisor and the Placement Workplace Supervisor.
6.4 Employee of the Placement Partner
6.4.1 In exceptional circumstances, where a student is given permission to undertake a placement where they are in paid employment with the Placement Partner, then the following safeguards are recommended:
- The student should have a different supervisor to the one for their paid employment.
- The tasks/project should be different for those undertaken in their paid employment.
- Where practical, the placement should be undertaken on different days to the paid employment.
6.4.2 Clause 6.4.1 does not apply where the student is completing a prescribed placement while in paid employment with the Placement Partner where the placement is part of an early employment scheme approved by the University.
6.5 Academic supervision of students on placement
The Placement Academic Supervisor monitors the continuing viability of the placement. The frequency and mode of the monitoring should be appropriate for the discipline and the particular placement. In some instances this involves a visit to the placement site when a student is undertaking a placement, while in others instances contact with the Placement Partner and student by email, telephone or videoconference is appropriate.
6.6 Issue resolution
If a concern is raised by any of the parties involved during a placement, the following process should be followed:
(a) in the first instance, the issue should be discussed and documented by the parties involved to determine a resolution.
(b) if the matter is not resolved, the Placement Coordinator (or appropriate University representative) meets with the parties to discuss the issue.
7. Failure of the Student Placement Code of Conduct assessment
7.1 Code of Conduct Issues
7.1.1 If an issue arises, the Placement Academic Supervisor should document the issue using the Placement Issues Report (Appendix 3) and coordinate discussion between all parties involved to determine a resolution. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, the Placement Academic Supervisor should remove the student from the placement and refer the matter to the relevant Head of School.
7.1.2 The Placement Academic Supervisor (through the Course Coordinator) must complete a Placement Issues Report and present this to the Head of School detailing the evidence on which the allegation is based and any action taken.
7.1.3 On receiving the Placement Issues Report , the Head of School or nominee makes a determination whether to:
(a) Fail the student in the assessment task and consequently fail the course (condition of a Pass/Fail course)
(b) allow the student to continue in the placement course.
7.1.4 If the decision is to fail the student in the course, the Head of School is required to notify the following:
- Placement Partner; and
- USC Student Services and Engagement.
7.1.5 If the decision is to allow the student to continue in the placement course, the Head of School is required to notify the student, identifying any conditions associated with the student’s continued enrolment in the course.
7.1.6 The student has the opportunity to seek a review of the assessment result as identified in the University’s Review of Assessment and Final Grade – Procedures.
7.2 Progression in the program
Students who fail an identified placement course are subject to specific requirement in regard to continued progress in their studies; these are identified in the University’s Monitoring Academic Progress and Exclusion – Academic Policy and related procedures.
8. Placement breakdown or a breach of the USC–Placement Partner Agreement
8.1 If the student or the University considers the placement is of insufficient quality or level to provide the student with an appropriate placement experience, or if there is a breakdown in the placement due to circumstances outside the control of the student, and the matter cannot be resolved through consultation between all parties, the relevant Head of School must establish a review panel. In these cases every effort must be made to ensure that the student is not academically or financially disadvantaged.
8.3 The Panel may consider recommending that:
(a) the student’s placement continues with closer monitoring by the University
(b) the student’s placement with the partner is suspended until identified issues have been resolved to the satisfaction of the panel;
(c) the student’s placement with the partner is terminated and a replacement placement is identified for the student.
8.4 The panel may wish to make a recommendation to the Executive Dean as to the future of the relationship with the Placement Partner and whether the process to terminate a USC–Placement Partner Agreement should be commenced.
9. Placement review
Disciplines must have processes for evaluating the placement. The review should include consultation with the Placement Partner and the students. Wherever possible, such review and consultation processes should be completed prior to a new group of students commencing with the Placement Partner.
10. Records Management
10.1 USC– Placement Partner Agreement
The agreements between the University and the partner involved in the placement shall be retained and stored in the SONIA system.
10.2 Student Placement Agreements
Electronic copies are placed in the SONIA system.
APPENDIX 2: Student Placement Agreement
APPENDIX 3: Placement Issues Report
Appendices are available from the Staff Intranet (MyUSC), or search “WIL” in the MyUSC Forms Library.