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Structured workplace learning recognition in the VCE and VCAL

The content of this page is available as a downloadable brochure:
Structured Workplace Learning Recognition in the VCE or VCAL (pdf - 624.48kb) (November 2017)

Structured workplace learning (SWL) provides an opportunity for students to apply the skills and knowledge they have learnt in their VCE VET program within an appropriately matched work place.

The learning experiences help students to relate the theoretical information to a real world work context and develop their employability skills.

Structured workplace learning recognition (SWLR) involves the development and maintenance of the workplace learning record (WLR). The completion of the WLR is a requirement for recognition by the VCAA for VCE and VCAL credit. It is the responsibility of the student to maintain their WLR.

The learning undertaken in a formally structured workplace placement is valid and authentic, providing students with the connection between theory and application. For students wanting to undertake Industry Pathways in their VCE or VCAL, the formal recognition of SWL is mandatory.

Five young students undertaking workplace learning, including from left to right: a blonde female mechnic, a dark male graphic designer, a smiling female cook, a young male builder, and a young Asian female nurse.

Benefits of SWLR

Better quality placement

  • Greater alignment to the VCE VET program
  • Greater care in choice of placement
  • Employer understands the VCE VET program students are undertaking

Preparation for employment

  • Documented reflection by the student
  • Identification of strengths and opportunities
  • Better understanding of industry career options and pathways

Credit for learning in the workplace

  • Demonstrates the value of SWL to parents, students and employers
  • VCE credit at Units 1 and 2
  • VCAL general credit

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Setting up for success of SWLR

Schools should commit to the program by providing the necessary staffing, resources and timetable flexibility to ensure a student’s success. The VCAA will provide the WLR and supporting documentation for the recognition of SWL into a student’s VCE or VCAL.

All normal processes that the school undertakes for SWL as per Ministerial Order 55 – SWL Arrangements must be followed.

For further information visit the Victorian Government's Structured Workplace Learning webpage.

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Students must be prepared prior to undertaking SWL

School support of SWLR may be in the form of a staff member overseeing the recording of the student activities and the recognition of credit into the VCE or VCAL.

This could be achieved through:

  • adding SWLR to a teacher’s allotment
  • giving a staff member time to facilitate SWL
  • putting SWLR into a timetable block — assign a teacher to the ‘class’
  • assigning a home room teacher with time allocation to facilitate SWLR
  • employing a SWL coordinator
  • adding to the role of a VET or careers coordinator with time allocated.

‘Through workplace learning we get to see what young people are learning in their courses and the talent that is out there. It’s good for our industry.’ – Host employer

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How is SWLR structured?

The SWLR program is composed of three stages to ensure that students are fully prepared to undertake their workplace placement and achieve the most from this learning opportunity.

Stage 1

Pre-placement activities

  • The activities in this section provide underpinning knowledge and preparation for the work placement. This should not replicate work done in other studies such as VCAL Work Related Skills or VCE Industry and Enterprise.
  • The student will complete the ‘Learner Profile’ in their WLR.
  • All other pre-placement activities that the school currently undertakes for SWL arrangements would be maintained.

Stage 2

Workplace learning

  • Students undertake the actual work placement. A minimum of 80 hours of work placement is required for a student to be eligible for SWLR credit. The student should be undertaking a ‘normal’ year of study within the VCE VET program related to their work placement (typically 180 nominal hours).
  • During the work placement the student is responsible for maintaining the WLR. The purpose of the WLR is for the learner to reflect on the workplace learning experience in the context of their current skills and knowledge.

Stage 3

Post-placement reflection

  • At the conclusion of the work placement, students will reflect on the WLR with a staff member from their school.
  • Students will also reflect on the eight employability skills.
  • They are required to analyse their own learning and practice of the employability skills, and what changes or action they would make to improve their employability skills.

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Credit and administration

  • SWLR is available for VCE VET programs.
  • A student must be enrolled in 180 nominal hours in a VCE VET program.
  • The work placement must align to the VET enrolment.
  • The assessment, recognition and subsequent awarding of credit for SWL is not compulsory.
  • The written completion of the WLR is not compulsory, but rather a tool to collect evidence and responses to the stimulation questions.
  • Students must reflect on a minimum of six (6) units of competency per SWLR credit.
  • This must consist of the workplace health and safety (WHS) unit of competency (UoC) and five (5) additional UoCs experienced over the 80 hours in the workplace.
  • Students can reflect on UoCs that they have not yet undertaken if experienced in the workplace. If a UoC the student is undertaking is not listed in the WLR, this can be added at the end of Section 2 in the booklet.
  • If the student has no reflection evidence recorded, the assessing teacher may ask open-style questions to draw out the student’s experiences. Evidence must be genuine and confirms the student’s own reflection.
  • Credit applies at one VCE Unit 1+2 level or one VCAL general credit per year of a VCE VET program where the student undertakes 80 hours of SWL.

‘My supervisor has given me more responsibility in the workplace after I discussed with him the WLR. It has made my work placement now more interesting.’ – VET student

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Setting up SWLR within the timetable

Example three year VCE program

Yr 10VCE VET Engineering Units 1 & 2VET SWLR
1 Unit
Yr 11English Units 1 & 2Mathematical Methods Units 1 & 2VCE VET Engineering Units 3 & 4Physics Units 1 & 2Business Management Units 1 & 2VET SWLR
1 Unit
Yr 12English Units 3 & 4Mathematical Methods Units 3 & 4Cert III Engineering SBAT Units 3 & 4Physics Units 3 & 4SBAT SWLR
2 Units

Example weekly VCAL timetable blocking

1Literacy SkillsWork-related Skills Unit 1VET

Certificate II in Kitchen Operations
Numeracy SkillsSWL

Employer local café
3VCE Food TechnologyLiteracy SkillsVET SWLR
1 Credit
5Numeracy SkillsPersonal Development Skills Unit 1VCE Food Technology

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  • The assessment process requires the student to gather evidence and reflect on their learning in the workplace that relates to the VET qualification in which they are enrolled. The tool used to collect evidence is the Workplace Learning Record (WLR).
  • Assessment will be conducted by a staff member from the home school.
  • Credit judgement does not need to be completed by an industry expert or VET course trainer.
  • Students will be enrolled in SWLR and given a result on VASS.
  • This is not a process for assessing competence in the UoCs; this is to provide students with an opportunity to witness the UoC in action in a real workplace setting and reflect on it. The reflection process provides for the formal assessment.

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Schools' responsibilities

  • Schedule the work placement to complement the student’s VCE VET program and workplace readiness.
  • Visit/contact the student while in the workplace.
  • Give and receive feedback to/from the student on the WLR.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to finalise the WLR.
  • Review the WLR and discuss it with the student.
  • Finalise the result when the student has satisfactorily completed the WLR.
  • Complete the SWLR Assessment Record and return it to the VASS administrator for entry.

‘SWLR … it's awesome; it makes my workplace more relevant.’ – VET student

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