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Course Related Work Experience Vice-Chancellor's Directive


This Directive prescribes core UTS requirements designed to ensure that UTS students and staff experience of Course Related Work Experience is educationally relevant, effectively managed, appropriate, ethical and safe.

The Course Related Work Experience Vice-Chancellor's Directive is also available as a PDF document.

Dates Directive approved 06/07/2012
Directive takes effect 20/07/2012
Directive is due for review (up to five years) 07/2017
Directive amendment approved 11/12/2014
Directive amendment takes effect 12/08/2015
Approved by Vice-Chancellor
Latest amendment: Director, Governance Support Unit (see change history for details)
Implementation Officer Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students)
Relevant to All staff and students
Related documents
File number UR12/876
Superseded documents None


1. Purpose

This Directive sets out the requirements for Course Related Work Experience at UTS, which is aimed at strengthening the UTS model of global practice-oriented learning and is intended to support the University's aims of producing graduates with an appreciation of the practical, social and ethical dimensions of their chosen professions and strengthen the University's relationships with businesses, industry and the professions. The three interrelated features of the UTS Model of Learning are:

  • an integrated exposure to professional practice through dynamic and multi-faceted modes of practice-oriented education
  • professional practice situated in a global workplace, with international mobility and international and cultural engagement as centre piece
  • learning which is research inspired and integrated, providing academic rigour with cutting edge technology to equip graduates for lifelong learning.

This Directive outlines the University's position and expectations regarding Course Related Work Experience for students. It specifies the principles and provisions for how this experience should be managed so that UTS students' and staff experiences of Course Related Work Experience are educationally relevant, appropriate, ethical and safe.

2. Scope

This Directive applies to staff and coursework students participating in clinical, professional, industrial or other work placements, paid or unpaid, onshore or offshore, that form part of an undergraduate or postgraduate course or subject offered by the University and for which:

  1. students will be assessed, and/or
  2. a grade is awarded, and/or
  3. completion is required for an award of the University.

This Directive does not apply to students who voluntarily undertake work experience that may be related to but is not a requirement of their course or subject and is not an assessable part of the course or subject. Students undertaking course related work placements will be reminded of their responsibilities in relation to the Student Charter.

This Directive does not apply to students undertaking postgraduate research degrees who may be required to undertake industry placements as part of their research.

3. Definitions

Academic Liaison Officer (ALO) is an academic staff member based in a faculty who assists two groups of students: those with disabilities and ongoing illnesses; and those who have difficulties in their studies because of their family commitments (eg being a primary carer for small children or a family member with a disability).

Agreement is a written agreement covering the conditions of placement with the host organisation.

Award course means a set of requirements, subjects and/or supervised research which when satisfactorily completed by a student normally qualifies that student for a formal award of the University.

Course Related Work Experience refers to all clinical, professional, industrial or other work placements, paid or unpaid, onshore or offshore, that form part of an undergraduate or postgraduate course or subject offered by the University.

Host organisation is the entity at which the student is engaged in Course Related Work Experience.

Placement incorporates any activity whereby a student is in a work setting as part of the course or subject they are studying. Placement can include clinical practice, practicum, internship, professional work placement, industrial experience, work experience and professional practice.

4. Directive principles

4.1 Course Related Work Experience aims:

  1. to enrich student learning by:
    • engaging students in meaningful, relevant work
    • providing the opportunity to apply theory through practical application, and/or
    • introducing students to the culture and expectations of their profession or discipline
  2. to build partnerships between the student, UTS and host organisation, bearing in mind the principles of equity and diversity, respect for the rights of individuals and responsibility towards all involved in the Course Related Work Experience placement agreement.

4.2 Course Related Work Experience will be designed to connect university experience and the world of work and provide for the appropriate management of students on work placements.

4.3 Students will be appropriately prepared for their Course Related Work Experience.

4.4 Students will be provided with opportunities to reflect on their experience and contribute to the graduate outcomes and professional aims of the course.

4.5 UTS will actively promote good working relationships with prospective and current host organisations for the mutual benefit of those organisations and the students concerned.

4.6 The University will actively encourage the use of technology to support the student and UTS staff involved in Course Related Work Experience.

4.7 UTS will coordinate, as appropriate, the range of support provided by the University including administrative procedures for the management and operation of Course Related Work Experience, guidance for UTS staff, work health and safety, insurance and indemnification as well as the University's learning support, ICT services, counselling services and other ancillary support while students are on Course Related Work Experience.

4.8 The University will regularly monitor and review Course Related Work Experience in accordance with the UTS policies and procedures related to course and subject design and review.

4.9 The University will ensure that there are procedures in place to manage legal obligations (under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act (NSW) as administered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)). This is provided in the Course Related Work Experience: Procedures for Reporting Obligations to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

5. Directive statements

5.1 Where the professional accreditation of a course requires that students complete a work placement, such placements will be facilitated by the University.

5.2 The University will take all reasonable steps to ensure the availability of work placements for students where Course Related Work Experience is a requirement of the course or subject.

5.3 Course Related Work Experience must be governed by written agreements that cover the needs, role and responsibilities of the University, the student and the host organisation. Written agreements may be made directly with the host or with bodies representing host organisations. Written agreements must have regard to the UTS Standing Delegations of Authority and to all other relevant University policy and procedures.

5.4 The University will provide appropriate advice and guidance to UTS staff to assist them to develop and operate Course Related Work Experience placements in line this Directive.

5.5 Students will be provided with appropriate preparation for undertaking Course Related Work Experience which will include information regarding their role and responsibilities before, during and after the placement.

5.6 Subjects and courses that include Course Related Work Experience will be developed in accordance with the UTS policies and procedures related to course and subject design.

5.7 Course outlines in the Course Information System will specify courses and subjects for which Course Related Work Experience is a requirement.

6. Directive procedures

The purpose of these procedures is to ensure there is appropriate consistency, quality assurance and risk assessment in the management and administration of Course Related Work Experience placements across the University, that reasonable steps are taken to ensure health and safety and that UTS is not rendered liable for any conduct by either a student or placement supervisor during an external placement and that reasonable accommodation is made for students with a disability.

These procedures do not apply to students who voluntarily undertake work experience that may be related to but is not a requirement of their course or subject and is not an assessable part of the course or subject.

6.1 Faculty responsibilities

Faculties that offer Course Related Work Experience as a requirement for completion of a course have responsibility for risk assessment and management. In particular, they must ensure that the placement is well managed, will meet educational requirements and will have due regard to students' health and safety and to the reputation of the University and the host organisation.

Faculties will monitor the quality and effectiveness of Course Related Work Experience.

Faculties will identify which subjects and/or courses require Course Related Work Experience through the course management information system CASS, and an appropriate identifier will be attached.

6.2 Staffing

Faculties must make available appropriate staff for the management of student placements and must ensure that staff responsible for coordinating and supervising placements are adequately prepared.

Students on placement and host organisations must be notified of the contact details of staff members responsible for coordinating the placements concerned.

6.3 Criteria for selecting and approving host organisations

In selecting and approving host organisations, faculties will ensure potential organisations are aware of and agree to their responsibilities as itemised in section 6.7.4.

6.4 Conditions to be provided in Agreements with host organisations

So as to ensure appropriate arrangements for students and the achievement of the desired educational outcomes, faculties must ensure that a written agreement governing the conditions of placement is in place with each host organisation. The conditions in the Agreement must include the following:

  • the nature and purpose of the placement and of the work to be undertaken
  • the conditions of engagement by the host organisation which may include supervision, hours of duty, dress requirements, remuneration and provisions for fitness for placement such as health checks and English language requirements
  • any requirements of the University such as submission of reports on work undertaken and its provisions for fitness for placement
  • each party's obligations regarding work health and safety, insurances and indemnity (see section 6.6 below)
  • as applicable, the nature of supervision by UTS staff and by staff of the host organisation
  • the University's responsibilities for the students
  • the host organisation's responsibilities for the student
  • the student's responsibilities relating to the placement.

6.5 Advice to students

Advice must be provided to students at an appropriate time to allow them to make a decision as to whether to enrol in a subject or course which has a work placement as a component.

In addition to information on the requirements of subject and/or course completion, which faculties must provide, advice to students undertaking placements must include but is not limited to:

  • how the placement fits into the learning objectives of the course or and/subject
  • whether the placement is required to comply with relevant professional accreditation
  • the specific learning objectives of the placement
  • how the placement is to be assessed, including the means by which assessment will measure the achievement of the learning objectives
  • criteria and processes for selecting and allocating students, with reference as appropriate to the following:
    • any conditions of fitness for placement, including criminal history checks and health checks
    • any additional requirements such as vaccination or first aid certificate, or any other training required of students before the placement
    • alternative activities where placement is impracticable for any reason
    • procedures for students with disabilities seeking to negotiate adjustments
  • staff responsibilities, including supervision and monitoring where appropriate
  • what contact students will have with UTS staff during their placement
  • host organisation responsibilities
  • student responsibilities in the workplace, including expected standards of behaviour and performance
  • procedures for dealing with absences, conflict or other difficulties encountered during the placement, including breakdown of the placement due to student performance and/or other unforeseen circumstances
  • information regarding the University’s legal obligations to report the impairment of a student, where that impairment may place the public at risk, under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW), as described in the Course Related Work Experience: Procedures for Reporting Obligations to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • provisions regarding suspension or withdrawal from the placement (see section 6.9)
  • requirements for complying with privacy legislation within the host organisation
  • reasonable advice on personal safety and security relating to the placement
  • work health and safety provision (see section 6.7)
  • insurance arrangements and implications (see section 6.7.5)
  • any costs involved and who would bear these
  • any employment contracts or agreements in relation to the placement, including any provisions for remuneration
  • any requirements for students to submit reports, over and above assessment requirements, on completion of their placements
  • where the placement involves research, the University's research related policies and procedures
  • any intellectual property provisions that may apply.

6.6 Support for students

Faculties are responsible for providing adequate support to students in each phase of their placement, including, where relevant, the opportunity for academic mentoring, feedback and review of progress during the placement and the identification and support of any students considered to be significantly at risk of failure in placements. Students should be provided with opportunities to be in regular contact with faculties during placement.

6.7 Course Related Work Experience work health and safety requirements

6.7.1 Duty of care

Under work health and safety legislation, host organisations are responsible for ensuring that their workplace is safe for students on placement.

6.7.2 University responsibilities

Faculties must ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that host organisations provide adequately for work health and safety so that students are not placed in situations of potential harm.

Faculties must ensure that students are given appropriate general work health and safety preparation before and during placement, which makes students aware of:

  • their role, responsibilities and rights in relation to health and safety in the workplace
  • the procedure to be followed if they are concerned about any health and safety issues at their placement
  • procedures for reporting any incidents to the University
  • procedures for responding to particular types of incidents
  • insurance arrangements and implications.

Faculties must disclose to the University placement supervisor and relevant host organisation any change in a student’s circumstances (following the commencement of a placement) that would render the student unfit to undertake that placement.

6.7.3 Student responsibilities

Prior to commencing placements, students must disclose to their faculty (and/or placement supervisor, as appropriate) any matters that might affect their fitness to undertake those placements.

After commencing a placement, students must disclose to the faculty (and/or placement supervisor, as appropriate) any change in circumstances that would render them unfit to undertake the placement.

During placements, students must comply with any reasonable safety instructions, rules or procedures of the host organisation, such as wearing safety gear.

In the event of an accident, injury or safety incident whilst on placement, students must notify their University placement supervisor, as well as the host organisation as soon as practicable.

6.7.4 Host organisation responsibilities

Host organisations are responsible for:

  • ensuring students are provided with a safe workplace
  • ensuring students are informed of relevant health and safety requirements and procedures as part of an appropriate induction to the workplace
  • informing the University of any accident, injury or safety incident suffered by the student
  • having adequate public liability insurance cover in relation to loss, damage or injury suffered by students and/or UTS staff as a result of acts or omissions by the host organisation
  • having adequate personal accident insurance where applicable
  • having adequate workers' compensation insurance where applicable.

6.7.5 University insurances

Except where they are in paid employment, students undertaking Course Related Work Experience placements are covered by the University's insurance policy as follows:

  • professional indemnity — for a breach of professional duty and/or the execution of professional activities by reason of act, error or omission
  • public liability — for negligence by the student resulting in injury and/or property damage
  • personal accident — for students who have an accident while on placement, which prevents them from earning their usual form of income. Limited hospital and medical expenses and permanent disablement and accidental death benefits also apply
  • medical malpractice where applicable
  • corporate travel — for students on approved travel.

6.7.6 Checklist

Faculties must ensure that the Student Placement Health and Safety Checklist is completed prior to placement.

6.8 Student fitness for placement

6.8.1 Faculties may establish requirements for students to demonstrate fitness for placement and may do this in consultation with host organisations. These requirements may include health or other checks, or a self-declaration as to their fitness to undertake the placement. Any such checks must be:

  • applicable to all students involved in such placements
  • related to the requirements of the duties or functions to be carried out in the placement
  • consistent with UTS policy and Commonwealth and State legislation relating to equal opportunity and discrimination.

6.8.2 A student who cannot demonstrate fitness to undertake the placement or who refuses to undertake a required check or make a self-declaration may be refused placement.

6.8.3 Where there is a pre-existing impairment, medical or other condition that could impact the ability of the student to undertake or complete elements of the placement, or which may place the public at risk, the student will discuss these issues with the appropriate staff member as soon as practicable, so that (where possible) reasonable accommodations can be made to help the student meet the learning outcomes of the subject. This is in line with the University’s equity-related policies, statements and strategies for UTS students.

6.8.4 In order for accommodations to be made, a student must formally disclose pre-existing medical or other conditions prior to the allocation of a placement and consent to the release of necessary information to the appropriate staff for the purpose of making adjustments.

6.8.5 In determining reasonable accommodation, the appropriate faculty staff member will:

  • in conjunction with the University's disability support services, ensure that an accurate assessment of the implications of the student's disability and the requirements of the placement is conducted
  • in conjunction with the Academic Liaison Officer (ALO), identify the inherent requirements of the placement in relation to the subject and course
  • in conjunction with the University's disability support services and the ALO, determine how the essential requirements of a subject might be achieved whilst accommodating the needs of the student
  • take account of the particular needs of the student in the selection of the placement and the arrangements made, for example, for access, furniture, flexibility of attendance and assessment changes/exemptions, as appropriate
  • ensure that implications of work health and safety, duty of care and legal liability, particularly in the context of the anti-discrimination, work health and safety, and privacy legislation are assessed
  • ensure that any additional support mechanisms or review/monitoring processes that may be required are in place.

6.8.6 Faculties must establish procedures, where a student is refused placement on the grounds of fitness for placement, that:

  • identify the appropriate authority to determine that the student should be refused placement
  • refer to the Course Related Work Experience: Procedures for Reporting Obligations to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) in situations where an impairment of a student has been identified that may place the public at risk
  • advise the student on the consequence for course completion and on any remedial action that can be taken by the student
  • provide for the student to seek a review of the decision to refuse placement, which address the issues of student representation, and the student's and the faculty's rights and responsibilities
  • consider the possibility of an alternative placement or arrangement.

6.9 Student withdrawal

A faculty may refuse to allow a student to undertake a placement or may withdraw a student from a placement in accordance with the UTS Rules. Relevant Rules are:

7. Roles and responsibilities

Accountable Officer: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students).

Implementation Officer: Deans and Associate Deans (Teaching and Learning) are the primary points of contact for advice on implementing and administering the policy.

Other positions and committees: Teaching and Learning Committee and Academic Board will monitor the implementation of this Policy.

8. Acknowledgements

Flinders University, Griffith University and University of Newcastle policies and procedures on work integrated learning.

9. Version control and change history

Effective date Version Approved by (date) Amendment
20/07/2012 1 Vice-Chancellor (06/07/2012) Original Directive
24/12/2013 1.1 Vice-Chancellor (27/11/2013) Inclusion of references to the Course Related Work Experience: Procedures for Reporting Obligations to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). This is an amendment which does not impact the original review cycle.
12/08/2015 1.2 Director, Governance Support Unit (GSU) (11/12/2014) Changes (approved under Delegation 3.17) to implement 2014 Senior Executive restructure.