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Student Placement Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Western Sydney University seeks to enhance student learning experiences by enabling students to engage in the culture, expectations and practices of their profession or discipline. Placements facilitate the student's entry into the work place, enhance their employability skills, and may be required for professional accreditation.

(2) The purpose of this policy is to provide the principles and procedures for the approval and management of student placements undertaken as a requirement of a unit or program of study. Students may arrange their own placements or schools may arrange relevant placements in accordance with this policy.

(3) Placements for international students may be required as part of a unit or program of study where the placements are part of the course registration under the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

(4) The policy does not apply to placements for which students receive remuneration or other payments, or are otherwise in an employment relationship, which must comply with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

(5) In addition to the procedures required by this policy, Schools may implement the policy through local guidelines, handbooks and/or flow charts.

(6) The policy should be read in conjunction with the Student Code of Conduct, the Progression and Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Policy, the Assessment Policy - Criteria and Standards-Based Assessment, the Travel Policy, the Student Misconduct Rule and the Working with Children (Workers and Students) Policy.

(7) The policy operates in the context of the University's student placement management system.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(8) For the purposes of this policy:

  1. Placement means a unit, unit component or other activity, required as part of a unit or program of study, that gives students unpaid practical experience in the application of theoretical concepts and knowledge in a work environment, and may include clinical practice, practicum, internship, professional placement, industrial experience, work experience or professional practice.
  2. Placement Organisation means the organisation at which a student's placement is undertaken, and may include a business, government agency, primary or secondary school, early childhood setting, community organisation, or volunteer organisation in Australia or overseas.
  3. Placement Coordinator is a generic term which means a University nominee from the relevant school or business unit who monitors a student's progress during a placement and liaises with the placement organisation.
  4. School refers to a Western Sydney University school and not a school in the context of a placement organisation as defined above.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(9) Placements are intended to assist students' learning and preparation for their chosen profession or discipline.

(10) The University actively promotes good relationships with current and prospective placement organisations, which are usually external to the University.

(11) The parties involved in placements must be adequately prepared to meet their responsibilities as set out in this policy.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(12) Placements must be managed in accordance with the procedures in this document.

Part A - Responsibilities


(13) Schools are responsible for:

  1. providing placement organisations and students with appropriate preparation for undertaking a placement;
  2. conducting a risk assessment where an existing agreement with a placement organisation does not already provide for a risk assessment;
  3. monitoring placements and student progress in accordance with University policies and procedures;
  4. ensuring the placement environment is accessible in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth), where required, and obtaining the placement organisation's agreement to implement an individual student's reasonable adjustments as outlined in their Academic Integration Plan;
  5. ensuring the placement arrangements comply with any relevant professional accreditation requirements;
  6. ensuring appropriate staff are available to coordinate placements;
  7. ensuring placement coordinators are suitably trained in their responsibilities;
  8. organising the administrative requirements of the placement, as applicable;
  9. ensuring a clear communication system is in place to deal with students' issues or queries, and the keeping of accurate records of all such dealings;
  10. ensuring the placement coordinator, the placement organisation and the student understand the assessment requirements and the role of each person in the assessment process;
  11. ensuring the placement coordinator, placement organisation and student understand:
    1. the inherent requirements of the course;
    2. the work to be undertaken during the placement;
    3. the duration of the placement; and
    4. the processes for managing a student at risk of not satisfactorily completing a placement;
  12. ensuring the placement coordinator and the student understand their obligations to comply with the University's Code of Conduct, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) and any form of code of behaviour as stipulated by the placement organisation;
  13. ensuring the student is covered by adequate insurance for the placement, including providing the placement organisation, if requested, with a copy of the University's General and Product Liability and Group Accident Insurance policy;
  14. ensuring a student has the opportunity to provide feedback about the placement to their placement coordinator;
  15. ensuring all parties are aware of the processes when a student experiences unlawful or inappropriate behaviour from an employer, colleague or other person whilst on placement;
  16. taking action to prevent further student placements at organisations that do not provide a safe and appropriate placement for students, and communicating such action to relevant University schools or units; and
  17. maintaining a written record of the criteria used to select and approve individual placements, as well as the placement location, including address and contact details, of placement sites.

(14) Placement coordinators are responsible for:

  1. monitoring placements by liaising with placement organisations and remaining in contact with the students;
  2. making placement organisations aware of the University's policies and procedures governing placements;
  3. ensuring students are aware of any particular requirements stipulated by the placement organisation, for example a dress code; and
  4. regularly communicating with the student and placement organisation during the placement.

(15) Schools should enter into a written agreement with a placement organisation in relation to placements they or their students arrange.

Students with a Disability

(16) The University will provide reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities to complete placement requirements for their program of study or unit.

(17) In addition to the above responsibilities, placement coordinators must:

  1. ensure any reasonable adjustments set out in a student's Academic Integration Plan are in place prior to the student commencing placement and are implemented during the placement; and
  2. liaise with the University's Disability Service in relation to the student's Academic Integration Plan, as provided in the Student Disability Principles and Procedures.

International Students

(18) In addition to the above responsibilities, schools must:

  1. ensure placements for international students comply with Education Services for Overseas Students' legislation (in particular Part C 6.1 and 8.1 of the ESOS National Code);
  2. provide information to international students about the Australian employment context and relevant workplace legislation; and
  3. ensure students understand compulsory placement hours do not count towards the 40 hours per fortnight work limit that applies to student visa holders during study sessions, but that in undertaking work beyond the compulsory placement, students must comply with the limitations imposed by their student visa.

Offshore Placements

(19) In addition to the above responsibilities, schools must:

  1. identify and manage additional risks and other considerations related to offshore placements; and
  2. assist students as far as practicable with any administrative arrangements required to prepare for placements offshore, including insurance and travel requirements.


(20) Students must undertake and complete placements that are a requirement of their unit or program as scheduled, and notify their school of any matter that is a serious disruption to their studies.

(21) Before undertaking placements, students will:

  1. have confirmed they meet the inherent requirements of the course;
  2. become familiar with the competencies required by the particular course relevant to the placement;
  3. complete any program requirements or prerequisites;
  4. ensure they meet any special requirements relevant to their placement organisation including confirming their compliance with mandatory legal requirements such as police and working with children checks;
  5. complete any required documentation;
  6. disclose any disability or health condition that may affect the placement to the Disability Service and, in partnership with the Disability Service, develop an Academic Integration Plan;
  7. provide consent, following discussion with the placement coordinator, for the release of any necessary information to the placement organisation; and
  8. contact the placement organisation as advised by the placement coordinator.

(22) While undertaking placements, students are expected to:

  1. uphold standards of professional behaviour;
  2. take due care with the placement organisation's equipment and other property;
  3. comply with any laws that apply to the placement in the relevant jurisdiction, including work health and safety requirements and child protection;
  4. be present at the agreed site during agreed working hours and participate fully in the assigned tasks and activities and any required training;
  5. carry their University identification at all times;
  6. regularly contact the placement coordinator to report on progress of the placement;
  7. report to the placement coordinator and their placement organisation any matters that might affect their ability or fitness to undertake or continue to undertake the placement or any task or activity;
  8. comply with the safety instructions and policies, rules or procedures that apply to the placement organisation;
  9. inform both the placement coordinator and the placement organisation of any absences from the placement as soon as possible;
  10. notify the placement coordinator and the placement organisation immediately of any accident or incident that occurs whilst on placement;
  11. communicate any concerns about the placement environment to their placement coordinator;
  12. advise the placement coordinator of any requests the placement organisation makes of the student to undertake work that is beyond the agreed tasks and activities; and
  13. meet any expenses associated with the placement the University prescribes (excluding insurance costs or costs of implementing reasonable adjustments), such as those related to accommodation and travel to and from the placement, specific requirements of the placement organisation including attire, and any levies imposed by the University relating to attendance or non-attendance at the placement.

(23) A student must consult with their placement coordinator before withdrawing from a placement.

Placement Organisations

(24) Placement organisations are responsible for:

  1. having appropriate public liability insurance in place, where applicable;
  2. providing students with appropriate orientation to the placement environment, in association with the placement coordinator;
  3. providing regular feedback to the student about their performance and consulting with the placement coordinator about any circumstances which may affect the student successfully completing the placement;
  4. ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of students so that they are not put at risk during the placement and the placement environment complies with any applicable work health and safety legislation;
  5. providing a suitably qualified person to supervise the student while at the organisation, including monitoring any work health and safety and other risks, and providing feedback to the placement coordinator;
  6. providing the necessary equipment, other resources and training to the student to undertake assigned tasks and activities; and
  7. implementing a student's Academic Integration Plan, where applicable.

Part B - Criteria for Approving Placement Sites

(25) A school may approve an organisation for a student placement where:

  1. the placement involves skills, knowledge and experience relevant to the student's unit or program of study;
  2. the placement organisation has agreed to its responsibilities under these procedures;
  3. the placement organisation can adequately accommodate the student for the placement period; and
  4. the placement coordinator has determined the placement is suitable having regard to:
    1. the objectives and/or course learning outcomes and UWS graduate attributes of the relevant program or unit;
    2. the ability of the organisation to provide the student with the experience of working in the organisation;
    3. the outcomes of a risk assessment undertaken in relation to the placement; and
    4. accessibility for the student undertaking the placement at the placement environment, as relevant, which may be assessed by an independent assessor where an Academic Integration Plan is in place for the student.

(26) Schools may also approve a workplace or organisation which has been approved by a relevant government agency or professional association for the purposes of registration or other accreditation.

Part C - Assessment of Placements

(27) Assessment of students undertaking placements must be designed to ensure their learning experiences are assessed, and assessments are to be undertaken in accordance with the Assessment Policy - Criteria and Standards-Based Assessment.

(28) Assessment of a placement should include, where practicable, input from a person at the placement organisation who was responsible for supervising the student.

Part D - Unsatisfactory Performance or Placement Breakdown

(29) Schools must manage unsatisfactory performance by a student at a placement in accordance with the relevant University policies, including the Student Code of Conduct, the Progression and Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Policy, the Assessment Policy - Criteria and Standards-Based Assessment, and the Student Misconduct Rule.

(30) Where there is a breakdown of a placement due to the student's performance, unforeseen circumstances or other similar factors affecting the student, the school may withdraw the student from a placement for a specified period and subject to specific conditions, or for the remainder of the placement period.

(31) Where there is a breakdown of a placement due to unlawful or inappropriate behaviour of a person(s) at the placement organisation, other than the student, or arising from other circumstances at the organisation, the school may withdraw the student from the placement without risk of academic penalty, and may revoke the agreement with the organisation to provide placements to students.

Part E - Non-Payment of Placement Levy

(32) Where a school has imposed an approved placement levy on a student and the levy is not paid by the specified date, the school will arrange for an encumbrance to be placed on the student's record. The encumbrance will prevent the student obtaining examination results and other records, enrolling in new units, accessing University facilities, including vUWS, the library and information technology resources, and graduating. The encumbrance will be removed once the levy is paid.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(33) UWS International webpage