Structured Workplace Learning for Students

Studying a Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) or VCAL course this year?
Congratulations!! You are making a great start on your pathway to employment.
To complete your VETiS or VCAL you will need to do Structured Workplace Learning (SWL), on-the-job training where you can master a set of skills or competencies related to your course.

Is SWL the same as work experience?

No. You probably completed work experience in year nine or ten. This is different. Work experience is short term, usually a week, where you learn more by observing than doing. SWL is hands on! You will have the opportunity to practice and learn structured skills and abilities from your VETiS program, and much more!

What will you get out of SWL?

  • real industry skills
  • the chance to try out your skills and knowledge in a real workplace against real industry standards
  • completion of units and competency modules from your course
  • increased employability skills
  • a new understanding of what it takes to land a job!

By undertaking SWL you can expect to learn more about yourself and your abilities. Your confidence, maturity, industry understanding and personal career motivation will grow. And you will make great industry contacts who can help guide you to find employment after school.

How do you get started?

Only your teacher can help you set up your SWL with an employer. Here is how you can make a great start. Check out the live link of Geelong SWL opportunities on this Experience for Work for Young People site. Short list the ones from the industry area you are interested in.

When you have found an opportunity that meets the needs of your study, click on 'print a job beacon' and take it to your teacher. Alternatively you can email your selection to your teacher, or use the social media links on each opportunity to share with friends who also might be interested.

Your teacher will log in to this site, go to your opportunity and hit the apply button which will take them to a new page with instructions on how to contact the employer to arrange the next step.

What will it be like?

Each SWL experience will be different. Your number of working hours will depend on your course requirements. But you are expected to work a normal working day, and complete real industry tasks under close supervision and mentoring. For more about what to expect from your SWL experience click the resource button SWL Guide on this page.

Before you start

You must be undertaking a VETiS course in the same industry as your SWL placement and with an employer whose opportunity matches your study needs and interest.

You must also have undertaken your VETiS OH&S training and/or completed your Safe@Work online training modules (both the generic and industry specific modules).

Your school coordinator will give you a SWL Arrangement Form and a SWL Travel Form that must be signed by you, your parent/guardian, your employer and the school. You can see samples of these forms under Resources on this page.

Once you have received your forms from your school, you must ring the employer to arrange to meet and attend an interview with the employer. Both you and the employer must agree to the placement.

This meeting is a good time to ask them:

  • what time you start and finish
  • what you should wear
  • what tools you might have to bring
  • meal breaks
  • what tasks you will be doing

Make sure you get your SWL Forms signed by your employer and take them back to your school coordinator. This would be a great time to tell your supervisor if you have any special needs or requirements.

How can you do well?

Employers tell us they are looking for three things in any young person who wants to join their company:

  1. Punctuality If you arrive on time or early it tells your employer you are keen and ready to learn.
  2. Teach Ability Employers don’t want you to know everything. They want to know you can learn. Asks lots of questions. Employers say the only stupid question is the one you didn’t ask, that later causes everyone grief! Ask questions about your work but try to listen carefully to the answers. It is annoying when you ask the same question over and over again!
  3. Honesty It takes courage to admit when you have made a mistake, when you don’t understand, or when you are not comfortable. But employers want you to tell them the truth. When you do that you build trust.
Where can SWL lead you?

SWL is the first step along a career path that can lead you anywhere. Everything you learn will be useful no matter what career you eventually choose. To find out more about the trending industries in Geelong click on the icons at the foot of this page. To see real live jobs check out Geelong Careers. Who knows where SWL might lead you!