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VET Practical Placement Procedure

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) The purpose of this Procedure and its associated Guidelines is to ensure that Practical Placement complies with:

  1. Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015
  2. Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000
  3. Guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Training Victoria for Registered Training Organisations and Employers in relation to Post-Secondary Students undertaking Practical Placements (Updated Practical Placement Guidelines) as at 10 April 2017 Victorian Department of Education and Training, VET Funding Contract;
  4. Requirements for professional bodies and industry regulators about accreditation and professional registration; and
  5. all related University policies and procedures.
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Section 2 - Scope 

(2) This Procedure applies to Practical Placements undertaken as part of National Training Package qualifications and VET accredited courses, including delivery in Australia and offshore. It outlines the responsibility for, and processes involved in, the effective delivery and management of Practical Placements at VU Polytechnic.

(3) This procedure does not apply to Structured Workplace Learning for students in VCE or VCAL programs.

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Section 3 - Definitions

(4) Host Employer

(5) Host Clinical Educator (Nursing): An employee of the host organisation who is suitably qualified and approved by VU Polytechnic to take responsibility for supervision of a nursing student during Practical Placement. i.e. the clinical educator.

(6) Practical Placement: A required or assessable component of a qualification. Undertaken by VU’s VET students and is intended to develop job-related skills in the area of the particular post-secondary course. Only conducted when a requirement of a qualification, as specified in the relevant Training Package, accredited course curriculum or by a professional body for the purposes of accreditation.

(7) Practical Placement Coordinator or Field Education Coordinator: Responsible for the management and coordination of the practical placement program in a course area.

(8) VET Practical Placement Agreement: A formal agreement between the student, the host employer and Victoria University Polytechnic, which outlines the responsibilities of all parties.

(9) Suitable workplace environments: An environment which provides a safe, relevant and appropriate learning environment for students undertaking practical placement. Students should not be placed in a workplace setting where they are currently engaged in paid work.

(10) Supervising teacher: The VET teacher allocated responsibility for supervision and assessment of a student during Practical Placement.

(11) Unit of competency: The specification of the standards of performance required in the workplace as defined in a training package.

(12) VET accredited course

(13) Workplace Supervisor: Suitably qualified worker and/or experienced supervisor nominated by the host employer to provide direct supervision for the student undertaking placement. The designated workplace supervisor must be on site for the full duration of the placement. In instances where the supervisor cannot be available, another named supervisor should be allocated.

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Section 4 - Policy/Regulation

(14) Work Integrated Learning Policy (HE)

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Section 5 - Procedures

Part A - Summary Roles and Responsibilities

Roles

Responsibilities

Directors
Managers
Ensure that regulatory guidelines, directions and requirements relating to Practical Placement for VET students are accessed and adhered to.
Directors Review and approve applications for offshore placement
Legal Services
Provide advice and guidance to Victoria University Polytechnic about interstate and international placements, practical placement agreements and requirements of regulatory bodies.
Managers
Coordinators
Determine if practical placement is required by the relevant Training Package, accredited curriculum or by a professional body for the purposes of accreditation.
Ensure that practical placement requirements are identified on marketing materials, including any industry specific requirements e.g. immunisations, Working with Children and/or Police Checks
Develop Training and Assessment Strategies with teaching staff which outline:
hours allocated to Practical Placement aligned to units of competency; scheduling of Practical Placements to accommodate prerequisite skills requirements and Occupational Health and Safety training; host employers / range of work environments, if applicable
Document industry evidence supporting the structure and duration of Practical Placements
Communicate Practical Placement requirements to prospective students prior to enrolment
Develop Training Plans which clearly identify units of competency assessed in the workplace and hours of workplace delivery by unit
Assign appropriately qualified teachers to scheduled Practical Placements
At course completion, forward Practical Placement records to Student Records, to be retained for seven (7) years after the completion of placement.
For offshore practical placements:
obtain written approval from the relevant director; document responsibilities between parties involved;  complete all Victoria University International (VUI) required documentation.
Manager –Nursing and Paramedics
Report Practical Placement information to ANMAC twice yearly.
Managers
Coordinators
Teachers
Develop Unit /Cluster Guides that outline requirements for practical placement and the hours allocated per unit.
Develop Practical Placement Guides for students, Workplace Supervisors and Supervising teachers.
Develop a tool to document student OHS induction and attendance on practical placement (e.g. Student OHS induction checklist and placement log book).
Source and assess suitable workplace environments for Practical Placement, with consideration to Occupational Health and Safety, staff qualifications, adequacy of supervision and Safety and Welfare of Young People policy considerations.
Conduct Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) assessment reviews and site inspections for new host employers that are not subject to regular independent accreditation reviews. The Victoria University New Host Employer Assessment Form and Site Checklist should be used and stored in the teaching department network drive or the University’s placement management database.
Where hazards are identified, document strategies to address them and/or refer to Victoria University OHS department for advice, if required.
Ensure VET Practical Placement Agreements contain at least the minimum requirements as detailed in the VET Funding Contract.
Ensure VET Practical Placement Agreements are signed prior to placement commencement.
Provide copies of agreements to all parties and retain original on student file.
Respond to student and host employer concerns and complaints.
Conduct, action and report Practical Placement evaluations.
Receive and respond to incident / injury reports provided by the student and/or host employer.
Customise learning activities as required for offshore placements.
Document arrangements and expectations for students in non-placement time during offshore practical placements.
 
Teachers
Coordinators
Liaise with host employers to determine and document placement arrangements, including supervision, tasks and hours of work.
Conduct pre-placement preparation activities.
Ensure students have obtained required pre-placement checks (e.g. Police National Record check, Working with Children Check).
 Identify students’ readiness for placement via Course Progress Reviews and completion of pre-placement preparation activities.
Match students to suitable workplaces based on skills, knowledge, interests and practical considerations.
Ensure that students complete an OHS induction prior to commencement or on the first day of practical placement. The OHS induction checklist should be signed by the student and the host employer and a copy provided to the teaching department for storage on the student file.  
Conduct assessments in the workplace and provide documented feedback to students.
Source additional and/or alternative Practical Placements as required.
Conduct placement debriefing / evaluation at the end of placement (where applicable).
Workplace Health and Safety Department
Provide advice in relation to Occupational Health and Safety issues in practical placement settings.
Host Clinical Educators
Supervise students in the workplace for nursing placements and provide documented feedback to students in relation to skills and development.

Part B - Procedures

(15) The Deputy Vice-President, Vocational Education and Training to liaise with Legal Services about changes to regulatory requirements for Practical Placements, and interstate and international placements, when required.

(16) Training and Assessment Strategies are developed, identifying Practical Placement aligned to qualification requirements as stated in the relevant Training Package (or curriculum document), unit/s of competency and allocation of hours. Additional hours allocation is supported by appropriate evidence such as industry endorsement and/or professional body / licensing requirements

(17) Practical Placement requirements are clearly communicated to prospective students via VU’s website, course information sessions and other associated marketing material.

(18) Learning and Assessment Plans and Unit / Cluster Guides are developed to include details of units of competency assessed in the workplace, along with the hours allocated to placement.

(19) Training Plans are developed to articulate unit/s delivered and assessed in the workplace along with allocated hours per unit.

(20) Practical Placement Guides, logbooks and assessment tools developed for host employers, students and assessing teachers.

(21) Workplace environments sourced and assessed for suitability in relation to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), travel safety, accessibility, supervision arrangements, scope of work, relevant learning opportunities and Welfare and Safety of Children and Young People policy requirements for students under 18 years of age.

(22) Site visits and OHS inspections are conducted for all new host employers unless the organisation is subject to regular independent accreditation reviews. Evidence of current accreditation should be obtained and stored in the relevant course area network drive and/or the University’s placement management database. The Host Assessment Form (Victoria University Polytechnic) and the Host Employer Site OHS Checklist (Victoria University Polytechnic) should be completed, signed and stored in the relevant course area network drive and/or the University’s placement management database.

(23) Prospective host employers are informed of their rights and responsibilities for VET students undertaking practical placement.

(24) Students are allocated a Workplace Supervisor by the host employer.

(25) Students are prepared for practical placement through a range of preparatory activities including, but not limited to:

  1. Workshops and/or relevant professional practice classes
  2. Reading and completion of associated written activities and/or assessments
  3. Individual meetings with placement teachers / coordinators
  4. Research relating to the area of work, the host employer and workplace expectations.

(26) Students demonstrate readiness for practical placement through satisfactory course progress and additional requirements as documented in the TAS and communicated to students pre-enrolment (e.g. provision of a current Working with Children Check, National Police Record Check, physical preparedness)

(27) VU sight and record any identifying number regarding documents required by a host organisation, for instance, police record check documents, working with children documents etc. (‘Student Placement Documents’)

(28) VU comply with all placement agreements and, where required under that agreement, inform a host organisation where an issue arises

(29) VU does not disclose the nature of any student issue but permits the student and the host organisation to discuss the matter in private. In the event a significant problem is disclosed in the Student Placement Documents, then the Manager/Director of that teaching area should be informed, and the matter referred to Legal Services for advice

(30) VU does not copy or keep any Student Placement Documents (see Clause 27).

(31) VET Practical Placement Agreements are developed and signed by all parties (host employer, student and VU representative) prior to the commencement of placement. A copy must be provided to the host organisation and the student. The original should be retained on the student’s file. The VET Practical Placement Agreement must contain at a minimum:

  1. The rights, obligations and duties of the Host Employer, VU Polytechnic and the student;
  2. Name/s of students undertaking placement;
  3. Course of study and skills to be developed, reinforced and/or assessed during the placement;
  4. Location and address of placement;
  5. Start / finish times and dates, with the total length of the placement expressed as hours and the maximum per week;
  6. Name of the nominated Workplace Supervisor;
  7. Signatures of the Host Employer, VU Polytechnic designated staff member and student (and parent/guardian if under 18 years).

(32) Where applicable, overarching placement agreements with a host employer must be developed and signed by both the host employer and the Polytechnic. The original agreement should be retained by the Polytechnic and a copy provided to the host.

(33) Students are not to be placed in their own workplace for Practical Placement. Where a student’s workplace provides an appropriate scope of work for demonstration of competence, a workplace assessment is conducted. If there are professional body or licensing requirements in addition to Training Package / accredited curriculum requirements, the student is provided with a practical placement that enables them to meet those requirements.  

(34) Where required, details of Practical Placement arrangements are reported to professional or licensing bodies (e.g. ANMAC).

(35) Teachers who are allocated placement supervision responsibility for a student make contact with the student and the workplace supervisor in the first week of placement and make at least two further contacts to check progress and conduct assessment. For the purpose of assessment, at least one of these contacts must be face to face onsite at the host employer. Telephone and/or email contact is acceptable for the other contacts. Records of contacts must be maintained in the student file. Records should contain details of the type of contact, when it occurred (date and time), what was discussed and any follow up arrangements that were put in place. 

(36) Supervising teachers provide students with feedback to support them to demonstrate competence and document assessment outcomes in the Assessment Record Book or the Learning Management System.

(37) Where a student is unable to demonstrate competence within the allocated Practical Placement hours;

  1. the current practical placement should be reviewed to determine if the workplace environment can offer the learning and assessment opportunities required and, if so, additional hours should be agreed; or
  2. an alternative host employer should be sought if necessary.

(38) for both (a) and (b) a new Practical Placement agreement should be developed; the hours detailed in this agreement should be sufficient to address the outstanding assessments only.

(39) Specific details of the requirements for successful completion of the outstanding assessments should be documented and provided to the student and the host employer; and a copy should be retained on the student file.

(40) Where either the student or the host employer has a complaint about the practical placement, the supervising teacher should attempt to secure an appropriate resolution. If the issue cannot be resolved, the student should be withdrawn from placement and, if appropriate, offered an alternative Practical Placement opportunity.

(41)  In circumstances where a student or a supervising teacher identifies an issue relating to the student’s safety that cannot be immediately resolved, the student should be withdrawn from placement and provided with an alternative Practical Placement opportunity.

(42) Once all Practical Placement requirements have been met, the Practical Placement ceases. Any further engagement between the student and the host employer must be negotiated under voluntary or employment arrangements. The Polytechnic is not involved in this process.

(43) Post Practical Placement feedback should be sought from host employers, students and supervising teachers.

(44) Required actions from evaluations should be documented in the course area Continuous Improvement Plan.

(45) Practical Placement records (the agreement, attendance records and assessment evidence) should be forwarded to Student Records at course completion, to be retained for a period of seven years after completion of placement.

Part C - International Students and Offshore Practical Placements

(46) All practical placements undertaken by on-shore international students will comply with ESOS legislation and visa requirements.

(47)  All offshore practical placements undertaken by international or domestic students include:

  1. appropriate customisation of learning activities for offshore locations;
  2. clearly documented allocation of responsibilities between all parties for risk assessments of activities, risk management considerations in offshore locations, regular communication arrangements, and emergency response protocols;
  3. Details of arrangements and expectations of students in non-placement time.
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Section 6 - Guidelines

(48) VET Practical Placement Guidelines.