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Work Integrated Learning - Practical Placement Procedure (VET)

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) The purpose of this Procedure 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;
  4. Victorian Department of Education and Training, Skills First Dual Sector VET Funding Contract;
  5. Requirements for professional bodies and industry regulators about accreditation and professional registration; and
  6. 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.

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Section 3 - Definitions

(3) Host Employer

(4) 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.

(5) Internal Placement Agreement Letter: An agreement signed by a student and a host Victoria University (VU) department, where a placement is undertaken within VU.

(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. 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 or with approval of the Polytechnic’s Course Advisory Committee (CAC).

(7) Practical Placement Coordinator or Field Education Coordinator: Responsible for the management and coordination of the practical placement program in a course area. This role may be held by a teacher or an administrative officer.

(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 (see Workplace Assessment).

(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 assessment: An assessment conducted by an allocated Polytechnic assessor in a student’s own workplace, where the workplace provides a relevant scope of work for the student to demonstrate the required skills and knowledge.

(14) VET Workplace Assessment Agreement: An agreement between an employer, a student and Victoria University Polytechnic, which outlines the arrangements for the conduct of a Workplace Assessment.

(15) 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

(16) 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
 
Allocate staff to coordinate practical placements.
Identify responsibilities for Placement Coordinators in line with their qualifications and/or role
Managers/ Senior Educators/ Placement Coordinators (as appropriate)
Determine if practical placement is required by the relevant Training Package, accredited curriculum or by a professional body for the purposes of accreditation.
Prepare and submit applications to the Polytechnic’s Course Approval Committee (CAC) for approval to include a practical placement requirement in a course where it is not mandated in the training product or required by a professional body.
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:
  1. hours allocated to Practical Placement aligned to units of competency;
  2. scheduling of Practical Placements to accommodate prerequisite skills requirements and Occupational Health and Safety training; and
  3. 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 and workplace assessments
Sight required student documentation and liaise with the student and host employer as required
At course completion, forward practical placement records to Student Records, to be retained for a period of seven (7) years after the completion of placement.
For offshore practical placements:
  1. obtain written approval from the relevant dean
  2. document responsibilities between parties involved
  3. complete all Victoria University International (VUI) required documentation
General Manager –Nursing and Paramedics
Report Practical Placement information to ANMAC twice yearly.
Managers/ Senior Educators/ Placement Coordinators /Teachers (as appropriate)
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 tools 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, access and inclusion and Safety and Welfare of Young People Policy and Procedure considerations
Conduct Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) assessment reviews for new host employers that are not subject to regular independent accreditation reviews. Conduct site inspections for all host employers. The Placement Host Assessment Form (Victoria University Polytechnic) and the Host Employer Site OHS Checklist (Victoria University Polytechnic) 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 Workplace Health and Safety Department for advice, if required.
Ensure that students complete the Fitness for Practical Placement Form (Victoria University Polytechnic) and the Travel Assessment Form (Victoria University Polytechnic) if required.
Review and approve applications for Workplace Assessments based on available scope of work in relation to course requirements.
Ensure VET Practical Placement Agreements and Internal Placement Letters contain at least the minimum requirements as detailed in the relevant VET Funding Contract
Ensure VET Practical Placement Agreements, Workplace Assessment Agreements and Internal Placement Agreement letters are signed prior to commencement of agreed arrangements.
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
 
Senior Educators /Teachers/ Placement Coordinators (as appropriate)
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 - Preparation and management of placements

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

(18) The relevant manager will prepare and submit an application to the Polytechnic’s Course Approval Committee (CAC) for approval to include a practical placement requirement in a course where it is not mandated in the training product or for professional registration. The application should include:

  1. Documented feedback from either a range of named industry representatives, where placements would be hosted by a number of employers, or from a specific organisation where placements would be with a single host employer;  
  2. An educational rationale for the inclusion of a placement; and
  3. Details of any additional resource or cost issues associated with the inclusion of a placement component.

(19) Teaching areas that deliver courses which have a Practical Placement will:

  1. Develop course documentation that includes relevant Practical Placement details:
    1. Training and Assessment Strategies (TAS) identify Practical Placement requirements as stated in the relevant training product, or as approved by the Polytechnic’s Course Approval Committee, and allocation of hours. The allocation of additional hours to those identified in the relevant training product or the maximum set out in the DET Practical Placement Guidelines must be supported by appropriate evidence such as industry endorsement and/or professional body/licensing requirements.
    2. Learning and Assessment Plans and Unit/Cluster Guides include details of units of competency assessed in the workplace, along with the hours allocated to placement. Training Plans identify unit/s delivered and assessed in the workplace, with the allocated hours per unit.
  2. Communicate practical placement requirements to prospective students via VU’s website, course information sessions, International Course Guide and other associated marketing material.
  3. Develop Practical Placement guides, logbooks and assessment tools; and provide them to host employers, students and assessing teachers.
  4. Source and assess workplace environments for suitability in relation to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), travel safety, accessibility, supervision arrangements, scope of work, appropriate supports for vulnerable students, relevant learning opportunities and Safety and Welfare of Children and Young People Policy and Procedure requirements for students under 18 years of age.
  5. Conduct site visits and OHS inspections 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.
  6. Arrange practical placements in accordance with relevant Anti-Discrimination Legislation and the Student Equity and Social Inclusion Policy.
  7. Prepare students 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; and
    4. Research relating to the area of work, the host employer and workplace expectations.

(20) Students must demonstrate readiness for practical placement through satisfactory course progress, satisfactory completion of relevant pre-requisite units 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).

(21) The relevant Polytechnic staff member must 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’). Where an issue is identified the Polytechnic will not disclose the nature of the issue but will permit 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, the Manager/Dean of that teaching area should be informed, and the matter referred to Legal Services for advice. Student Placement Documents must be returned to the student and not copied or retained by the Polytechnic.

(22) A VU Polytechnic VET Practical Placement Agreement must be 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.

(23) 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 student and the host.

(24) If a student undertakes a placement within Victoria University, the Internal Placement Agreement Letter should be used. The letter must be signed by the student and the relevant VU staff member from the host department prior to the commencement of the placement. A copy should be provided to the VU host department and the student. The original should be retained on the student’s file.

(25) Students should not 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 should be conducted. A Workplace Assessment Agreement must be signed by the student, the employer and the VU Polytechnic representative. A copy should be provided to the employer and the student. The original should be retained on the student’s file.

(26) Where the scope of work in the student’s workplace does not support demonstration of all required skills and knowledge and/or there are additional professional body or licensing requirements, the student must be provided with a practical placement/supplementary practical placement that enables them to meet those requirements.

(27) A VU Polytechnic Fitness for Practical Placement Form should be completed and signed by all students prior to commencing a placement and retained in the student file.

(28) A VU Polytechnic Travel Assessment Form should be completed by all students who will be traveling to or in regional areas for their placement, and retained in the student file.

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

Part C - Assessment arrangements

(30) Teachers who are allocated placement supervision responsibility for a student (supervising teachers) must make contact with the student and the workplace supervisor in the first week of placement and additional contacts commensurate with the duration of the placement, 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 contact/s. 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. 

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

(32) 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

(33) 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.

(34) 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.

Part D - Complaints and completion

(35) 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.

(36) 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.

(37) 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.

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

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

(40) 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 E - International Students and Offshore Practical Placements

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

(42)  All offshore practical placements undertaken by international or domestic students must 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

(43) VET Practical Placement Guidelines.