Frequently Asked Questions
Teacher Education: Professional Experience Placements
What is a professional experience placement?
A professional experience placement is a requirement of all Initial Teacher Education Programs.
During a professional experience placement, Pre Service Teachers practice teaching in a classroom environment or educational setting under the direct supervision and guidance of a qualified educator.
Who organises my professional experience placement?
All professional experience placements are organised by the ASSC Placement Operations team on your behalf. Please do not organise your own placement or contact a school directly.
How and when do I find out about my professional experience placement?
You will find out about your professional experience placement by receiving an email from the ASSC Placement Operations team via a system called InPlace. Please ensure that you are regularly checking your student email account.
The majority of placement allocations will be released two weeks prior to your Placement commencing.
How far will I have to travel for my professional experience placement?
You may be expected to travel up to 75 minutes each way to your professional experience placement location.
The ASSC Placement Operations team do their best to place students close to home but due to the competitive nature of the sector and the teaching methods that students undertake, this is not always possible.
Can I decline an allocated professional experience placement?
Students are not able to decline a professional experience placement unless there are exceptional circumstances such as a conflict of interest.
Please note that travel time that is shorter than 75 minutes each way and work commitments are not acceptable reasons to decline a placement.
Do I need a working with children check and how do I apply?
All students who undertake a professional experience placement must have a working with children check.
The application is free for student teachers who are considered to be volunteers, providing they are not employed in a school at the time of the application.
Please apply for your working with children check as soon as possible as applications can take 8 weeks or more to process. You can find more information by visiting workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au
Internships: For-Credit Placement Opportunities & Not-For-Credit (Volunteer) Placement Opportunities
Am I eligible to do an internship / work placement?
Many work placements (WIL subjects) are competitive and may have eligibility requirements. Students must have completed at least 120 credit points to be eligible for most internships. For more information on the selection requirements check the subject descriptions or contact us to find out more.
Who organises my internship / work placement?
You are encouraged to find your host organisation for your internship or placement (often referred to as "self-sourcing" a placement). Your Subject Coordinator, the Work Integrated Learning Teams, and the Career Ready Team can provide guidance on how you can contact organisations directly, prepare your resume and prepare for selection interviews.
Important: participation in most placement subjects is strictly by Subject Coordinator approval. This means that, once you have identified a suitable opportunity, you will also need to apply to the Subject Coordinator for approval to enroll in the subject. This helps the University to ensure that your placement meets the subject requirements, and will be a meaningful learning experience for you.
Will I be covered by La Trobe University insurance while I am on my internship / work placement?
Yes. La Trobe University’s insurance covers students while they are on internship or placements. Students are required to complete a placement agreement which is signed by their host organisation supervisor and their subject coordinator. For more information about La Trobe University insurance, please click here. Detailed information is provided at specific subject inductions.
I am employed part time, can I do my internship / work placement with my current employer?
If you do a special project outside of your usual tasks you may be placed in the same organisation as where you already work. This is subject to approval by your Subject Coordinator.
Important: If you are undertaking an unpaid internship with your current employer, it is not appropriate for you to carry out your regular duties with your employer as this would constitute a work relationship and may be in breach of the Fair Work Act. It is imperative that your work focuses on a project that stands outside of your usual tasks.
Am I supposed to get paid for the work that I do?
Unfortunately, no. Work placements are usually unpaid as student are considered to benefit by gaining knowledge and experience, and in many cases, by earning credit towards your degree. There are some instances where organisations will offer a small payment (or stipend) however the majority will be unpaid.
If you enter into a work relationship with an organisation, and undertake work as an employee, you should expect to be paid for your work. Internships and work placements are viewed a little differently because you are undertaking work in a learning context, and as such you are not considered to have entered into an employment relationship with the organisation. It is for this reason that students generally do not undertake work that is required for the daily running of the company, but rather, students tend to work on projects which assist and support the work being undertaken by employees.
If you have any concerns about the nature of the work that you are undertaking as part of your placement, please speak with your Subject Coordinator as soon as possible so that we can provide you with support. The Fair Work Ombudsman website also contains some helpful information.
Do I need a Working with Children Check or Police Check?
This will depend on where you are doing your work placement, so you will need to check this with your employer prior to commencing your placement.
Some organisations require you to undergo a Working with Children Check (WWCC), Police Check or other security clearance, before undertaking a work placement. The Experiential Learning Teams can provide more advice about this as required. It is an important question to ask when you are speaking with prospective employers about doing a placement.
What if I don’t have space in my course to fit in an internship / work placement?
La Trobe University supports not for credit internships through the Career Ready program. For more information about Career Ready, please click here.
A "not for credit" placement is classified as a volunteering opportunity which you undertake alongside your academic studies but for which you do not earn any credit towards your degree.
Can I do my internship / work placement overseas?
Yes. There are some opportunities to do a placement overseas, subject to the approval of your Subject Coordinator and La Trobe Abroad. The best place to start is to contact La Trobe Abroad to find out what opportunities are available. You can also find some information on the Overseas Short Programs section of the La Trobe University website.
Important: In order to ensure that adequate protections are in place, it is advisable to investigate placement options with listed partners which have already been vetted by the University. You can find out more on the website (see link above), or by making an appointment to chat with an advisor with La Trobe Abroad.
How will I benefit from doing an internship / work placement?
Completing a work placement can be a fantastic stepping stone to the next stage of your career. By doing a work placement you get to:
- develop your professional networks and make contacts in your chosen field
- enhance your job opportunity seeking skills
- improve your workplace readiness
- explore career options and find your passion!
Most students comment that after completing this subject their studies make much more sense to them and they feel their understanding of the subject matter increases and they are more motivated to study.
What kind of support can I expect to receive during my internship / work placement?
You will be supported throughout your placement by your Subject Coordinator, and the Work Integrated Learning team.
Prior to applying to participate in this subject, you are encouraged to make an appointment with the Career Ready team. They will be able to help you to formulate your CV, and write a great Cover Letter! They will also be able to give you advice and support on how to go about sourcing a placement. This includes ideas on the types of companies you could contact, what to say when you call, and how best to follow up if you have not received a response to your email / phone call.
Before you begin your placement, there will be usually be an induction session. This session is designed to make sure that you are prepared, and set up for best success. This session covers both the practical aspects of being on placement, as well as providing you with a broader understanding of the academic requirements for this subject.
During your placement, the Subject Coordinator will make contact with your host organisation to check in, and make sure that everything is going as planned. If you have any concerns at any stage before, during, or after your placement, please make sure that you check in with your Subject Coordinator. They will be able to provide you with advice and support. You can also contact the Work Integrated Learning team for general advice and support.
After your placement you will be invited to give feedback on your overall experience. This is very helpful for us as we strive for continuous improvement in our program.