Frequently Asked Questions
Teacher Education: Professional Experience Placements
FAQs in this section are relevant for students who are undertaking compulsory placements as part of an Initial Teacher Education course. Students must complete a set number of hours at placement in order to be eligible for Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registration.
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
Work Integrated Learning (WIL)
FAQs in this section are relevant for students undertaking a Work Integrated Learning placement / internship in a non-clinical environment from both the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce (ASSC), and the College of Science, Health and Engineering (SHE).
What is Work Integrated Learning (WIL)?
Work Integrated Learning - or WIL - is a program where you will gain recognised course discipline or skill relevant experience with an organisation
WIL is a broad term that encompasses many different program or activity names. At La Trobe, the following terms are commonly used:
Industry-based learning (IBL)
Learning in the workplace
Regardless of the terms used, a WIL program or project typically has the following features:
- Educational: The work provides a basis for academic theory and/or vital skills to be applied for a practical purpose.
- Intentional and organised: The University and the host agree on the nature of the work to be undertaken. Increasingly students are involved in sourcing their own internship with a host and the University approves the suitability of the project / position.
- University recognised: Students receive academic credit. University staff members co-ordinate the program and lecturers supervise the academic and assessment components of the subject.
- Meaningful and Practical: Hosts provide a project, tasks, and responsibilities that are professionally suitable to the ability expected of you at your course stage and is useful to the operation of their organisation. Hosts also provide supervision of the activities occurring in the workplace.
How do I apply to take part in a WIL subject?
The application process for each subject may differ, therefore it is best to check the individual subject details for more information.
- Check the website for subject offerings relevant to your course / major / interests
- Read the relevant entry in the Handbook and check your eligibility
Information for SHE College students:
- Enrol directly and / or contact the Subject Coordinator based on instructions in the subject description
- Some subjects have approved opportunities you apply for, similar to applying for a job (e.g. resume, cover letter, interview are required)
- Other subjects you will need to source your own internship and seek approval via your College Experiential Learning team or Subject Coordinator
- SHE students should contact the Subject Coordinator of the relevant subject regarding university sourced opportunities that may be available.
Information for ASSC College students
Step 1 - Check the website for subject offerings relevant to your course / major / interests
Step 2 - Read the relevant entry in the Handbook and check your eligibility
Step 3 - Submit an expression of interest via the link and you will be notified of the application process for the subject(s) you’re interested in. For some subjects it is direct enrolment and for other subjects there is a required application process in order to be approved by the Subject Coordinator
Additionally look for internship opportunities on CareerHub, and apply. In the lead up to applying contact the College Experiential Learning team for assistance to check if you were to be successful would be able to enrol in a WIL subject (NB: circumstances dependent and there’s no guarantee) https://latrobe.careerhub.com.au
Who organises my WIL placement?
This depends on the course you are enrolled in. The university will source placements for some subjects, while others will require you to source your own placement. If you are required to find your own placement, your Subject Coordinator, the College Experiential 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 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 enrol 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.
Can I do my 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.
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, or by making an appointment to chat with an advisor from La Trobe Abroad. You will need to allow 8-12 weeks for the international placement approval process and possibly longer for non-vetted programs.
Visit the Overseas Short Programs page for more information.
Will I get paid for my placement?
Great question! Unfortunately the answer to this question is often, no. Work placements tend to be unpaid as students are considered to benefit by gaining knowledge and experience, and in many cases, by earning credit towards your degree. In some instances organisations will offer a stipend (tax free scholarship) 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.
Is there any financial support available?
A range of financial support is available to La Trobe University students. The Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion team have put together some resources to help you while you're at uni.
You may also be eligible for a grant to assist you financially. There are two which are particularly suitable for students undertaking placement:
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Can I use my paid employment for placement?
If you do a special project or undertake work outside of your usual tasks, you may undertake placement in the same organisation as where you already work. This is subject to approval by your Subject Coordinator.
You should not be undertaking an unpaid placement with your current employer while undertaking your regular duties. If you are undertaking your regular duties and using this towards the hours required for placement, you should be getting paid as an employee as per usual practice.
Are there any special requirements that I need to be aware of?
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, Police Check or other security clearance, before undertaking a work placement.
The College 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.
Make sure you allow sufficient time prior to commencing placement to meet any special requirements as you will be unable to commence placement without them.
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 College Experiential Learning teams. Prior to applying to participate in a placement 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 College Experiential Learning teams for general advice and support.
What if I have a Learning Access Plan (LAP)?
The University strongly encourages you to disclose any disability, mental health issue or ongoing medical condition that might impact your ability to undertake your placement or Work Integrated Learning (WIL) experience. Notifying us in a timely manner allows us to consider a reasonable adjustment to allow you to participate on an equitable basis on your placement. It is important to make sure that any considerations for placement or WIL are clearly included in your LAP. Once a LAP has been provided to us or your Subject/Year Coordinator, we will work to ensure any reasonable adjustments are made to support you through your placement and help to set you up for success.
It is important that you understand that any reasonable adjustments must still be in line with the inherent requirements of your course and/or assessment, and must meet the logistical and operational requirements of the facility that you are undertaking placement in – for this reason we are unable to guarantee that all requested consideration can be met by all placement providers.
The University respects your privacy (see our privacy statement) so you can feel confident in our assistance. You can seek advice on Disability Support Services, register online, make a face to face or phone appointment and find contacts on your campus by visiting the AccessAbility Hub.