Work placement is a period of learning where a student is placed with an agency from the Community Services Industry. Many students remember their work placement above all their other work as the most influential part of their course. The work placement will offer you the opportunity to see and implement models of practice; test out your areas of interest for future work; and to develop an understanding how community services is delivered across the industry in the context of the wider community. Most importantly it is a time when a student can develop a professional identity to assist them in their endeavours to secure employment.
Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) Work Placement: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the purpose of Work Placement?
The purpose of the Work Placement is to turn theory into practice by providing learners with the opportunity to put knowledge and skills learned in the classroom into practice under the guidance of experienced youth work supervisors. Work Placement involves the active participation of the student in a workplace and a placement cannot be only observational.
Work placements are conducted in host agencies that provide community services and youth work and meet the professional standards of the work placement program of the School.
By the end of the placement learners will have:
- Been exposed to the workplace environment
- Observed experienced community workers and youth workers in action
- Developed and practiced skills studied in the classroom in the workplace
- Been assessed in a real work environment working under appropriate supervision over a period of time
- Had the opportunity to developed the capacity to reflect on their own work practices and growing knowledge and practice base
2. What are the requirements of Work Placement?
Prior to the commencement of placement students must complete a Working with Children Check and a National Criminal Record Check.
Work placement for the Diploma of Case Management commences in the 2nd trimester of study. Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) 210 hours
3. What is the structure of Work Placement?
You are required to complete 210 hours of workplace over the term of your course; 10 hours is completed in class in the first trimester, 100 hours of placement is completed in the second trimester and the final 100 hours of placement is completed in the third trimester.
It is recommended that placement be conducted as 1 to 2 x day per week (7.5 to 15 hours). Other options such as block periods may be considered if the block is completed so long as any one block does not comprise more than one third of the minimum hours.
These arrangements can be negotiated with your Host Agency, Work Placement Supervisor (Placement B and C teacher), ‘ and Work Placement Coordinator.
4. How do I find a Work Placement?
You will be given a Work Placement Registration form which you must complete and return to your ACAP Work Place Supervisor. The form has questions asking about your availability hours, areas of interest you would like to be involved in and any ideas of where you would like to do your placement For example; your Local Neighborhood or Community Centre.
We encourage you to research and source a suitable and appropriate Agency that is of interest and fits in with your studies, ask if they take Diploma students on Work Placement and if they have a vacancy. Once you have the information, please forward it to your ACAP Work Place Supervisor and they will follow it up and formally set up the placement.
If are unable secure your own placement don’t worry! Your Work Placement Supervisor and the Work Placement Coordinator will work with you to source an appropriate placement for you.
5. What will I be doing on Work Placement?
Students are expected to behave in a professional manner and work directly with clients and be involved in the direct delivery of some type of program/project. This may be assisting with the running of an existing activity program; it may be assisting in the setting up and implementation a new program.
It may also be working with small or large groups of clients or it may be that they are working with an agency to support a number of individuals.
Such programs and tasks may include:
- Class room aid
- Advocacy and referral
- Administration including filing
- Assist with intake forms and case work
- First point of contact / reception
- Recreation activities
- Arts and crafts
- Life skills and leadership workshops
- Men’s’ or Women’s’ group
- After school youth programs
Work Placement is supported in different subjects in each trimester:
In the Diploma of Community Services (Case Management), work placement is supported by Skills for Working in Industry, Work Placement B and Work Placement C.
These are co-requisites of the following subjects respectively and work placement must be undertaken in the trimesters that these subjects are studied.
- ‘Skills for Working in Industry’ – planning for and finding your placement considered as 10 hours of placement
- ‘Society in the Australian Context’ – conducting 100 hours of placement
- ‘Program Development’ – conducting 100 hours of placement
- In addition, the subjects ‘Society in the Australian Context’, ‘Workplace Communication’ and ‘Program Development' all have at least one assessment item that requires work be conducted in your work placement.
In each of these subjects some assessment tasks are directly linked to the work placement. Other subjects also have assessment tasks that are required to be completed while on Work Placement.
6. How will I be supported?
Students are supported in their placement through Work Placement workshops and peer-supervision sessions conducted IN the subjects ‘Work Placement B & Work Placement C.
These workshops are facilitated by the Work Placement Supervisor (Placement B and C) and they provide students with the support necessary to establish and prepare for placement, develop a Workplace Learning Plan, ensure accurate record keeping, review their work practices and develop critical reflection tools, link classroom theory to practice, understand the supervisory relationship, review completion of work tasks and develop a portfolio of performance that showcases their work placement work to future employers.
In the placement the Agency Supervisor provides supervision and support to the student. They must have a supervisory role within the organisation and not have a direct family relationship with the student.
7. How will I be assessed?
The work undertaken in your Work Placement forms the basis for key assessment tasks in the subjects ‘Skills for Working in Industry’; ‘Society in the Australian Context’; and ‘Program Development’ in the Diploma of Case Management. Included in this are the Mid Placement Review and a final Work Placement Portfolio which will include a Final Placement Reflection Report, signed Timesheets, Work Placement Reflection Journal and examples of project-based assessments conducted on placement.
The Agency Supervisor completes two Agency Supervisor’s Reports the students work on placement, one for the Mid Placement Review and a final Agency Supervisor’s Work Placement Final Evaluation. In addition, students will have subject-specific assessments that will ask them to draw on work done in placement or to engage with the young people they are working with. Agency Supervisors may also be asked to sign additional Agency Supervisor’s Assessment Reports for specific subjects.
8. Will I be able to complete my placement at my workplace?
If you are currently working in an appropriate community welfare agency, you can discuss using your current employment as part of the placement requirements. However, this will need to be discussed with the Work Placement Coordinator to obtain approval. Considerations will be made based on the agency, type of work, and level of supervision.
9. Can I enrol into more than one placement unit in a term?
Ideally it’s best for students to complete their whole placement at the same agency for consistency and continuity of their experience in the community. However, you can split the hours within two agencies provided all the placement requirements are met.
10. If I don’t find a placement can I still study full time that term?
Placement is part of the curriculum and as such, it is a requirement to complete placement as part of the Diploma course. If you are unable to secure your own placement, ACAP has a list of various suitable agencies that take work placement students and we can assist in placing you. You can still study full time however you will need to assess your study load and work placement commitments.
11. Can all of my placements be at the same agency?
Yes, you only need to complete one placement, consisting of 200 hours at one agency.
12. If I change from one course to the other can my placement be brought across?
This is possible, however you must check with the Course Coordinator to ensure it meets curriculum requirements.
If you have any questions, please contact the Work Placement Team at VETplacement@acap.edu.au