The following case studies demonstrate the importance of partnerships with education providers, employers and the community in providing quality workplace learning opportunities and outcomes for students.
The case studies also aim to highlight the value of the Workplace Learning Program for young people and industry.
Thilan’s work placement at St Vincents De Paul
The St Vincent De Paul Day Therapy Centre provides rehabilitation services including Physiotherapy, Nursing, Occupational and Speech Therapy, Podiatry and Allied Health. The IMVC Workplace Learning Program has facilitated a number of successful work placements at St Vincent’s in the areas of Community Services and Hospitality since 2011.
IMVC conducted an information session for Allied Health VET students to promote the benefits of undertaking work placements. Thilan was one of the students that attended the session. He is a high achieving Year 12 student with a desire to pursue a career in Medicine. Thilan saw the opportunity to participate in a work placement as a chance to expand his skill base. With the assistance of his school, and the support provided by the IMVC, Thilan arranged a preliminary meeting and interview with St Vincent De Paul Day Therapy Centre. Due to the positive response from both Thilan and St Vincent’s, Thilan was offered a place in the much sought after work placement.
Thilan felt supported all the way through his work placement at St Vincents. He found his induction at the centre very interactive and helped him prepare for what to expect. Thilan commented that the staff were very welcoming, prepared, able to pass down their knowledge effectively. Thilan had the opportunity to partake in client therapies. He particularly enjoyed working with the Speech Pathologist.
Dianne Groenwald, Thilan’s supervisor and the resident Occupational Therapist at the centre during the work placement stated that Thilan’s aptitude and abilities far exceeded her expectations. Thilan exceeded these expectations to the point that she asked him to assist with cognitive activities for clients almost immediately. She also commented that Thilan worked well within a team and asked just the right questions. Thilan demonstrated an increase in his skills and knowledge everyday across all the therapies offered in the centre. Dianne stated that she ‘would have Thilan back anytime’.
For Thilan his work placement at St Vincents De Paul Day Therapy Centre helped him understand the health needs of elderly people and contribute to their care. Thilan listed this as his major learning achievement and the most personally gratifying. Thilan feels empowered because he now knows what to expect working in the health industry. Thilan now also has the confidence to know what he needs to do, to further his career in this industry. His work placement experience has clarified any doubts he had about committing to a career in medicine and strongly recommends a placement at St Vincent De Paul Day Therapy Centre to all his fellow Allied Health VETiS students.
Bunnings is just the beginning for Aria, Kate and Billy
IMVC works closely with education providers such as Bulleen Heights School, a unique, single mode specialist, State school providing education for young people with autism spectrum disorders. IMVC facilitated work placements for three students with special needs from Bulleen Heights at Victoria Barracks. The success of these placements enabled further work placements to be arranged. IMVC approached Bunnings for retail, building and construction work placements for students with special needs. Bunnings was quick to understand the many benefits of workplace learning to both students and their business and was keen to act as a host employer.
The three students, Aria, Billy and Kate were placed in various Bunnings departments according to their individual interest. Aria was placed in the timber yard, Billy at the front counter self-serve checkout, while Kate spent time in the nursery. The students were assigned to these areas for the duration of the 10 week, one day a week work placement. At times the students were required to work with different people, to encourage flexibility in the workplace. They also benefited from a buddy system which Bunnings arranged to assist the special individual needs of the students.
The students enjoyed their work placements immensely and adjusted well to the retail environment.
Jack’s work placement with Transfield Services
Jack is a Year 10 student enrolled at Camberwell High School. Jack participated in the Making Alternatives Possible (MAP) Program. The MAP program is an initiative of the IMVC and was established to provide an alternative learning environment for young people “at risk” of disengaging from secondary school.
As part of the MAP program, Jack was provided with the opportunity to undertake a structured workplace learning placement, enabling him to effectively “try out” an industry he was interested in. Jack flagged the building and construction industry as a possible career option, and IMVC connected him with Transfield Services. A dedicated Project Officer was assigned to facilitate the work placement. The Project Officer inducted, Transfield Services on the procedures and employer expectations and provided information on the VETiS / VCAL program that Jack was undertaking. Transfield Services was quick to understand the benefits of workplace learning to both students and their business and was keen to act as a host employer. Jack contacted Transfield Services to setup an introductory meeting. In the meeting, the employer explained to Jack the tasks he would undertake during his work placement.
Transfield Services is a global provider of operations, maintenance and construction services. IMVC in collaboration with Transfield Services, have worked closely together for a number of years providing quality placements for young people disengaged from education and young people with a disability. Jack undertook his structured work placement at the Melbourne City Baths. Melbourne City Baths contract the maintenance of the building and facilities to Transfield Services.
Jack’s placement at Melbourne City Baths with Transfield Services has been successful in many ways. Firstly he demonstrated to himself and an employer that he is “work ready”. Secondly he was able to demonstrate his enthusiasm for hard work, and thirdly it has given him a clear goal for a future career. Prior to participating in the work placement, Jack was disengaging from education, now he has aspirations to further his studies and pursue a career in building and construction. Whilst on placement, Jack was coached and mentored by an experienced Transfield employee within the field of Building and Construction/Maintenance. Jack commented that he enjoyed his placement and learnt many new skills. Jack’s mentor commented that Jack was a pleasure to work with and a great help.
IMVC provided Transfield Services with end to end work placement support including a phone call that is made on the first day to ensure the student has arrived on time and commenced the tasks as expected; the offer of one point of contact for the entire placement, in case of an emergency or questions the employer may have; and a phone call that is made on the final day of the placement to ensure expectations have been achieved. The school, employer and student are then requested to provide formal feedback via online surveys. The IMVC collates and summarises these evaluations to inform future planning.
The quality support provided by IMVC has strengthened the relationship it has with Transfield Services. As a result Transfield Services has agreed to provide future work placement opportunities for young people.
Ashleigh’s placement at Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau
As part of Ashleigh’s Vocational Educational Training (VET) Certificate II in Business course, she undertook 40 hours of work placement at Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCVB) in Melbourne’s Southbank precinct. MCVB is a not-for-profit organisation that markets Melbourne and Victoria domestically and internationally as a premier destination for meetings, corporate events, expos, conferences, incentive travel programs and exhibitions. The business events industry is the highest yielding sector of the tourism industry in Victoria. In securing business events for Victoria, MCVB identifies and bids for the right to host business events (meetings, incentive travel programs, conventions and corporate events) and builds strong relationships with a range of partners to promote Melbourne and to bid for national and international business events to be staged in Victoria.
IMVC’s Project Officer facilitated this work placement opportunity by sourcing the employer and working cooperatively and creatively with this business to deliver a satisfying result for both the student and employer stakeholders.
Ashleigh rated her work placement at MCVB very highly as she believes she was given a real feel for the business with plenty of variety in regard to office administration tasks. Ashleigh felt very welcomed and included by all staff. Some activities that Ashleigh was involved in during her placement included: event site inspections, preparing client invoices, information technology (IT) tasks using computer programs like Excel and Outlook Express. Her employer found that Ashleigh showed initiative and attention to detail while sorting out files and calculating employees expenses. This lead to more complex tasks as the week went on including reception work, which entailed answering telephone calls, taking messages and making visitors welcome as they arrived for meetings. Business events management in Melbourne is big business! Ashleigh had the perfect chance to learn from the best and this one week placement provided her with the chance to put into practice the industry specific skills taught in her business administration classes.
“I developed heaps of new skills that included reception work, placing invoices onto the computer and using different programs on the computer that I wasn’t particularly familiar with. Reception work was interesting and I learnt how to transfer through calls to a certain person when someone called. By doing reception work, I became more confident and this was another skill I gained,” says Ashleigh.
“The tasks I most enjoyed were the site and venue inspections. This was something different and it gave me a chance to get out of the office and experience something new.”
Ashleigh returned to Avila College after her school holiday work placement, full of confidence and praise for her employer. Ashleigh was so impressed with her time she told her fellow students. More students have since applied for work placement opportunities at MCVB.