Work integrated learning procedure

Intent

This procedure sets out the processes and requirements for managing work integrated learning (WIL) activities offered as part of vocational education and higher education coursework awards.

The intent is to provide a University-wide procedure for the embedding of WIL into programs to ensure that:

1. All enrolled students have an opportunity to engage in good quality WIL activities that integrate theoretical knowledge with practical application relevant to their program of study and future profession or vocation.

2. WIL activities promote engagement and enrich collaborations between the university, participating partner organisations and students.

3. WIL activities are conducted in a manner that will minimise risk to students, the institution and participating partner organisations.

4. WIL activities are compliant with the relevant requirements of legislation, funding and government bodies.

5. WIL activities are consistent with professional registration and accrediting bodies’ requirements.

Scope

This procedure applies to all coursework programs that are required to include a WIL component by section 16 of the Program design procedure.

Course coordinators are responsible for developing and managing the specific WIL activities provided to students in programs offered at RMIT campuses outside Australia and in programs delivered with approved RMIT partners.

Exclusions

The following programs do not require a minimum WIL component but are encouraged to incorporate WIL where appropriate:

  • Higher degree by research programs
  • One-year honours programs
  • Apprenticeships and traineeships
  • Foundation Studies and programs that are preparatory in nature, including VCE, VCAL, ESL
  • Short courses and non-award courses
  • RMIT quality assured programs for enterprise clients

The scope of this procedure excludes work experience secured independently by students outside the curriculum (for example those experiences that are not credit-bearing, assessed nor a program requirement).

Procedure steps and actions

PART A: WIL IN PROGRAMS

1. Types of WIL

1.1. RMIT University offers numerous types of WIL activities that integrate theory with practice. These activities are aligned to course learning outcomes and program objectives, are assessed, involve authentic engagement with partner organisations, are integrated across the whole of the program and are undertaken in a workplace context whether on or off campus or online. See the definitions section for more detail on different types of WIL.

1.2. Designated WIL courses may offer different types of WIL at different locations, provided that these are equivalent.

2. WIL design requirements

The minimum WIL requirements to be integrated in coursework programs at AQF level 3 or equivalent and above are explained in the scope of this procedure and in the program design procedure.

2.1. WIL activities in programs must:

  • include student preparation, supervision and monitoring of progress and reflective practice/debriefing
  • involve authentic engagement with partner organisations (including WIL in simulated workplace environments) and include industry feedback
  • be assessed in line with the University’s assessment policy
  • comply with relevant government legislation and regulations, university policies, procedures and instructions
  • be scaffolded throughout the program so as to enable students to achieve course and program learning outcomes, Graduate Attributes and vocational education Employability Skills
  • integrate theoretical learning with practical application in professional contexts which engage students in meaningful and consequential learning activities
  • where applicable, be aligned to the requirements of professional registration and accrediting bodies
  • be negotiated with partner organisations (where relevant) and designed to be accessible, equitable and mutually beneficial for stakeholders
  • not unnecessarily create undue hardship for students or partner organisations.

2.2. Schools shall determine the eligibility requirements or prerequisites for potential and enrolled students undertaking WIL. These requirements may be influenced by professional accreditation requirements.

3. WIL program and course documentation

3.1. WIL requirements (both academic and non-academic) will be stated in course and program guides.

3.2. The following information will be included in program guides:

  • the designated WIL courses and a statement about the various types of WIL activities (e.g., placement, project) that are included in the program. WIL activities in courses may vary in different locations and/or with different cohorts.
  • academic eligibility prerequisites such as successful completion of specific courses before commencing the WIL activity.
  • details of any non-academic requirements such as immunisations, visas, police and working with children checks, referring readers to the course guides for the costs of these (these details must also be included in web information about the program provided to prospective students).

3.3. The following information will be included in course guides:

  • where a course is a designated WIL course in a program, a statement to this effect
  • details of any non-academic requirements such as immunisations, visas, police and working with children checks, and the costs of these.
  • the requirement for completion of WIL agreements, schedules and relevant insurance documentation before commencing the WIL activity.
  • assessment requirements aligned to WIL activities.

PART B: MANAGING WIL ACTIVITIES

4. WIL agreements for RMIT students on a placement or completing a WIL project

4.1. WIL agreements must be used for all WIL placements and for project activities with a partner organisation, and must have the appropriate RMIT sign-off under the Financial and Legal Delegations Schedules.

4.2. All stakeholders engaged in WIL activities with a partner organisation must sign a WIL agreement.

4.3. WIL agreements, associated information sheets and schedules are to be managed by the WIL practitioner.

4.4. Agreements and schedule information between students, RMIT and partner organisations may vary according to higher education or vocational education contexts, specific discipline requirements, location (local, interstate or national regulatory requirements) and whether the WIL activity is paid or not.

4.5. In situations where an overarching relationship WIL agreement is in place (between a partner organisation and RMIT), students shall acknowledge or sign a student declaration (deed) that acknowledges their acceptance and understanding of their roles and responsibilities during WIL activities with that partner organisation.

4.6. Apart from using RMIT’s own WIL agreements, partner organisations may insist that RMIT use the organisation’s agreement. Where this occurs in Australia, any such agreement must first be reviewed by RMIT Legal Services Group.

4.7. RMIT staff shall not commit RMIT to any additional legal or other obligations or costs without seeking appropriate legal or commercial advice.

4.8. Consistent with the RMIT intellectual property (IP) policy, the WIL agreements provide that a student retains ownership of intellectual property created by the student during the WIL activity. If the partner seeks to retain ownership of the IP, then the RMIT WIL practitioner should contact RMIT Legal Services in Australia who will amend the WIL agreement to allow for this option.

4.9. WIL agreements, schedules, insurance and other relevant documentation such as roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders are to be completed before commencement of a WIL activity.

4.10. The original signed WIL agreement shall be retained on the student’s academic student file or the enterprise system for management of WIL, and a copy shall be provided to the student and the partner organisation.

5. WIL in practice

5.1. All parties must be adequately prepared and informed of their duties, roles and responsibilities for participating in WIL activities in a timely manner. The WIL practitioner ensures that:

  • students are informed of their responsibilities throughout the WIL activity, of required safety policies and procedures both on campus and at partner organisation workplaces, and of how they will be supported by the WIL practitioner and School if they encounter harassment or workplace bullying during the activity
  • partner organisations are informed of their responsibilities and obligations to supervise and monitor student progress and to induct students to required safety policies and procedures in their workplaces.

5.2. Potential risk management issues such as hazards are identified before commencement of the WIL activity and risk mitigations are put in place.

5.3. Where applicable, WIL practitioners will assign students to and approve them for appropriate WIL activities, making reasonable adjustments to WIL activities for students living with a disability, long-term illness or a mental health condition.

5.3.1. Where a partner organisation or professional body requires students to submit a satisfactory police check and/or working with children check before commencing the WIL activity, and the student does not do this by the timeline specified by the WIL practitioner, the student will not be approved to commence the WIL activity.

5.4. Where WIL activities are to be completed overseas, students must be registered and processed through the appropriate organisational department (Education Abroad in Australia).

5.5. Processes for monitoring and supervising student progress throughout the WIL activity are determined before commencement of the activity and documented in the schedule. The schedule must make clear to the student how supervision of their progress will contribute to assessment and what will occur if their progress is deemed to be unsatisfactory during the activity. Monitoring and supervising student learning and progress is the responsibility of both the University and the partner organisation.

5.6. In line with the RMIT Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) processes, WIL practitioners will report WIL emergencies, incidents or identified hazards to the partner organisation supervisor, RMIT OH&S and Program Manager.

5.7. In situations where WIL activities must be changed or cancelled, alternative WIL activities need to be organised. This may occur when the partner organisation has to alter their involvement.

6. Early termination of placements

6.1. A student's conduct and/or performance during a placement may lead to the partner organisation, or the School, deciding that the placement will end early. Possible reasons for such decisions may include, but are not limited to, the student’s failure to follow processes required for safety, breach of client or patient confidentiality, failure to comply with the instructions of supervisors, or other unprofessional behaviour.

6.2. If the partner organisation decides to end a placement early, the School will endeavour to provide procedural fairness for the student, by asking the partner organisation to explain the reasons for the decision and provide an opportunity for the student to respond.

6.3. Where it is decided that a placement will end early, a meeting will be held, within 20 working days of the decision, between the WIL practitioner, Program Manager and student to discuss the sequence of events and explain to the student the reasons given by the partner organisation and/or the School for the early termination. The student must receive five working days’ notice of the meeting, and is entitled to bring a support person. The meeting provides an opportunity for the student to give their side of the events. Following the meeting, the WIL practitioner, Program Manager and Head of School will decide:

  • whether a placement with another partner organisation can be sought for the student, and
  • what reasons for the early termination of the placement will be documented and stored in the student’s file.

The outcome of this decision and the reasons to be recorded will be provided to the student in writing within 10 working days of the meeting.

6.4. Where it is decided that the School will approach other partner organisations to host the student, this may be conditional on the student consenting to the School informing those organisations of the circumstances of the early termination of the student’s previous placement. Such consent must be given by the student in writing. It may be necessary for the student to undertake the placement in a subsequent semester. If no other potential partner organisation is willing to host the student, or the School decides not to seek another placement for the student, it may not be possible for the student to complete the course or, where the course is a compulsory requirement of the program, to complete the program. If the placement is a requirement for professional registration, it may not be possible for the student to obtain this.

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