What’s happening in WPL in December?

Meet a student – Olive

Olive Lockett has recently completed a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) with a Joint Study in Organisational Communication and Public Relations. During that time Olive studied BUS110, BUS220 and BUS370 for a total of 225 hours of work placement. What did Olive think of that experience? Listen to her thoughts on the short YouTube video below.

Did you know?

Ever wondered about the gender breakdown of work placement in our faculty? Wonder no more!

Information and graphic supplied and developed by
Kirrily Welsh (Senior WPL Officer)

Done and dusted – Faculty CLTC

Faculty CLTC held it’s quarterly meeting in November. Amongst the full agenda WPL made a guest appearance. Deb Clarke from DLT along with myself (Liz Bracken) presented a workshop examining the differences between Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and Work Placement Learning (WPL).

For most academics and professionals, at first glance these beasts might seem the same. Although both are important in bridging the gap between university study and students’ chosen professions, WIL and WPL are fundamentally different in one very crucial aspect. Typical examples of WIL including exposing students to their profession through case studies, projects, research and simulations. WPL on the other hand, is a very specific type of WIL that must occur in real world professional settings. That is, students getting out there with a host supervisor and actually working in an organisation within their chosen field.

In a nutshell, all WPL is WIL but not all WIL is WPL. Confused? There’s a good way to explain the difference and this is the way we challenged the CLTC to think about it.


The picture on the left shows a student within a class (this is WIL) while the right shows a student on placement attending this accident (this is WPL). Here’s something to think about…

In what ways do WIL and WPL feel/see/sound/smell different for students?  If we are focused on preparing students for life beyond graduation, is one of these experiences sufficient or is a combination important to work readiness?

Behind the scenes – Risk

CSU takes placement risks very seriously and we are currently developing a comprehensive risk register specifically for Workplace Learning to reduce and mitigate risk for all CSU WPL stakeholders.

Risk in placement is a hot topic in the University sector at the moment with continuing pressure from TEQSA for best practice across all University functions. WPL risk is a complicated devil because of the diversity within placement activities. Just think how different the kinds of risks associated with a placement for the Paramedic students above are compared to students on placement in Accounting, Education, Justice, Dentistry, Psychology, Engineering, Veterinary Science or Business.

This year’s bi-annual ACEN conference held in October featured a workshop on placement risk facilitated by Professor Andrew Stewart (Adelaide Law School) and Dr Craig Cameron (Griffith University). The discussion covered some of the serious legal issues Universities contend with such as the Fair Work Act (2009), discrimination, bullying, harassment, access & equity, volunteering and intern programs for HDR students. Next up was a presentation covering the biggest placement risks for Universities and they appear below in reverse order.

The top ten placement risks for Universities were identified as:

10. Intellectual property rights;
9. Indemnity coverage;
8. Providing host assurances regarding student conduct;
7. Poor contract practices;
6. Host bargaining power;
5. Non-disclosure of student disability or medical conditions;
4. Student exploitation;
3. Host relationships;
2. Hosts with insufficient legal literacy for WPL contracts;

and can you guess #1…?

Student misuse of social media on placement.

December staff profile – Di

Di Plunkett is our Technical Systems Officer for Inplace and works for the Division of Learning and Teaching and is based in Albury/Wodonga. She does a lot of training, development, trialling and troubleshooting of the InPlace system for all CSU staff involved in placing students.

InPlace is currently placing students in 65 universities in Australia and internationally, with an estimated 558,000 students already placed from over 1,150,000 available placements.

What does Di think about WPL at CSU?

“What I love about WPL is that it is completely different to any other area that I’ve worked in, the complexity of it is what attracts me to It, in that it’s interesting and there’s something different that happens every day, you can never work out what is going to happen and what todays challenges will be.

“My analytical mind likes to try and work out the problem, how to solve it, and how can I incorporate InPlace into helping solve that to make things easier and understanding what the WPL officers go through in their day to day job because I have been one of them. Being able to be a part of that and be a part of the solution is what drives me to keep going and knowing that I’m making a difference at the other end and that my difference with WPL staff means a difference to the students.

“As I’ve come from working in customer service, I don’t just see the student as just another student, I see them as our customers and I want to make sure they have a great experience, both at university and on placement”.

Her advice to students undertaking placement?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself outside your comfort zone, challenge yourself, because the reward is always greater, the more work you put into something, the more you get out of it!

Her hobbies and interests include, but are not limited to:

  • Netball, be it playing, watching or coaching
  • Keeping fit at the gym
  • Enjoying her great taste in music

Article written by Jonathon Schmidt, Workplace Learning student  (BUS110)