Students undertaking work experience

Understand whether students undertaking work experience are considered workers for the purposes of WorkSafe.

Student work placements

This is intended to provide information on student work placements and how the type of placement undertaken may impact employers and students for premium and claim purposes.

Depending on individual circumstances, students may or may not have an entitlement to compensation under the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (the Act). Regardless, all employers carry a legal obligation to ensure a safe working environment for hosted students in accord with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).

Secondary school students

If a secondary school student is placed with an employer for school work experience in accord with the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (ETRA), they will be deemed an employee of the Department of Education and Training (DET). As such, the DET will be the employer of the student during their placement and any payment made to the student during that period will be treated as remuneration for WorkCover premium purposes. In these circumstances a student will have an entitlement to compensation under the Act where they sustain a work-related injury or illness as a result of their placement.

Post-secondary TAFE students

The DET provide Guidelines in accordance with the ETRA for Registered Training Organisations (RTO) regulated by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) who place post-secondary students into practical placements. These students are also deemed to be employees of the DET and therefore have an entitlement to compensation in the event of an injury or illness which occurs during placement.

The DET guidelines do not apply to the work experience or training placement of post-secondary students of RTOs regulated by the Australian Skills & Qualifications Authority (ASQA).

While ASQA regulated post-secondary students are not recognised as workers of the DET under applicable legislation, DET guidelines do intend to clarify insurance coverage for ASQA placed students.

More information from DET

Undergraduate and Post-graduate students

University and post-graduate university students undertaking work placements, work experience, clinical or other field based research as part of their studies are not recognised as workers under applicable legislation. For advice on a case-by-case basis please contact [email protected].

Additional information

For advice on individual cases which may impact WorkCover employer remuneration and premium, please email [email protected].

For information regarding workers’ compensation insurance claims lodged with the DET by placed students, please contact:

DET Workers' Compensation Advisory Service

03 9637 2441

[email protected]

Further information