Work Experience and sustainable employment opportunities

workexperienceWork Experience coordinators are responsible for ensuring job seekers have access to and participate in tailored Work Experience activities that lead to sustainable employment opportunities.

This can be very challenging. They need to work collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders including Employment Advisors, Employment Development Officers, community organisations, RTO’s and employers to assist in securing work experience placements. The work experience candidate may have varying levels of commitment to the work experience program.

There is also the risk of unpaid work experience placements and internships that don’t meet the definition of a vocational placement being unlawful in some instances. To be lawful, businesses need to ensure that the intern or work experience participant is not an employee. One key issue in determining whether an employment contract has been formed is whether the parties intended to create a legally binding employment relationship. When assessing whether the parties intended to form a legally binding employment relationship some key indicators would be:

  • Purpose of the arrangement. Was it to provide work experience to the person or was it to get the person to do work to assist with the business outputs and productivity?
  • Length of time. Generally, the longer the period of placement, the more likely the person is an employee
  • The person’s obligations in the workplace. Although the person may do some productive activities during a placement, they are less likely to be considered an employee if there is no expectation or requirement of productivity in the workplace
  • Who benefits from the arrangement? The main benefit of a genuine work placement or internship should flow to the person doing the placement. If a business is gaining a significant benefit as a result of engaging the person, this may indicate an employment relationship has been formed. Unpaid work experience programs are less likely to involve employment if they are primarily observational
  • Was the placement entered into through a university or vocational training organisation program? If so, then it is unlikely that an employment relationship exists.

To find out more about internship and work experience requirements visit

Presentations and papers on work experience and internship would be welcome at an upcoming conference on unemployment.

Long-Term Unemployment Conference 2014

A national conference focusing on at risk groups for Long-Term Unemployment will be held on 18-19 August 2014, QT Hotel Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
URL:    Ph: (61 7) 5502 2068
Early Bird Registration closes 7th July 2014
Close of Abstracts March 31, 2014