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Know your student work experience rights

October 24, 2017 by Storm Crow

Know your student work experience rights

It’s nearing the end of semester and we know job hunting for work experience is on the horizon for some of you. We’ve been receiving feedback that some students may have come across a work experience advertisement in line with their degree or major(s) and in the type of organisation they could see themselves working for, but at the interview stage it was apparent that:

  • The role would require a lot more effort and time than originally called for
  • No supervision by a professional in a related discipline was being offered
  • Responsibilities were not in line with their skills

Clarify what’s expected

It’s really important to know your rights as students, and the level of work expected if you undertake an unpaid work experience placement.

If you feel that the responsibilities expected of you fall under more of a senior role, which should be paid for, then trust your gut – something isn’t right with the situation and you should be cautious. Sometimes, employers are just unaware of the Fair Work laws and regulations surrounding work experience, internships, vacation work, or volunteer work

Before applying, if the advertisement is not quite clear, clarify both your expectations and the employer’s. In a sense, you should interview your employer prior to being called to interview. Ask questions like:

  • What are the responsibilities of the role?
  • Who will be supervising my work?
  • How many hours are required of the role each week?
  • Will I work to deadlines or need to take work home with me?

Sourcing Experience

Be careful where you are seeking out work experience placements and, if online, make sure you trust the website or the advertising company’s credentials.

A work experience placement should really provide you with opportunities to further develop your skills and the host organisation should respect an arrangement that is mutually beneficial.

These relationships are built on compliance with Australian Government laws under Fair Work; which stipulate that although students don’t necessarily need to be paid for work experience, you should at least be offered mentorship, professional development, and practical experience in-line with course work.

We understand finding appropriate work experience can sometimes be a struggle. Some students can be quick to jump at the first opportunity that comes up, no matter how ridiculous the workload, just to mark it on their resume.

UniHub and work experience

Curtin Careers, Employment & Leadership works to help make the placement experience as straightforward and genuine as possible. By monitoring employer advertisements on the UniHub (Curtin’s online job board) with rigorous checks and edits before approval. The employer engagement team accepts, alters and rejects many applications based on suitability and appropriateness for student’s career development.

If you’re unsure about a roles level of responsibility and you’re interested in applying for a work experience position, then pop into Building 101 Curtin Connect to have a chat with Careers, Employment & Leadership or send an email to Employer Engagement for further information.

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