Work experience isn't an afterthought with TAFE courses –
Many educational institutions try to ensure their students get some
‘real world' training, but TAFE has long been the industry leader when
it comes to work experience.
For many years TAFE has recognised the importance of giving students
the opportunity to work in their chosen industry long before applying
for a full-time job in it.
TAFE-style work experience
While many universities and colleges encourage and even facilitate
work experience placements, few are experts at creating well-designed
work experience programs in which students learn about their chosen
industry rather than ending up doing menial tasks. TAFE has experience
closely with industries and is in an excellent position to match
up students with appropriate employers.
For example, someone studying a Certificate
IV in Mental Health with the ambition of becoming an outreach
worker might do a work placement at an organisation providing mental
health services to a vulnerable community.
Work experience isn't an afterthought with TAFE courses – it's
crucial. It's usually required that students spend approximately a
quarter of their time in a work placement. There are dedicated
coordinators at TAFE who help students decide what type of work
placement would be best and help them make the necessary arrangements.
Teachers then liaise with the person who will be supervising the
student in the workplace.
While on work placement, a student has to meet a list of competencies
developed by their teacher. To meet those competency requirements, the
student needs to perform at an acceptable level of skill, organise
tasks, respond appropriately when things go wrong, interact with
others in the workplace and transfer knowledge, skills and attitudes
to new situations.
What students get out of it
If that sounds like TAFE students must put a lot of thought and
effort into their work placements, it's because they do. The upside is
that, rather than being sent out to buy the boss's lunch, they're at
the centre of it all learning valuable skills. At the end of their
work placement, TAFE students have:
Aside from all the other benefits, TAFE NSW students often find
that a work placement looks great on their resume and allows them to
build up industry contacts, which makes getting a job much easier.