Don’t waste your Practical Placement – make the most of it!
For many courses, you’ll be required to complete a set number of hours in practical placement.
Practical placement involves working inside an established organisation, in the role that you’re studying to be qualified for (or at least in a very similar role). Many courses require a certain number of hours to be completed in practical placement.
Foundation Education Courses that require Practical Placement
In order to gain your qualification in Dental Assisting, you’ll need to complete a significant number of hours in practical placement.
For a Certificate III in Dental Assisting, for example, you must complete 250 hours of practical placement to become fully qualified. Other Dental Assisting courses, including those that are combined with a specialisation (such as the Certificate IV in Dental Assisting – Oral Health Promotion Specialisation), also require 250 hours of practical placement.
Our Education Support requires a minimum of 100 hours of practical placement. Both the Certificate III in Education Support and the Certificate IV in Education Support require the completion of 100 hours.
In addition to coursework, these courses take anywhere from 18 months to 24 months to complete.
Early Childhood Education and Care
The Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care requires 120 hours of practical placement. Along with other coursework, this qualification will take up to 18 months to earn.
The Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care requires 240 hours of practical placement. Because this is a more advanced qualification, it’s important that you illustrate your ability to apply theory in a practical environment before you can be awarded your qualification.
Allied Health Assistance
Allied Health roles have a strong focus on practical abilities. As a result, both of our Allied Health courses require practical placement. The Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance requires 80 hours, while the Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Nutrition and Dietetics Specialisation) requires 120 hours.
Why is practical placement a requirement?
Practical placement provides you with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in your future role. This experience can assist you greatly in finding a job when you graduate, and helps to ensure that you fully understand the course content that you’re studying.
Applying theory to a practical situation is a very effective form of learning. Rather than simply focusing on abstract concepts and regurgitating them in assessments, you’re able to understand them in context and gain an appreciation of why you need to learn the things you’re studying.
Practical placement is one of three types of workplace learning employed across most Australian states. The others are structured workplace learning and work experience. Practical placements are for students who are in post-secondary vocational education.
How to find practical placement.
Depending on your past experience and contacts within the industry in which you want to work, finding practical placement can either be incredibly simple or extremely difficult. If you have a fairly extensive network and know people who already hold jobs in the industry, it’s highly recommended that you speak with them first.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a particularly robust network, there are plenty of other avenues available to you. In order to find unpaid, volunteer work, try some of the following resources:
- Seek Volunteering search
- The Centre for Volunteering
- Volunteering Queensland
- Go Volunteer
- Recruitment and placing agencies.
Alternatively, you can reach out to organisations directly. Use local classifieds or listings such as the white pages to find local businesses. Google may also be your friend in this endeavour.
How & When to apply for practical placement.
When you’ve found a place you’d like to work with, you’ll need to do some adequate preparation in order to improve your chances of being successful in your application. Follow these steps before making an application:
- Research the organisation. Get an idea of what their business style is and the type of employees they take on.
- Make sure you fully understand the role you’re applying for.
- Make a list of any questions you have about the organisation or the role – this will be handy when they ask you if you have any questions during an interview.
- Contact the organisation. They may be able to answer some of your questions upfront and direct you to the appropriate channels to apply.
- Complete any required documentation to apply. Depending on the role, this may include:
- Police check.
- Working with children check.
- Cover letter
- Submission processes
- Submit your application and follow up within a week or two if you haven’t heard back.
What if I can’t find practical placement?
If you’ve followed this procedure with a few organisations and aren’t having any luck, get in touch with us – we’ll be happy to help. However, keep in mind that the onus is on you to find your own practical placement.
It’s important to be persistent. Even the most qualified applicants can be rejected for practical placement for any number of reasons. This might include cultural fit, a lack of space at the organisation, no one available to supervise you, or something else entirely.
We can provide advice and assistance when it comes to finding practical placement, particularly if you don’t have a lot of experience in doing so. We may be able to find you a place with one of our industry partners who are often willing to take on students for practical placement.
What if I already have a role in my industry?
If you already have a role within your industry, congratulations – you’ve gotten past one of the most difficult aspects of putting your qualifications to work. You’ll need to speak to an advisor or placement officer and ensure that your current employer can provide all of the practical placement requirements for you course.
Unfortunately, in very rare cases, you’ll need to pursue practical placement elsewhere in order to fulfil all of their requirements. However if you get in touch, we’ll be able to sort things out for you.