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Work Placement Program

The bursaries and placements have enabled participation in CV-building experiences, reduced financial stress and increased career readiness


Deakin University is committed to making higher education accessible to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity, including providing a rich and relevant student experience.

Many students experience challenges in accessing career and CV-building experiences whilst at university, including those from LSES backgrounds. Students may lack awareness of opportunities and appropriate connections and support to access available opportunities. They may also have financial difficulties or be reliant on part-time employment.

The HEPPP has enabled Deakin to develop targeted programs to assist students in finding and undertaking work placements, addressing the specific challenges of income replacement, awareness, application and preparation.

  • The Work-Integrated Learning Bursaries program provides financial support for completing compulsory placements that are credited towards a student’s course.
  • The Work Placement Program offers students paid, four-week work placements, as well as career planning support.

There are several videos which highlight the benefits of the Work Placement Program available on the Deakin website.

The main objectives of the programs are to increase tertiary retention and completion rates, and improve graduate outcomes through increasing participation in work experience by students from LSES backgrounds.

The programs aim to develop students’ career planning skills and confidence, as well as their understanding of workplace behaviours, in preparation for graduate employment. They also financially enable students to undertake compulsory placements.

HEPPP Funding
The programs are entirely HEPPP funded, with most of the money spent on bursaries and student wages. Some funding also supports host organisation supervision payments and employing coordinating staff at Deakin.

Over 300 students have benefited from the programs since 2011. Evaluation has shown the positive impact they are having. Bursary recipients have achieved above average grades in their work-integrated learning units. All participants have either graduated or continued with their course, so the program has a 100 per cent retention/completion rate to date. Many students and graduates have secured employment with their host organisation.

Individual feedback from students indicates that the bursaries and placements have enabled participation in CV-building experiences, reduced financial stress and increased career readiness.

For example, the bursary allowed a student to undertake a placement researching sites for a coral restoration program.

The host organisations have also provided positive feedback, with all keen to offer future placements.

The Future
There is great demand for placements and bursaries, and Deakin will expand the programs to enhance retention and completion rates. As more data become available via the Graduate Destination Survey, Deakin will be able to track the impact of the program on graduate outcomes and the longer-term career progress of the target cohort.

Illustration of three circles, each labelled as either outreach, access, or support, with the support circle filled with colour

This case study is one of a series of 39 presented in our case study publication, Access and Participation in Higher Education: Outreach – Access – Support.

Posted 10 January 2014 Posted in General, Low SES