Structured Workplace Learning

NELLEN’s Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) program connects students across Indigo, Alpine, Towong shires and the City of Wodonga to local businesses offering work placement opportunities. SWL is available to Victorian school students undertaking a Vocational Education and Training (VET) program as part of their VCE or VCAL studies, including School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs).

Work placements are a practical way for students to:

  • participate in employment
  • experience what it is like to work in an industry related to their VET studies at school
  • practise the skills they have learnt
  • engage with employers and the community
  • form new networks
  • gain real life experience
  • begin to gain an understanding of employer expectations.

The program also offers employers and businesses an avenue for building up the skills and capacity of their future local workforce.

Work placement opportunities are listed on the online Structured Workplace Learning Portal at

Local businesses and employers interested in learning more about becoming a Structured Workplace Learning host can contact NELLEN’s SWL team on (02) 6056 0966, 0409 314 702 or email

Strengthening School Industry Engagement

Supporting Student Placements with Small Businesses

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) staff support businesses to advertise opportunities on the SWL Portal and they also support schools—both teaching staff and students—to understand how to use the portal and apply for those positions. In this video, teaching staff, students and three SWL hosts in north-eastern Melbourne—a region predominantly made up of small businesses—discuss the benefits of using the SWL Portal and why they would recommend it to others.

The Mansfield Model

Mansfield Secondary College’s program is an example of how School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships can strengthen school–industry engagement. This school-based program was set up to address the need for young people to be trained as well as the need for employers to fill trade and hospitality positions.

According to former teacher Julie Aldous, now Industry-Education Liaison Officer at NELLEN: “When we started using SWL as the next level, it meant that students had clear pathways—they started off with a classroom-based Certificate II, and in subsequent years they could go on and do a school based apprenticeship. That meant they were then on the pathways that they could see had legitimacy in the industry, so some of them have chosen to go on to university; some of them have chosen to follow the TAFE courses / certificate courses pathways and have gone on to employment.”

Northeast Health Wangaratta

Northeast Health Wangaratta has implemented a program that has increased school–industry engagement in the health industry. The health service has found that school based traineeships, which commenced at the organisation in 2014, have been beneficial in encouraging and guiding local students to explore health career pathways. As a result, a number of these students have been employed by the health service, some have been employed by other local employers and many have gone on to further education in health career pathways.

Jacqui Verdon, Team Leader Student Programs, says, “As a workforce development program, it enables us to address some of our workforce issues and recruitment to specific areas within the organisation. It also enables us to grow young people within our community and who will hopefully stay local.”