Work Experience


Most students need to complete a period of Work Experience before trying to obtain a Traineeship or Apprenticeship. This allows students to:

  • Gain skills which will be useful in a traineeship or apprenticeship, make them employable, and may give them an edge when applying for a job, traineeship or apprenticeship
  • Gain an understanding of what is expected in that industry (e.g., construction – getting to work at 5am, following OHS principles)
  • Experience 'real life in the workplace', (e.g., getting to work on time, following an employer’s instructions) 

Students on a Work Experience placement generally go to the workplace one day per week (usually Wednesday), for five weeks. This is unpaid, as the student is being offered the opportunity by the employer to learn, and to gain experience.

Work experience placements are found by:

  • Using our employer database, networking with local employers, recruitment companies, and apprenticeship centres to place students
  • Students finding a workplace where they would like to complete Work Experience, such as a place they drive past, a neighbour’s or friend’s business or through a search in the  Yellow Pages.

Students who want to do Work Experience must notify the Pathways Centre.

Should a student take it upon themselves to go out to a workplace without letting the Pathways Centre staff know, they are marked absent at school, and they and their employers are not covered by workplace insurance.

There are some activities which students cannot do as work experience. These include: 

  • Driving of any watercraft exceeding 8 metres in length
  • The repair, service, refuelling, maintenance, possession, operation, use or legal control of any aircraft by the insured agency, except for the participation in repair, service, maintenance by work experience students of the Insured Agency, who must be under the direct supervision of a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer or Australian Defence Force equivalent at all times
  • Air traffic control
  • The driving of any vehicle on a public road or thoroughfare or any airport runway or tarmac 
  • Activities associated with railway track laying, track upgrading or track maintenance
  • Construction or maintenance of railway locomotives or railway stock
  • Underground mining
  • The use, handling and storage of explosive devices
  • Oil and/or gas fields and refineries
  • Abseiling
  • Rock and/or mountain climbing
  • White water rafting and canoeing
  • Bungee jumping and its associated activities; and
  • Underwater diving using either scuba or snorkelling equipment, where the student is not participating in an activity fully supervised by an appropriately qualified instructor.

For some work places there are legislative requirements for particular certification which students must have to work in that industry. For example, students wanting to work in the construction industry cannot be placed until they have completed the OHS White Card course. We can assist students in obtaining the necessary qualifications for their Work Experience.

Once a student has registered with the Pathways Centre and has submitted their resume (see our related documents for tips and examples), we will check that they are job ready. Students need to display appropriate attitudes and behaviours that enables them to fit in with the business or industry in which they hope to work such as:

  • Punctuality
  • Manners
  • Appropriate appearance and presentation
  • Ability to follow set procedures and instructions
  • Willingness to take responsibility for learning
  • Ability to ask for help when necessary

The Pathways Centre will coordinate the appropriate Work Experience paperwork, which must be signed by the student, parent or carer, employer and school. This paperwork includes providing workplace cover for students against injuries in the workplace. 

Education Queensland insures students attending State schools under a Contract of Insurance with WorkCover Queensland, against permanent impairment or death, occurring at the location or another location where the work experience is provided or while travelling directly between their home or school and the site where the placement is provided. This insurance also covers payments for medical or hospital treatment, for rehabilitation or for artificial limbs. (The work experience provider has no responsibility for costs associated with this cover).

While at work students must:

  • Attend the workplace at whatever the usual hours of business
  • Wear the correct clothing to the workplace, in some cases this will include steel-capped boots
  • Be well-mannered and complete the tasks set for them by the employer
  • Complete a logbook detailing the tasks and skills they learn while in the workplace. It is the student's responsibility to keep this up-to-date, and to get the employer to sign it at the end of the placement
  • If a student is going to be absent from Work Experience for any reason they need to notify both the employer and the Pathways Centre by phone


Work Experience Tasks

When students commence Work Experience they may be given some basic tasks at first, as they as yet do not have the skills or experience to be given more advanced tasks. For example, students may be asked to clean, make coffee or tea, do filing, clean equipment, type information, throw out rubbish. These are all tasks that are required to be carried out in a business.

As the student completes the basic tasks adequately and as required, the employer is observing what they do, how efficiently they do it, how hard they try, and their willingness to work. They will then make a decision on what tasks they think the student will be able to learn in the future, and gradually teach these.

Work Experience is a great way of gaining experience that can be included in your Resume. Achieving good results in your studies at PBC also is also a great indication to an employer that you are a hard worker who applies yourself to a job.

Palm Beach Currumbin State High students are participating in school based traineeships in areas such as Hospitality, Retail, Hairdressing, Business, Horticulture, Community Recreation and Sports & Recreation, Construction and Plumbing. Go to our Apprenticeships and Traineeships page on our website for more information.

Last reviewed 23 March 2021
Last updated 23 March 2021