Work placements at centre of skills investment reform

1 September 2022

Watch a summary of the key recommendations and implications of the report on our universities' investment in skills.

Victoria could introduce a standard framework for work-integrated learning such as internships and placements, in a bid to address skill shortages in priority areas.

A parliamentary committee has proposed the measure after a wide-ranging inquiry into Victorian universities’ investment in skills.

The Legislative Assembly Economy and Infrastructure Committee report found there are several ways to expand work-integrated learning to benefit both students and industry.

In addition to developing the universal framework, the Victorian Government has been urged to work with universities, industry and other peak bodies to:

  • Incentivise industry participation in work-integrated learning
  • Centralise management of work-integrated learning opportunities
  • Create an online platform to meet work placement demand and supply
  • Raise awareness of work-integrated learning benefits for both industry and students
  • Explore new and flexible models of work-integrated learning to increase opportunities
  • Address barriers to participation for disadvantaged and underrepresented students

'A more systemic and comprehensive work-integrated learning framework can enhance the ability of students to acquire the skills and aptitudes required by industry,' Committee Chair John Eren said.

“Promoting the job-readiness of graduates can be further boosted by co-designing course curricula with industry experts,"

Committee Chair John Eren

'Career counselling and guidance that is embedded in university courses can also promote job-readiness.

'Additionally, universities can improve the promotion of priority skills courses, beginning in secondary schools, and support enrolments from marginalised student groups to increase the workforce diversity of in-demand sectors.'

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry called for the work placement overhaul at a public hearing in June.

'What we think should be stood up is a standardised internship agreement form for industry and education institutes to use, to establish internship partnerships,' General Manager Dylan Broomfield said.

The Committee also received compelling evidence from nine Victorian universities, government bodies and other industry groups and education providers.

You can watch video snapshots of evidence provided at public hearings on YouTube.

There are several recommendations in the report which aim to further support tertiary providers and address skill shortages in regional and rural areas.

'This includes improving student work placements in regional areas, responding to skill demands in regional economies by developing innovative upskilling opportunities and supporting regional students to enrol in priority skill courses,' Mr Eren said.

Overall, the Committee made 31 recommendations and 34 findings arising from 26 public submissions and three days of public hearings involving 38 witnesses from 24 organisations.

The Victorian Government has until March 2023 to respond to the recommendations.

To read the report go to the Committee’s website.