The program works on the basis of "learn by doing". It assumes that to get qualified, you must be able to do the job. If it isn't really driven by how long you take to learn it, you can go fast or slow.
What you are aiming to learn is written down in a list of outcomes.
Why on-job training?
It's been around for a long time, and here's why:
It's usually the best way to learn many things that you have to be able to do. (Classrooms are best for "sitting and thinking" kinds of subjects.)
Some people can only learn effectively on job. Books and bits of paper just make them frustrated.
People can learn skills faster on-job than in a classroom. If they spend the same total amount of time, they have time later to develop stronger skills and have a better CV.
People are better prepared for work because they have already proven their skills on-job in a real workplace.
Even many professions require on-job practice and training after university studies. (Lawyers, doctors, psychologists, etc.)
When students work as teams, you should start at the same time as other team members. For individualized programs, you may enroll anytime if you meet the requirements.
To be enrolled as an on-the-job intern, you must be accepted in a suitable position (either voluntary or paid) with adequate supervision. As an employee or volunteer worker, you will need to meet all requirements of that position.
Be sure that you have filled in the on-line application form, received all necessary information, and paid all applicable fees.
In some places, you will be offered Recognition of Prior Learning as part of your application process. This means that if you have already learnt some of the skills of the course you can get credit for those units, as long as they are whole units.
The person conducting enrollment will assign you a supervisor or team leader. Your supervisor or team leader must give you a list of requirements for all units for which you are enrolled and make sure you understand how they will be assessed. (An explanation is further below.)
To have best chances of successfully completing your units, you should only be enrolled for a specific number of units at any one time.
To receive Austudy in Australia, your study program must be full-time and include sufficient structured time for which your college can be accountable. You will not be eligible for Austudy if your program is part-time or mostly unstructured fieldwork. The range of programs eligible for Austudy is now quite narrow.
Find out these things ...
Before you start, you should find out:
What kinds of clothes to wear
Where you have to be for the first day
What time you have to be there
What you will do for lunch
How to get there.
If you're driving, you need to know the way and what traffic jams might happen.
If you depend on public transport, you need to get the timetable right.
Expect some practical induction. This might include:
A team meeting
Before-you-start kinds of info: purpose and vision, ethics, occupational health and safety, an explanation of how the organization works, etc.
Going through this e-book
An opportunity to ask questions
Getting shown around the place
Getting introduced to key people
Reading policies or procedures and perhaps signing a form that you have read and understood them.
Your supervisors and what they do
You will be assigned at least one supervisor. As there are three different roles, it is unusual for one person to take all of them:
Your training program supervisor. This person is an ACAS staff member who makes sure the program works for you, and will help you when if you get stuck. He or she has your program at heart and wants to ensure that you are making satisfactory progress. Training program supervisors always require written reports.
Give you encouragement when you need it, praise when you deserve it, and correction when things go wrong.
Monitor your progress toward your learning goals.
Meet with you regularly, either individually or in a group.
Make sure you get enough practical experience to be sure you have all necessary skills.
Help you with problems
Local workplace supervisors. These supervisors have their workplaces at heart, and are most interested in getting the job done. Please understand if:
they have a task that urgently needs to be done and you are the nearest spare pair of hands.
they need things to be done, but don't have time to explain everything to you just then.
A person on the job who will teach your new skills. This is often the local workplace supervisor, but could be someone else. They will:
show you how to do new things the first time you are given a new task.
answer your questions.
ensure you get enough practice at the new skill to become confident and competent.
give you encouragement when you need it, praise when you deserve it, and correction when things go wrong.
make sure you get enough practical experience to be sure you have all necessary skills.
As a student in the workplace, you need to adjust to the workplace environment and meet all the normal requirements of an employee in the workplace:
Do any tasks given to you.
Maintain the safety standards and procedures of the workplace.
Maintain confidentiality of workplace information (which is often also a legal requirement)
Comply with any organizational polices affecting your position.
Attitude and appearance:
Be willing to work and eager to learn.
Be polite at all times.
Be on time and reliable
Account for absences from work, with a doctors certificate if necessary
Do any reporting asked of you, which will probably include completing all sections of a logbook.
Settling into a new position will probably feel very demanding, especially in the first week. Sometimes it will feel that that people may simply expect you to know things, even though nobody has told you. Figure out who to ask and when.
Settling in generally includes somebody explaining "how we do things here" that makes you familiar with your surroundings and the expectations made of you.
During this stage, many students can't say exactly what they're learning, but feel overwhelmed because they're learning so much.
the daily schedule
who is accountable to whom
what quality is expected
how to fit in with the other people there
what others expect of you
how decisions are made
where things are kept, and
more about the layout of the workplace.
Hopefully you'll be able to make friends during this time.
If you've never been employed, or haven't been employed for a long time, you have more adjustments to make. It feels like hard work just to:
get to the workplace on time in the morning and
be there all day
be told what to do by a boss.
Your role will normally have some paperwork and other procedures. When you start, check these things:
What is private and/or confidential?
What keys do you use?
Building security system
Do you get access to the computer system?
What about passwords and security?
Use of internet?
Storage of data?
How do you report work accidents?
What should you do if the phone rings?
What are the rules for personal phone calls?
What do you do if you're running late for work?
How do you apply for time off and holidays?
How do you report for sick leave?
How do you report building damage?
How do you report equipment that's not working properly?
How do you get reimbursed for payments you make?
How do you get reimbursed if you use your car for work?
What do you do if you receive money for your organization?
What do you do with garbage?
What gets recycled?
Your learning agreement
A learning agreement is an agreement that makes sure both you and your supervisor know what is expected. It will usually also be your job description. It will mention:
To whom you will be responsible on day to day basis
The list of duties for which you will be responsible
You and your supervisor/team leader will both sign it and you will get a copy.
If it is not included in your learning contract, your supervisor should also give you in writing:
a schedule of any other expectations (e.g. workshops, seminars, etc.)
an explanation of how the program will meet all unit requirements.
requirements for all units for which you are being assessed.
Alternatively, they can also give you a college website address where you can read that information.
Your supervisor will decide the structure of your on-job learning experience. It will normally take the following stages:
At the beginning, you'll be given basic tasks. Either they'll be fairly easy to get right, or making mistakes won't get you into too much trouble.
Later on, you'll get more difficult tasks, perhaps with little or no margin for error.
As you get better and more widely experienced, your supervisor will monitor your progress so that you get up to speed as required for the units.
Then you'll be ready for assessment. This normally happens over a period where you must maintain practice at the normal professional standard.
After the assessment, you will usually still have some time to finish your commitment to your on-job supervisor. This will strengthen your CV and build up your experience.
Your learning experience
Lot of things will be new, and almost everything is scary the first time.
Don't worry if you fail at something the first time you try. It's okay as long as you are learning.
Get help when you need it. Ask questions if you get stuck or if you don't know what people expect of you.
If somebody asks you to do something that you don't know how to do, ask them to show you how.
Don't be too dependent and waste your supervisor's time. It is your responsibility to learn and to maintain your motivation.
You’ll be able to learn for yourself and apply learning in a real situation. It will take some time for you to have all the skills you need. It isn’t enough to be able to perform the skill only once or only sometimes get it right. You will need to be consistent and for that you will need to get enough real practice.
As you go, you’ll get to apply what you learn in different situations, so your skills will be wider and more useful. Besides you’ll be better able to interpret what is needed in each situation.
Your supervisor will normally require you to submit a weekly log of your activities. (View a blank form in a new window) This not only keeps you accountable and your program on track, but is also important if you are on Austudy.
You need to:
manage your own learning
organize experiences for developing skills
listen to instructions
ask questions to get feedback about your performance and
negotiate the assessment of skills with your supervisor.
Other kinds of learning activities
The program is not intended to be mainly about classes and books. However, you should expect some extra learning tasks outside your work schedule.
Group sessions. Depending on the program, you might meet with other students taking the same units as you. Sessions may take the form of seminars, training days, network meetings, short courses, workshops, demonstrations, discussion groups, tutorials, or conferences. Sessions are for:
learning new things
creatively reflecting on what they are learning
making friends with other students , so you know peers who "are going through this too."
Staff meetings. Depending on the kind of position, you might be invited to attend some kinds of staff meetings, such as:
professional development meetings
policy, and/or review meetings
As a learner, this is a privilege and you might not be allowed to speak, just observe. You'll probably be quite frustrated if you don't know what's going on or perhaps even what they're talking about. So ask people. But you will probably learn a lot more than you think.
Assigned activities. There may also be assigned activities relating to the group sessions. These vary widely according to the kind of course and may be designed especially for you according to your needs at the time. They may include Internet searches, observation tasks, helpful reading, and meeting resource people.
Observation and reflection. The higher the qualification, the more you'll need time to:
reflect on what you do
ask the bigger "why?" and "how?" questions
figure out the "big picture" of what you are trying to achieve
develop your own ideas of what the job is all about
Sometimes the challenge is to find the best questions, not just the best answers.
If you're working for a higher qualification, you'll probably find that information (e.g. textbooks, library, Internet) might be very helpful at this stage. But don't just believe whatever authors say; you need to formulate your own ideas.
Put your new knowledge into practice to see how it works. This will give you new experiences from which to learn and start the cycle again.
Ready for assessment?
You may request assessment when you feel that you are ready.
As much as possible, assessment will be a natural part of what you normally do as part of the internship. You must show that you can consistently perform the skills in a real situation. Assessment will usually include an interview.
If you have any particular needs that affect how you’ll be assessed, discuss them with the assessor. They might be due to sickness, schedule, disability, culture, or your experience.
You can be assessed on:
your ability to do the tasks
any required knowledge of the subject
how you manage yourself and your tasks
knowing what to do if things don't go to plan (e.g. they go wrong)
how you work with other people and your organization, and
your ability to apply what you learn in different contexts.
Depending on your course, the assessment might also cover any of the following that are relevant:
collect, analyze and organize information
communicate ideas and information
plan and organize activities
work with others and in a team
use mathematical ideas and techniques
The assessment itself
Unless you are informed otherwise, your assessor will normally:
1. get a reference from your workplace supervisor.
2. ask for a portfolio of relevant written work. This will include your job description and any other documents that show you have met the outcomes, e.g. CV, general references, other certificates, reports, written staff reviews, etc.
3. assess you in a practical demonstration of skills if relevant.
4. interview you. It will directly address unit outcomes and will normally also include:
knowing what to do when things go wrong
managing yourself and your schedule/work habits
relating to other people and your organization
Expect to get asked questions like:
"How would you ... ?"
"What would you do if ... ?"
"What are the rules for ... ?"
"Why would you ... ?"
At the end of the course, we’d like your feedback on how the course went: what helped you most and what you’d change. You should also look at how you went and what you’d still like to improve on.