National Work Experience Programme

Information for businesses about the National Work Experience Programme and how they can find out more information about accessing the program.

The National Work Experience Programme places participants in real life unpaid work experience placements. It helps jobseekers gain experience and confidence, while demonstrating skills to potential employers. Placements are unpaid and run for a maximum of four weeks up to 25 hours per week.

National Work Experience Program placements are a great way for employers to assess the suitability of candidates and ensure they’re a good fit for their business before committing to employment. Businesses are eligible to receive an incentive payment of $300 for hosting an eligible National Work Experience Programme candidate, and if participants are offered ongoing employment after the placement, they may also be eligible for a wage subsidy.

Who is eligible?

Suitable participants aged 17 years and over receiving an Income Support Payment who are registered with an Employment Service Provider. This includes those in jobactive, Transition to Work, Disability Employment Services and the New Employment Services Trial (Enhanced Services).

How can the National Work Experience Programme help participants?

The National Work Experience Programme gives you an opportunity to participate in a work experience trial to help you get your foot in the door, show potential employers what you can do, and grow your skills and confidence. It’s a great way to make connections within your local labour market, and if your host organisation thinks you are a good fit, you may be offered a job at the end of your placement.

Participants who undertake a National Work Experience Programme placement will receive an additional Approved Program of Work Supplement of $20.80 per fortnight.

What are the benefits for businesses?

If you are looking to hire staff you have the ability to trial a participant before committing to placing them into employment. The participant has the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, reliability and work ethic to you in a work-like environment. If, at the end of the placement, you feel the participant isn’t the right fit for your business, you are under no obligation to employ them. Your business may be eligible for an incentive payment of $300 (GST inclusive) for hosting an eligible National Work Experience Programme candidate.

Businesses who offer participants ongoing employment after the placement may also be eligible for a wage subsidy.

Read the Fact sheet for Employers to hear how other businesses have successfully used work experience to trial a candidate before hiring.

Is my business eligible?

A National Work Experience Programme placement can be undertaken in all suitable businesses (for profit and not-for-profit), and local, state, territory and Australian government agencies.

You cannot host a National Work Experience Programme placement if the placement would result in the reduction or replacement of any existing paid workers and/or any paid workers’ hours of work.

You can speak to an Employment Services Provider in your area who will help you work out if a work experience placement is right for your business. To find a local Provider, visit the jobsearch website.

What kind of activities can I offer job seekers on a National Work Experience Programme placement?

A participant in a National Work Experience Programme placement can do many of the tasks you might expect a paid employee to do. This will assist you in genuinely considering their suitability for the job opportunity available.

Your Employment Services Provider will work with you to determine the role and tasks appropriate for a participant completing their placement.

What does being a host business involve?

As a National Work Experience Programme host business, you will:

  • provide a work experience placement for up to a maximum of four weeks
  • provide supervision, on-the-job training and monitoring attendance, and
  • ensure that the placement meets all relevant work health and safety requirements.

Your Employment Services Provider will work with you and the participant to document the details of the placement, including the tasks, duties, supervision and any training as part of the placement. The Provider will also work with you to undertake a risk assessment prior to the placement starting.

It’s important that you support the participant to perform tasks similar to other employees in your organisation. This provides you with the best opportunity to see the participant’s skills and work ethic, which may lead to you employing them.

National Work Experience Programme placements should ideally have a likelihood of paid employment following the completion of the placement. However, there is no obligation for you to hire a participant following the placement if they do not meet your business needs.

Participants continue to receive income support and assistance from their Provider during their National Work Experience Programme placement.

Is the placement covered under the Fair Work Act?

Participants on income support undertake National Work Experience Programme placements as an Approved Program of Work under Social Security Legislation. This means that, for the purposes of the Fair Work Act 2009, a participant is not an employee while undertaking a placement in your organisation.

Is the placement covered for insurance?

As participants are not employees, they are not eligible for workers’ compensation.

The Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment purchases personal accident insurance and public and/or product liability insurance to cover participants while they undertake their placements, including travelling to and from your business.

You can ask your Provider to give you further information on the insurance policies and what to do in the event of any accidental injury or damage occurring.

What support is available?

In addition to the $300 (GST inclusive) incentive payment, your provider will work closely with you to ensure your needs are met.

This may include assisting job seekers to complete any necessary workplace-specific training before commencing and resolving any issues that come up.

Should you decide the participant is a good fit for your organisation, your Provider will work with you to finalise the recruitment of the participant. Post-placement support is available over the first months of the job seeker’s employment, to assist with any ongoing support or training they may need.

Your Provider can also advise if you could be eligible for a wage subsidy for hiring and retaining the participant.

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