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Supporting Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

in Australia

• February 2013 • Fair Work Ombudsman's report •

ACEN website

Hi %%firstname%%

Fair Work Ombudsman's Report

'The Nature, Prevalence and Regulation of Unpaid Work Experience, Internships and Trial Periods in Australia: Experience or Exploitation?'

FWO report

This email is to alert you to the Fair Work Ombudsman's report which has  been released today. The Report is titled “The nature and prevalence of unpaid work experience , internships and trial periods in Australia. Experience or Exploitation “  by Professors Andrew Stewart and Rosemary Owens of Adelaide University

The report has investigated and documented issues in this complex area and presented a range of recommendations. The office of the Fair Work Ombudsman has today responded by saying they will act to implement the recommendations outlined.

ACEN has actively supported this research  and I would like to thank  the  many ACEN members who contributed by completing the survey distributed through ACEN .

The ACEN National Executive will consider the report over the coming days and would welcome your comments.

Judie Kay, National Director


Join the discussion

A discussion has commenced through ACEN LinkedIn .

(The ACEN LinkedIn is a member-only site. If your institution is a member, you're entitled to join ACEN and then register for ACEN LinkedIn. Or join ACEN as an individual).


Key report findings

The report found that a growing number of businesses are using unpaid work schemes as an alternative to hiring paid staff.

The research acknowledges the importance and legitimacy of unpaid work within formal vocational placements. It also found that:

  • employers want clarification about the legitimacy and legality of unpaid work
  • young people and migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to being exploited
  • unpaid work is most common in competitive industries with an oversupply of qualified graduates.


Report recommendations and responses

The report makes 6 recommendations that we will work to implement.

  • Better define unpaid work experience.
  • Expand guidance and education activities.
  • Conduct targeted campaigns in key industries.
  • Instigate legal action before relevant courts where appropriate.
  • Improve liaison with relevant government agencies.
  • Initiate comprehensive engagement with key stakeholders representing employers and employees, with an emphasis on vulnerable workers (young people and migrant workers).


Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson introduces the report

Fair Work Onbudsman Youtube

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