Learning in the Workplace and Community

Victoria University

Victoria University
Ms Angela Dressler
Career and professional Development Co-ordinator / lecturer
Telephone: +61 3 9919 4487

Angela Dressler

Vignette title and details

Learning in the Workplace and Community Human Movement, Recreation, and Performance Career and Professional Development program
Part-time, 70-380 hours, Undergraduate.
The Career and Professional Development program is delivered through compulsory units in the second and third year of a course; each unit combines classroom contact incorporating career education of 12 hours with an industry placement of 70-380 hours (depending on the course).


Human Movement, Recreation, and Performance

Employment sector

Sport, Recreation, Adventure Tourism, Education, Exercise Rehabilitation

Student numbers


Credit bearing?

Compulsory. The placement and career education program is a requirement for all second and third year students completing courses in the School of Human Movement Recreation and Performance. Students receive credit recognition for their completion of the placement programs and associated assignments are graded.


Placement is ungraded but organisation must provide a satisfactory evaluation of students performance. A written business report based on the placement is graded and contributes to 50% of the subject assessment. Career development assignments are also graded.


May be paid or unpaid. Students negotiate their own placement are if possible seek payment.

Number of staff involved

4 VU permanent members of staff. A number of sessional staff assist in visiting students at their placement.



Key Words

Human Movement; Recreation; Performance; Sport


The School of Human Movement Recreation and Performance (HMRP) at Victoria University (VU) has maintained an industry placement experience program as a core subject in its courses for over 30 years.

The current Career and Professional Development program which the School offers is consistent with the current model of career development theory whereby students assess their own skills, interests, values, personality and achievements, and are then assisted in their understanding of the information they have gathered about themselves to ensure career information literacy and to enable them to make informed career choices and decisions.

The program provides students with awareness of potential sport and recreation careers through job and placement email alerts and gives students training in self marketing career skills such as resume writing, interview techniques, the two minute career pitch, dressing for work, and networking.

Utilising knowledge garnered from these prior classroom career education activities, students select and arrange their own job placements.

Structure of program

The Career and Professional Development program is delivered in the second and third year of students courses through compulsory units of classroom contact of 12 hours and an industry placement of 70 380 hours (depending on the course).

In the classroom, students are delivered lectures that cover topics such as the job opportunities available in the sport and recreation industry, personality testing, newspaper job searches, understanding position descriptions, resume writing, job interview techniques, and networking. Guest speakers also make presentations to students regarding the different careers of students and lectures covering all the possible career outcomes from their course are delivered.

After attending these classes, students are required to select and source their own two placements based on personal career goals. Students may search the database of over 600 employers that have previously hosted a student in order to locate an employer, or alternately, students can source an employer on their own. The first placement assists the student to obtain part-time work in the sport and recreation industry. Fortunately, the sport and recreation industry has many part-time employment opportunities. The second placement occurs in the final semester of the course and enables students to gain a foot in the door and hopefully remain in employment at their placement beyond graduation.

During the placement, students develop work related skills, knowledge about organisations, professional insights and apply their classroom learning into the world of work. These are very valuable learning outcomes, however the main emphasis of the Career and Professional Development Programs career placements are career exploration, networking and the possibility of a job offer upon graduation. Students also gain valuable skills and achievements to include on their empty resume.

Students are graded in the Career and Professional Development subjects. They complete a number of career development assignments and also a large business report concerning their placement. The report asks students to describe, analyse and evaluate the organisation, the tasks they completed at the placement and to write 12 core graduate attributes and employability skills as achievements using real examples of the students performance at the placement.

Special features

One of the special features of the program is the website and software system that has been developed to streamline the placement contract system and provide students with a career resource. The system manages placement contracts (1500+ per year) and also creates a database of over 600 employers that have hosted a student on placement for that year. This information is captured and used to create directories for students to peruse when deciding on a career path and where they do their placement. Students can also access records on the system that are several years old.

A further feature of the program is the mentoring partnership that has been established with Parks and Leisure Australia, a professional body that has a pool of over 40 industry professionals who are willing to mentor recreation management students in their final semester, and for twelve months after graduation, to assist with their career development and transition to employment. To ensure students enter into an effective mentoring relationship, a seminar is conducted where students hear from recent graduates and their mentors regarding how beneficial the relationship has been to the relevant students career development.

In addition to the partnership with Parks and Leisure Australia, each year an average of seven local government recreation departments host a paid internship for third year students. They are employed for over 300 hours to complete major projects for the council. Students compete with one another for these positions via a written application including a resume and job interview. Since 2004 there have been 30 interns who have all progressed from their internship to successful employment in the industry.

Future work

Given its considerable success, it is anticipated the program will continue into the future. The development of the program over 30 years has produced a holistic integrated career development system that gives students the best chance to learn how to manage their future careers and gain employment when they graduate.

The future development of the program will explore more use of online delivery.

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