CSIRO is providing work experience for high school students using the innovative Virtual Work Experience model that was successfully piloted in 2019.
Replicating the way CSIRO staff work every day, virtual work experience brings groups of students from across Australia together to take on STEM-based work experience projects with industry experts.
In 2020, the virtual work experience model is being used to support students to undertake work experience despite COVID-19 interruptions and to overcome geographic or other barriers. Students in Years 10 and 11 who are interested in doing virtual work experience can visit our careers site.
The 2019 Pilot Program
As part of the National Career Education Strategy, CSIRO and the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment collaborated to pilot the delivery of innovative work experience opportunities for high school students using online collaboration tools. The program brought students from across Australia together virtually to work in small groups to take on STEM-based work experience projects with industry experts. Students gained valuable experience in STEM and new ways of working, while developing crucial life skills, such as teamwork, communication, negotiation and resilience.
Replicating the way CSIRO staff work every day, 57 Virtual Work Experience Program students were placed in groups of up to six and worked with their industry supervisor and student team members using collaboration platforms and video conferencing. The program tested two different contact working models and offered students STEM-based work experience in one of 15 STEM disciplines of interest.
A rigorous evaluation process was completed as part of the program pilot PDF (107 KB) and found that students gained valuable experience in STEM and new ways of working, while developing crucial life skills, such as communication and negotiation. These findings demonstrated the value of virtual work experience in providing STEM-based opportunities for students, particularly in regional and remote areas of Australia.