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Virtual work experience also allows students to undertake collaborative, group science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) projects, including projects linked to real-world CSIRO research and industry challenges.

FAQ: Virtual work experience

Instead of students attending a CSIRO site, experienced CSIRO staff or STEM industry professionals will supervise groups of students remotely using a secure online platform. Students work in groups of up to five students who may be remote from each other. The students will create outputs and outcomes that can be used as part of work portfolios or help inform their study and/or career plans.

Each year CSIRO receives significantly more applications for work experience than there are places available. In addition to this, many students are unable to participate in their specific area of interest or undertake meaningful work experience due to accessibility issues, or the cost and distance of travel. This has been exaggerated in the COVID-19 context of restricted travel and social distancing.

Virtual work experience allows students to:

  • experience increased choice of work experience by removing travel and geographic constraints, or cost barriers
  • develop STEM skills as well as General Capabilities skills such as teamwork, communication, negotiation and resilience1
  • be exposed to a broader range of real-world work situations, including introducing contemporary ways of working, such as from home.

Students from remote, rural, regional and metropolitan areas can participate. Students must be in either Year 10 or 11 and enrolled in a school in Australia. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate every student who expresses interest as places in the program depend upon the availability of suitable supervisors at certain dates or on certain STEM projects.

Students will participate in work experience projects using an online communication and collaboration platform while in their schools, homes or a supported community venue, such as a library. Students must be supported by a teacher, parent or an approved adult in their physical location.

Virtual work experience takes place over a designated period (three, four or five days) during school terms or school holidays. Work experience normally takes place between 9 am and 3 pm in the supervisor's time zone and can only be conducted on the days designated. Students are required to be fully engaged in the work experience activities during those times and days.

The online communication and collaboration solution we use is especially designed to ensure only approved people can join online collaborative workspaces. Students have access to their supervisor and to support staff, who have had screening interviews, hold a valid Working with Children Check for their state or territory, and have a recent National Police Clearance.

Participation is free of charge to all students and there will be no payment made to students to participate. Students may receive a certificate following successful completion of the virtual work experience.

All information provided by students, parents and guardians, and schools will be treated confidentially. Some personal data will be collected for the project, including students’ names, school year, home address, date of birth, school and/or personal email addresses, school name and address, and phone numbers. This personal information will only be used to contact the students and to facilitate the students’ participation in the program.

Personal data will be stored on secure CSIRO servers in Australia and in locked cabinets on secure premises (if in hard copy). Where third parties are provided with personal data to conduct the pilots (e.g. a third-party IT vendor), they will be required to provide a similarly safe environment.

Any personal data collected will be retained until the end of the program, upon which time the personal information will be treated in accordance with the Commonwealth Archives Act (1983). CSIRO will treat all personal information collected as part of your application in accordance with CSIRO’s general privacy statement.

Please contact workexperience@csiro.au if you:

  • would like access to any of your personal information we have collected in the application process
  • would like to withdraw your consent at any time to use the information as described above
    or
  • believe that any information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date.

Participation in this program is completely voluntary and students may withdraw at any time by emailing workexperience@csiro.au.

Contact

If you would like more information regarding virtual work experience, please contact workexperience@csiro.au.

Notes

  1. These are the types of skills developed under the Australian Curriculum’s General Capabilities: Information and Communication Technology Capability, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding, and Intercultural Understanding.

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