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2022 Virtual Work Experience Program (VWEP)

In 2022, CSIRO, in partnership with the Department of Defence, will pilot the Virtual Work Experience Program - Defence Industry Stream. 

The Defence Industry Stream of the program will provide Years 10 and 11 high school students with an opportunity to experience the Defence Industry first-hand in a virtual environment, gain exposure to real-world STEM skills and work on group projects with the support of experienced STEM Defence Industry professionals.

The program will support students to undertake work experience remotely, providing opportunities for students who may face geographic or other barriers to participating in traditional work experience. It also allows students the opportunity to experience contemporary ways of working, from homes, and with people across geographic boundaries, just as many workplaces do every day.

Instead of students attending a work site, experienced STEM Defence Industry professionals will supervise groups of students, using a secure online platform. The groups will comprise up to five students - who may be remote from each other - working together to complete tasks which can be used as part of portfolios and to help inform their study and career plans. The duration of each placement is five (5) days.

Contact us

If you would like more information regarding virtual work experience, please email the team at workexperience@csiro.au.

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Expression of Interest - Students

The Virtual Work Experience Program - Defence Industry Stream will commence in Term 2, 2022 with a pilot of approximately 30 students.

The Virtual Work Experience Program (VWEP) supports students to undertake work experience despite COVID-19 interruptions, and provide opportunities for students who may face geographic or other barriers to participating in traditional work experience.

VWEP allows students the opportunity to experience contemporary ways of working, from homes, and with people across geographic boundaries, just as CSIRO scientists do every day.

Students will undertake collaborative, group science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) projects, including projects linked to real-world CSIRO research and industry challenges. 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. The groups will comprise up to five students who may be remote from each other and who will work together to compete work and tasks that can be used as part of portfolios and help inform their study and/or career plans.

To be eligible to participate in Virtual Work Experience, students must be:

  • in year 10 or 11, and aged 15-17 years for the duration of the work experience
  • enrolled in a school in Australia
  • able to commit to the designated days
  • supported by a teacher, parent or other approved adult in their physical location throughout their work experience project.

Expression of Interest - Supervisors

Expressions of interest are invited from Defence Industry professionals who are keen to offer a project and volunteer to supervise a small group of 5 students over a 5-day placement. 

Who can participate?

Supervisors can be from any Defence Industry partner organisation or businesses. 

Role of the supervisor

As a supervisor hosting students, you will be required to:

  • Prepare a STEM task or challenge related to your work, or a number of tasks that can be completed virtually and collaboratively by a group of students remotely.

  • Write a brief career focused bio and share your career journey with students. A career pathway talk from colleagues can be insightful for students.

  • Consider confidentiality of information that will be provided to students and discuss this with the group.

  • Make use of CSIRO's SAP Jam platform to share documents and communicate with the students. This will involve a short online introduction (30 mins - 1 hour) to demonstrate the features of the platform. 

  • Set aside a time each day over the 5-day work experience duration to meet with the students via Webex for approximately 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon each day. 

  • Supervisors can be at home, or at their normal, current workplace. 

Obligations of the supervisor

Supervisors will be required to:

  • Obtain a Working with Children/Vulnerable People Check in their state or territory. CSIRO takes its duty of care for work experience students very seriously. As per CSIRO's Child Safe Policy. CSIRO will assist with obtaining the relevant Working with Children Check for your state or territory. 
  • Attend a 2-hour child safe training workshop with the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN).
  • Provide a child safe environment during the VWEP dates.
  • Record student attendance and contact the VWEP team if students don't attend the designated dates and times.
  • Act in accordance with CSIRO's Privacy Policy.
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How does it work?

Virtual work experience allows students to undertake science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects. Projects are linked to real-world CSIRO research and industry challenges. Experienced CSIRO staff or STEM industry professionals remotely supervise groups of students using a secure online platform. The groups comprise up to five students - who may be remote from each other - and who will work together to complete tasks that can be used as part of portfolios and help inform their study and/or career plans.


Virtual Work Experience also provides students the opportunity to experience contemporary ways of working, such as from home, and with people across geographic boundaries, just as CSIRO scientists do every day.

Learn more

[Music plays and image appears of an aerial view of Tennant Creek and then the camera zooms in on a rock formation on the ground and then the camera zooms out to show a car driving past the rocks]

 

[Image changes to show three female students walking past the Tennant Creek High School sign and then the image shows a rear view of the three students walking towards the school building]

 

Sharon Kurniawan: In the virtual work experience programme we were looking at medical image processing using Anaconda and Python and Jupiter Notebook and things like that.

 

[Images move through of two students working on a computer together, a close-up view of the computer screen, and then Chin Huan talking to the camera and text appears: Chin Huan, Science & Mathematics Teacher, Tennant Creek High School]

 

Chin Huan: Our kids are given the opportunities just as any other kids across Australia, regardless of whether you are from the city or from a remote town like Tennant Creek.

 

[Images move through of the students entering a room and then working on the computer]

 

Robelyn-Joy Lanas: The main things that we’ve learned during the week was like different types of playing the basics of Python.

 

[Image changes to show three of the students around a computer in a room]

 

I also got to work with the people in CSIRO.

 

[Image changes to show Robelyn-Joy sitting in a chair on a verandah talking to the camera and text appears: Robelyn-Joy Lanas, Tennant Hills High School]

 

I mean it was very fun. It was really interesting.

 

[Images move through to show Rob Hollow walking down a corridor, entering a room, talking to the camera, sitting in a chair talking, and then working on a computer and text appears: Rob Hollow, Education & Science Outreach Specialist, Astronomy and Space Science, CSIRO]

 

Rob Hollow: The virtual work experience programme is a really exciting concept that allows students in regional and remote areas access to a really worthwhile and engaging experience around future career paths without physically having to come into a city or a headquarters like us here in Sydney.

 

[Image changes to show a goat grazing outside a house, and then the image changes to show a sign on the house wall which reads “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow]

 

Kate Barrett: I learned a lot about pulsars because I didn’t know heaps about them.

 

[Image changes to show a rear view of Kate working on a laptop, and then images move through of the laptop screen she is working on, and then Kate talking to the camera and text appears: Kate Barrett, Brisbane School of Distance Education]

 

We looked at pulsars in binary systems, so all the different ways that they can interact with other stars and we looked at how they’re formed. I learned a bit about scale.

 

[Image changes to show a rear view of Kate working at her laptop]

 

I thought that there’d be a lot sort of within a 100 light years but they’re very spread out.

 

[Image changes to show Luke looking at Rob Hollow talking on the laptop screen]

 

Luke Bosnic: Right now, when you’re in school you don’t really get to choose where you live.

 

[Image changes to show a close view of Luke’s face as he works on the laptop and then the camera zooms in on Rob Hollow talking on the laptop screen]

 

You just have to, you know, you live where your parents live. It’s not like I could just buy a house in the city and live there.

 

[Image changes to show Luke sitting in a chair and talking to the camera and then the image changes to show a side facing view of Luke talking and text appears: Luke Bosnic, Peninsular Grammar]

 

So, it would be really unfair. Everyone should have the same opportunities.

 

[Image changes to show Sophie Hawke talking to the camera and text appears: Sophie Hawke, Tennant Creek High School]

 

Sophie Hawke: We did have a lot of connection errors.

 

[Image changes to show Kaitlyn Fraser sitting on a bench talking to the camera and text appears: Kaitlyn Fraser, Tennant Creek High School]

 

Kaitlyn Fraser: Sometimes we would have problems with the Wi-Fi or connection but…

 

[Image changes to show Sharon sitting in a chair in a classroom talking to the camera and text appears: Sharon Kurniawan, Tennant Creek High School]

 

Sharon Kurniawan: You can’t really do anything about it and like you have to work with what you’ve got.

 

[Image changes to show Rob working on a computer and then the image changes to show a close view of Rob talking to the camera and then the camera zooms out on Rob talking]

 

Rob Hollow: Students in these regional remote areas, you know they might be in a very small school, they might be in a central school where there’s only a handful of students in their year level.

 

[Camera zooms in on Rob talking and then the image changes to show a profile view of Luke and then the image changes to show Rob sitting in a chair talking to the camera]

 

By having a virtual experience like this where they can come online, interact with other keen students from other, other areas, it provides an opportunity that otherwise they’re denied.

 

[Image changes to show Dr Susmita Saha sitting in a chair talking to the camera and text appears: Dr Susmita Saha, Postdoctoral Fellow, Australian e-Health Research Centre, CSIRO]

 

Dr Susmita Saha: It was really encouraging for us to know that such remote schools are really interested about STEM.

 

[Image changes to show Sophie and Robelyn-Joy talking and smiling and then the image changes to show Susmita talking on the screen]

 

The students actually showed a great level of enthusiasm but I should say that I enjoyed that too.

 

[Image changes to show Susmita talking to the camera]

 

So, that was actually encouraging both ways.

[Music plays and the CSIRO logo and text appears on a blue screen: CSIRO, Australia’s innovation catalyst]

 

 

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