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Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training
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Inclusive fieldwork, work placements, excursions and practicums

Fieldwork education is any practical work, teaching, study or research activity required by post-secondary education providers as an integral part of a course. Fieldwork is also known as practicum, professional experience, internship, or clinical placement.

Fieldwork allows you to learn through direct implementation of your future professional role in real workplace settings. It prepares you for meaningful and productive participation in industry, the workforce and the community.

A fieldwork education partner is an agent, contractor, collaborating agency, facility, industry, organisation, school, site or placement provider that provides structured and supervised practical experience for you for the purposes of a qualification.

A post-secondary education provider is responsible for ensuring that fieldwork partners provide reasonable adjustments for you and comply with the requirements of the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Commonwealth Disability Standards for Education 2005. To ensure you are aware of your right to reasonable adjustments, post-secondary education providers should ensure that you are advised of these rights during orientation and at the commencement of each semester when fieldwork is undertaken.

If you meet essential entry requirements to a post-secondary education provider, you cannot be prevented from enrolling in a course because of your disability.  However, it is important to seek out information about course requirements, including fieldwork, before enrolling in order to make realistic course choices.

You are the expert on your disability, how it affects you and what will be helpful and/or unhelpful. It is your responsibility to articulate your needs and to communicate if you feel that a placement is inappropriate and not able to meet your needs and have reasonable adjustments provided. You are encouraged to seek advice from a disability practitioner who will work with you and liaise with staff to identify strategies to assist you in meeting course requirements, including fieldwork.

It is a post-secondary education provider’s responsibility to make reasonable adjustments for you to undertake fieldwork activities. This includes ensuring that appropriate adjustments are arranged by fieldwork partners. Where it is not possible for you to participate in fieldwork activities because of disability or medical condition, the provider should endeavour to provide alternative experiences that will allow you to meet the learning outcomes of the unit or course.

If you require reasonable adjustments for fieldwork placements, you should initiate discussion with the fieldwork coordinator and provide a Reasonable Adjustment Plan as negotiated with a disability practitioner.

You are encouraged to disclose any disability, medical or other condition that may affect your capacity to successfully carry out fieldwork education activities. This disclosure should be made at the time the fieldwork activity is being planned, or subsequently when the fieldwork activity is in progress if you find that your capacity is affected.