Organising and applying for a placement

Step 1

For SLE225 a number of group placements have already been arranged by the University and details can be found on the International Study Opportunities website.

For SLE301 and SLE390, contact the organisation(s) enquiring about the possibility of a placement opportunity. You may like to refer to the potential organisations lists under important documents on the main page for ideas.

Need some help? We have some tips for identifying and contacting organisations:

Identify an organisation

The work experience component of your Professional Practice unit will benefit your resume and employability as a graduate.  Please try to focus on an area that will target both your skills and interests, and potentially provide employment opportunities at a later stage. Follow the 1, 2, 3:

1 - identify what field in the industry you would like to undertake your work experience.  Do some research to locate businesses and organisations that cater to your preferences via web, newspapers, Deakin UniHub and canvass your local area.

If you are unsure of your career ambitions, please feel free to discuss potential directions with your course adviser or refer to information on the DeakinTALENT website

2 - compile a list; you may not be lucky enough to succeed with your first choice.  Do some more research into your list of organisations, i.e. research other areas within the organisation that you might want to work with.

3 - establish a rough timetable of availability for yourself using the trimester breaks and during your trimester studies.  If an organisation is prepared to accept you, you need to be flexible and be able to cater to their schedule.

Contacting an organisation

Once you have your list of organisations, it is now time to work out who to contact. Research the organisation and specific departments to locate the correct contact person.

When liaising with organisations please remember to be polite and courteous at all times, even if it is not reciprocated. This displays your maturity and professionalism. Also remember you are representing not only yourself and Deakin University, but other Deakin students, current and future. If you are rude to an organisation, they may choose not only to not accept you now, but other Deakin students in the future.

These organisations are contacted repeatedly by many other students, universities, TAFE colleges and high schools for similar work experience positions. Conducting yourself in a polite and professional  manner and acting patiently will display why they should give you a chance.


Remember, the response from the organisation can go three ways: yes, no or maybe.

No, sorry we are not interested - If this is the response you get, please thank whoever you are liaising with for their time.  Then continue on with your list.

Maybe/I am unsure/I will get back to you. - If this is the response you get, that is good. It is not a flat out refusal.  Ensure you leave your details and confirm their details so you can get back to them if they do not get back to you. You may be asked to provide further information, including letter, resume and academic transcript, for them to consider your request.

Regarding re-contacting an organisation, leave a one to two week gap, or look for another way to contact them i.e. if you had left a voice message, follow up with an email (if you have access to email addresses, even the general enquiry one will suffice).

If you did contact a person directly and have not heard back, call reception or their general enquiries line to confirm you are waiting on the correct person.  You may be waiting to hear back from the wrong person and not know.  People will not always return your call if the message does not apply to them.

Yes - If this is the response you get, great!  Confirm what you are to do next.  You may have to follow
up with another phone call or email, and/or provide further information, including letter, resume and
academic transcript.

Phone/Email examples

When contacting an organisation by phone, prepare your spiel. Perhaps something similar to:

"Hi, my name is ________, I’m a 3rd year student studying at Deakin University and I would like to speak to somebody regarding the possibility of undertaking voluntary work experience as part of my course requirements."

Whatever it is you plan to say, be prepared to say it many times.

It is here you may need to say your spiel a few times until you are directed to the right person.  The practice will come in handy, and you’ll find the more you say it, the more confident and better you will deliver it.


If you are going to contact the organisation by email, make sure to indicate in your email:

  • who you are
  • your reason for contacting them
  • your year of study and subjects
  • why you would like to do your work placement with them (do some research about them first)

Other information

For assistance on resume and cover letter writing, refer to the DeakinTALENT website

At any stage if the potential organisation requires further information on the unit or insurance details, please ask them to email les-professionalpractice@deakin.edu.au


Step 2

Complete the relevant application form and provide an acceptance email with agreed dates from the organisation with your application.

Download forms:


Step 3

Submit your completed application form to the relevant staff member as detailed below via email or in person.

Domestic placements

Email: les-professionalpractice@deakin.edu.au
Mail: Professional Practice Placements Coordinator, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood VIC 3125
In person: At our Burwood, Waurn Ponds or Warrnambool student centres

International placements

Email: sebe-international@deakin.edu.au
Mail: Margaret Herczeg, International WIL Coordinator, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood VIC 3125
In person: At our Burwood, Waurn Ponds or Warrnambool student centres


Step 4

Wait for email approval from the relevant staff member to commence your placement.


Step 5

Acknowledge receipt of the confirmation email.


Frequently asked questions

What forms do I have to complete for my placement?

All students must complete the relevant application form located on this page.

The application form must be signed by the supervisor at the organisation, or an email or letter from the organisation must be attached to the application form. The application form is submitted to the Professional Practice Placements Coordinator (domestic placements) or International WIL Coordinator (international placements).  If you submit an incomplete application form it will cause delays with processing.

How long does it take for my application form to be processed?

You should allow a minimum of one month for your application form to be processed, where there is no legal agreement in place with an organisation.  Where there is already a legal agreement in place with an organisation, you should allow a minimum of seven business days for your application to be processed.

How do I submit the application form?

The application can be submitted either electronically or in person. Please refer to step 3 on this page.

When will I be advised if my application form is not approved?

If your application is not approved you will be advised within a few days of the application being received. 

If your application is incomplete, ie there is information missing, you will be advised within a few days of the application being received, and asked to provide the relevant information in order for your application to be assessed.

When will I be advised if my application form is approved?

You will be advised via email if your application has been accepted or approved following the minimum processing times listed above and dependent on the commencement date of the placement.  Depending on the commencement date, a further email may be sent to you 1-3 weeks prior to the commencement date giving final approval and confirming you can commence your placement.

Can I undertake a placement if I am not enrolled in a Professional Practice unit?

No.  You must be enrolled in a Professional Practice Unit to be eligible to undertake a placement.

Can I undertake a placement if I intermit or discontinue my course?

No.  You must be an enrolled student of the University.  If you intermit or discontinue your course, you are not an enrolled student of the University.

Am I covered by insurance whilst on placement?

The University provides personal accident insurance cover whilst you are on placement, but this provides limited benefits.  The placement must form part of your course/unit requirements and must be approved by the relevant staff member.

You can also refer to the Student Insurance website

Do I require a transcript of my results when I apply to an organisation for a placement?

The organisation may require a letter of application, resume and transcript.  Please check what the particular organisation requires. This information is provided for some organisations in the potential organisation list found on this page.

Can I undertake a placement within Deakin University?

SLE225 placements cannot be undertaken within Australia.

SLE301 and SLE390 placements - you should contact individual staff members within the Schools/Faculties regarding placement opportunities at Deakin University. Search the Deakin website and check staff profiles for their backgrounds and research interests.

SLE301 - you can only undertake 40 hours of placement within Deakin University, the remaining 40 hours must be completed with an external organisation.

Do I need approval to commence a placement?

Yes. You cannot commence a placement until you have been advised by the relevant staff member that the placement has been approved.  You will be sent an email to confirm your placement.

Is the placement/organisation suitable?

The aim of the work placement component is to give students a taste of what a career in a chosen field or organisation would look and feel like and to give students an idea of whether they are suited to that type of work and work environment. It is an opportunity for students to learn about and to gain specific experience in their field of choice. It is an opportunity to try out a potential career/organisation that you think you might like to work in once graduated. The work placement does not have to be specifically related to your majors or specific subjects, but broadly related to your chosen degree. The placement must not be observational, but provide the student with hands on experience in the area.

If you are unsure about suitability, contact the Professional Practice Placements Coordinator. For SLE390, replace to the placement guidelines located on this site.

Is a Police Record Check or Working with Children Check required for placements?

This will be dependent on the organisation.  It is the student’s responsibility to check if these checks are required and to obtain them.

Page custodian: Faculty of Science, Engineering & Built Environment
Last updated: