Ministry-Authorized Work Experience Courses and Workplace Safety Policy
Date came into force or revised
January 2004, revised TBD
Elective Work Experience courses are monitored by schools and usually offered as part of a career program. They go beyond the career-life exploration component required by Career-Life Connections (CLC). Those involved in Work Experience 12A/B electives must follow required steps to address workplace safety and related student insurance coverage.
Rationale or purpose of policy
This policy clarifies elective Work Experience 12A/B courses that extend beyond the 30 hours or more of substantive experiential learning required for graduation. It also provides important information about Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) coverage. Career-life exploration required for graduation is covered in a separate policy, Exploration Component of Career-Life Connections and WorkSafeBC Coverage.
See Ministerial Order 237/11, the Work Experience Order.
Policy in full
Work experience is defined in legislation as "that part of an educational program that provides a student with an opportunity to participate in, observe or learn about the performance of tasks and responsibilities related to an occupation or career." The goal of work experience is to help students prepare for the transition from secondary school to the world of work, and to help students connect what they learn in the classroom to the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed in the workplace.
In order to be reported as a Ministry-authorized Work Experience 12A or 12B course, the work experience must be supported and monitored by the school and consist of authentic workplace experiences.
In most cases, Ministry-authorized Work Experience 12A and 12B consist of school-arranged, non-paid placements. Paid employment can be used to satisfy the requirements of Work Experience 12A/B only when it coincides with the student's documented career plans and is supported and monitored by the school.
Boards of education and independent school authorities that wish to develop their own credit-based work experience courses not based on Ministry guidelines for Work Experience 12A/12B must ensure these courses and placements meet the requirements for Board/Authority Authorized courses and WorkSafeBC coverage.
Procedures related to policy
All students participating in elective Work Experience courses must have an in-school orientation to prepare them for their specific work site placement. The in-school orientation must include instruction on work site safety awareness.
For all school-arranged work placements, there must be a signed and dated Work Experience Agreement form. A sample Work Experience Agreement Form can be found in the appendices of the Program Guide for Ministry-Authorized Work Experience Courses (PDF).
WorkSafeBC coverage is provided by the Province to Work Experience students as ‘workers of the Crown’ if the following requirements are met:
- Students must be 14 years of age or older
- The work placement is not paid
- It is a school-supported placement at a standard worksite
- The work site sponsor/employer meets the requirements of WorkSafeBC
- The student has received instruction in workplace safety before starting the work placement
- A Work Experience Agreement form has been signed and dated by all parties
Students who use paid employment that is supported and monitored by the school to earn credits for elective Work Experience courses must show that they are working at a site where WorkSafeBC coverage is provided.
For school arranged work experience placements at new work sites, safety issues should be discussed with the employer.
Boards of education and independent school authorities must establish guidelines respecting the conduct, supervision, evaluation and participation of students in all school-arranged work placements. School personnel must monitor each student on a school-arranged work placement as determined by board/authority guidelines. Monitoring of students may consist of work site visits, or phone calls and emails with the student’s workplace supervisor.
An educator with a valid teaching certificate must evaluate all Work Experience 12A/B courses and assign a percentage before reporting it to the Ministry for course credit. Evaluation should be based on clear criteria and should include a variety of assessment strategies.
Additional information about the requirements and procedures for ministry-authorized Work Experience 12A/12B is available in the Program Guide for Ministry-Authorized Work Experience Courses (PDF) and the Worker’s Compensation Coverage Order (PDF).