PAPER – Lengthy student placements and health and financial wellbeing


Lisa Hodge, Nicole Oke, Heather McIntyre, Shelley Turner

Project Overview

This project explores the financial and other impacts of lengthy, unpaid work-integrated learning (WIL). It aims to build on the research findings of prior Australian studies that found long unpaid placements had a negative impact on women and diverse student groups, through financial and other stressors, at disproportionate levels. This research was based on a quantitative and qualitative study of students completing placements as part of the social work programme at Victoria University. There have been two key components in this research project. The first is an examination of the significant financial and health impacts students experienced from completing lengthy placements as part of their university course. The second component has focused on the ways these lengthy placements impact on the paid work students do currently, as most students worked while they were completing their course. We found that students engaged in more insecure and precarious work while completing their placements, and some students felt that this would have an impact on their engagement with the workforce after they finished their placement.

Publications and Theses

Hodge, L., Oke, N., McIntyre, H., & Turner, S. (2020). Lengthy unpaid placements in social work: exploring the impacts on student wellbeing. Social Work Education, doi: 10.1080/02615479.2020.1736542