Connecting Gold Coast students and graduates to opportunities

Types of Arrangements

There are a number of ways you can engage students and graduates and it’s important that you understand the requirements of each type of arrangement (i.e. employment, work experience, internship, etc).

Work Experience

Work experience is very similar to an internship, however the work experience received is not necessarily aligned to the student’s area of study. The student may be interested in the line of work and would like to obtain exposure to it.


Generally, an internship is a carefully monitored work experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what they are learning through experience. It is generally 1 or 2 days per week at the company site for a trimester (3 months).

It is unpaid ‘hands-on’ work experience in the real world aligned to the student’s academic studies. An internship program is structured on the intern’s learning objectives and what they would like to achieve out of the program. An internship may be the missing link between academic studies and successfully obtaining one’s first job in their area of studies.

When a company engages a work experience student or intern, it must ensure it does not create an employment relationship with the person during the program (i.e. not requiring the person to perform work that an employee in the company would ordinarily perform and be paid for), as this may create risks for the company (i.e. an underpayment claim from the person).

It is important that any opportunities categorised as Work Experience/Internship are aligned with the Fair Work Act. Here are some helpful tips on what information to include in a Work Experience/Internship opportunity.

  • A brief description about the Company, its history, its objectives
  • History/success of internships in the Company, if applicable
  • What type of work will the student be exposed to
  • What learning outcomes will the student expect
  • Who and their position in the Company, will the candidate report to
  • What supervision/guidance will the student receive
  • Where/what suburb will the student work in
  • What days/hours of work are anticipated
  • What duration will the work experience/internship be for

Apprenticeship and Traineeship

Apprentices and trainees are working towards a nationally recognised qualification and must be formally registered, usually through a training contract. The business must pay apprentices and trainees according to the industrial instrument which covers them (i.e. a modern award).

For more information about starting and managing an apprenticeship/traineeship, funding, incentives, support and resources for stakeholders visit:

Full-time and Part-time Employee

Generally, full-time employees work an average of 38 hours per week. An employee’s actual hours of work are agreed between the employer and the employee, and/or must meet the requirements set out in an industrial instrument (i.e. a modern award or enterprise agreement).

Part-time employees usually work less than 38 hours per week on average and generally have regular hours. The way a part-time employee is engaged and the hours in which they may work are dependent on the industrial instrument which covers them.

Leave entitlements are provided for in the National Employment Standards.

Full-time employees and part-time employees (on a pro-rata basis generally) are entitled to the following types of leave:

  • annual leave
  • personal/carer’s leave
  • family and domestic violence leave
  • compassionate leave
  • community service leave
  • jury service leave
  • parental leave (after 12 months’ service)
  • long service leave

Certain types of leave are paid and others are unpaid. It is important to refer to the relevant industrial instrument, employment agreement and legislation to ensure you are accurately paying your employees’ entitlements.

Permanent employees are also entitled to be paid for public holidays if the public holiday falls on a day they would usually work.

Casual Employee

Casual employees are engaged on an irregular basis according to business demands and have:

  • it stipulated in their employment agreements that they are casual
  • no expectation of ongoing work or guaranteed hours of work
  • no obligation to accept offers of work
  • an entitlement to be paid a casual loading
  • no obligation to provide notice of ending their employment, unless required by an industrial instrument or employment agreement

Casual employees are entitled to:

  • unpaid family and domestic violence leave
  • unpaid personal/carer’s leave
  • unpaid compassionate leave
  • unpaid community service leave
  • unpaid jury service leave
  • paid long service leave
  • unpaid parental leave (in certain circumstances, and after 12 months’ service)

Employers must be aware of ‘regular and systematic’ casuals and how they may affect their business.

In some circumstances, casual employees may request to be converted to permanent employment under their modern award.

Contract and Fixed Term Employees

Employees may be employed on a fixed term or maximum term employment agreement, which means that they are employed for a specific task or period of time. These types of agreements have many intricacies which need to be addressed, and it is recommended that professional advice is sought when engaging a fixed term or maximum term employee.

Commission and piece rate employees

In certain circumstances, employees may be paid piece rates or commission payments. This means that employers may pay these particular employees based on the results they achieve instead of an hourly or weekly pay rate.

There are very limited circumstances where an employee can only be paid in this manner (i.e. it is permitted in their modern award) and professional advice should be sought to ensure it is legally compliant.

To consider

No matter what type of arrangement an individual has been engaged in (i.e. employment, work experience or internship), it is important that the company complies with its legal obligations and provides the correct entitlements to the person in accordance with workplace laws and other legislation (i.e. that it is compliant with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), including that the arrangement does not constitute sham contracting, and the relevant industrial instrument).

Useful Links

Fair Work guidance in relation to Work Experience, Internships and Vocational Placements:

Fair Work Types of Employees:

Department of Employment, Small Business and Training – Apprenticeships and Traineeships:


Gold Coast Education and Training Network Inc ABN 35 036 042 606 trading as Study Gold Coast (Study Gold Coast) have provided this material on the Gold Coast Student Jobs Platform located at as a free resource for employers or others (Users) to use.

Users of the material do not become clients of, or form any type of relationship with, Study Gold Coast until such time as Study Gold Coast is formally engaged for this purpose.

The information contained in this material is correct as at 15 October 2020 and is subject to change. The material provides a broad overview of types of arrangements but does not provide a comprehensive or complete overview of all matters related to the topic.

The material provided does not constitute advice. It is the responsibility of Users to seek their own independent professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances (legal or otherwise).

Study Gold Coast does not make any representation or warranty about, and accepts no legal liability whatsoever arising from or connected to, the accuracy, reliability, currency, or completeness of any information in the material provided. Study Gold Coast is not liable for any loss resulting from any action taken or not taken, or reliance made by a User on any information contained in the material provided. It is recommended that Users independently verify any of the information in the materials upon which Users intend to rely.