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FAQ: Virtual work experience

Students will participate in work experience projects using an online collaboration platform and video conference facility while in their schools, homes or a supported community venue, such as a library. Students must be supported by a teachers, parent or other approved adult in their physical location. Students will require access to a computer with internet access, a webcam and headset.

Each year CSIRO receives significantly more applications for work experience than there are places available. In addition to this, many students are unable to participate in their specific area of interest or undertake meaningful work experience due to accessibility issues, or the cost and distance of travel. This has been exaggerated in the COVID-19 context of restricted travel and social distancing.

Virtual work experience allows students to:

  • experience increased choice of work experience by removing travel and geographic constraints, or cost barriers
  • develop STEM skills as well as General Capabilities skills such as teamwork, communication, negotiation and resilience1
  • be exposed to a broader range of real-world work situations, including introducing contemporary ways of working, such as from home.

Students from remote, rural, regional and metropolitan areas can participate. Students must be in either Year 10 or 11 and enrolled in a school in Australia. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate every student who expresses interest as places in the program depend upon the availability of suitable supervisors at certain dates or on certain STEM projects.

Students will participate in work experience projects using an online collaboration platform and video conference facility while in their schools, homes or a supported community venue, such as a library. Students must be supported by a teacher, parent or an approved adult in their physical location.

The Defence Industry Virtual Work Experience pilot will take place over fixed days during school term 2, between May and June 2022. Further opportunities will be available in Terms 3 and 4.

The online collaboration platform and video conference facility CSIRO use is especially designed to ensure only approved people can join the online workspaces. Students have access to their supervisor and to support staff, all of whom have had screening interviews, hold a current Working with Children/Vulnerable People Check (WWCC) for their state or territory. For more information, please refer to CSIRO's Child Safe Policy

Participation is free of charge to all students and there will be no payment made to students to participate. Students may receive a certificate following successful completion of the Virtual Work Experience Program.

All information provided by students, parents and guardians, and schools will be treated confidentially. Some personal data will be collected for the project, including students’ names, school year, home address, date of birth, school and/or personal email addresses, school name and address, and phone numbers. This personal information will only be used by CSIRO Education & Outreach staff to contact the students and to facilitate the students’ participation in the program. Supervisors will not receive access to this information, other than student name. 

Personal data will be stored on secure CSIRO servers in Australia and in locked cabinets on secure premises (if in hard copy). Where third parties are provided with personal data to conduct the pilots (e.g. a third-party IT vendor), they will be required to provide a similarly safe environment.

Any personal data collected will be retained until the end of the program, upon which time the personal information will be treated in accordance with the Commonwealth Archives Act (1983). CSIRO will treat all personal information collected as part of your application in accordance with CSIRO’s general privacy statement.

Please contact [email protected] if you:

  • would like access to any of your personal information we have collected in the application process
  • would like to withdraw your consent at any time to use the information as described above
  • believe that any information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date.

Participation in this program is completely voluntary and students may withdraw at any time by emailing [email protected].

Virtual work experience projects are facilitated through the use of Webex for online communication and SAP Jam, a collaboration platform. Supervisors can be at home or at their normal, current workplace. You will support a group of up to five students who collaborate to complete a STEM task or challenge related to the supervisor's work. The CSIRO Work Experience team assists supervisors to optimise projects for online collaboration with students. 
No, students will not be performing paid work. 

FAQ: Virtual work experience for supervisors

Costs of Working with Children/Vulnerable People checks and training for Defence Industry STEM professionals will be met by the CSIRO. 

CSIRO STEM professionals will need to cover the cost of this check through the Business Unit.

Any equipment that you would like the students to have as part of the project work are met by your business.

Participation in this program is completely voluntary and we understand that unforeseen circumstances can arise. We ask that you seriously consider the commitment prior to taking on students and notify CSIRO's Work Experience team immediately of any changes to the arrangement via email at [email protected]u.

CSIRO takes its duty of care for work experience students very seriously. As per the CSIRO's Child Safe Policy, we ensure that all work experience supervisors have the following clearances:

  • Working with Children/Vulnerable People Check in their state or territory. 

CSIRO's Work Experience team will assist with obtaining the relevant Working with Children Check for your state or territory. 

Supervisors are required to attend a 2-hour child safety training session delivered by the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN).

Prepare a task, or number of tasks, that can be completed virtually and collaboratively by a group of students remotely. A talk from some colleagues can be insightful for students.

Make use of CSIRO's SAP Jam platform to share documents and message with the students. This will involve a short online introduction (30 mins - 1 hour) for CSIRO to demonstrate the features of the platform. 

Meet with the students through Webex each day for approximately 1-hour in the morning and 1-hour in the afternoon. 


If you would like more information regarding virtual work experience, please contact [email protected].


  1. These are the types of skills developed under the Australian Curriculum’s General Capabilities: Information and Communication Technology Capability, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding, and Intercultural Understanding.

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