Professional placements give you as a student, an opportunity to experience through supervised practice, what you have been learning in your course work. Tasks that you may undertake as part of your placement will vary depending on the field of practice, but would include conducting client intake interviews, writing case notes, designing and facilitating community programs and putting together policy submissions. In addition, placements also give you an opportunity to meet, interact with and/or support people who have experienced issues that you have studied.  For example, your placement experience may involve supporting people who have experienced or who have been impacted by substance abuse, mental health issues and domestic or family violence. Professional placements are therefore not only a critical part of the Human Services curriculum but also a highly valued experience that significantly contributes to the development of your professional identity and enables you to engage with different practice frameworks and contexts.


Furthermore, it is also important for you to acknowledge the role of agencies and universities in facilitating placement experiences. Students are considered to be guests at an agency while on placement and the decision to host students is a serious one for an agency. Agency stakeholders and in particular supervisors invest significant time and effort in supporting student learning.  Similarly, university employees put a lot of work into identifying, securing and maintaining appropriate learning experiences and agency relationships.  This behind-the-scenes work is not always apparent, but it is important for you as a student to reflect on the processes that facilitate your individual placement.


This e-resource is aimed at guiding your overall learning and supporting you during your placement. It is important to note that this book is not a textbook. Rather, it is an information resource that will scaffold your learning as you move from the initial stages of your placement to the final few days. Topics covered include those that are immediately relevant to your placement (such as identifying learning activities) as well as hands-on, self-paced activities that will help you reflect on your learnings and develop skills necessary for your career in the human services.  It is however also important to note that entire books have been written about the topics that are covered in the resource.  Therefore, you will find relevant references and readings are provided throughout. If you are interested in a particular topic you are encouraged to refer to the references and readings during your placement and your future study.


In terms of the e-resource structure, the resource is made up of three modules.  The aim is to cover content relevant to the beginning, middle and end of your placement journey. As we work through the modules, we will cover content in the area of learning styles, supervision, values and more.


Further, each module includes topics that you need to Understand, Examine and tasks to Complete. Click on the image below to explore the topics that will be covered in each module.



Note: Scholarly literature and practitioners of different disciplines, often use a variety of terms to describe field learning, industry, or placement experiences. This resource recognises and respects the differences but uses the term placement and/or professional placement/s for consistency and simplicity.

Resource Best Practices

Here are a couple of helpful hints to using this resource:

  • Begin the resource at the Introduction.
  • Navigate through the resource by clicking on the ‘next’ topic in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • Complete each topic, then take a break.

There are videos, readings and activities to complete throughout the resource. Each video, activity or reading are marked with the following icons:


Icon that says video with picture of a play button     Icon that says reading with graphic of a person reading a book    Icon that says activity with icon of a pencil on paper

A note for USQ students

About the assessment items: The assessment tasks are specific to the Human Services Program at University of Southern Queensland. However, the templates take into account the key elements and can be used to inform other placement experiences. Finally, the activities and tasks may differ depending on whether you are in your first or final placement. Your Course Examiner will be able to advise you further.

As a USQ Student, you are expected to work through this resource during each of your placements and upload the assessment activities to the course Study Desk. You are also encouraged to discuss the topics and associated learning activities with your agency and university supervisors during supervision sessions. Additional resources that are relevant to your placement include the following and you are encouraged to access them to ensure that you are well-prepared.

Before you begin placement, you should also have completed the following tasks:




Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Developing Human Services Practitioners: Scaffolding Student Learning in Professional Placements Copyright © 2022 by The University of Southern Queensland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book