Paid work placements for regional, rural and remote students aim to help address essential worker crisis

The Government's decision to fund paid work placements for uni students in key study areas is needed relief for those in regional, rural and remote areas.
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Charles Darwin University (CDU) has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to bring in paid placements for certain study areas, including in regional and remote areas as it will help northern Australia’s essential worker crisis. 

The benefit of paid placements for regional and remote communities in improving workforce numbers was a key reason that the recommendation was in the University’s submission to the panel developing the University Accord.  

The decision will mean students studying teaching, nursing, midwifery or social work will receive a Commonwealth Prac payment of $319.50 per week during their clinical and professional placement periods.

Prac payment will make a difference

CDU Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Reuben Bolt says this support is a welcome addition, given the financial pressures many students face.

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“One of the major hurdles we find when it comes to student’s completing their studies in crucial areas such as nursing, allied health and teaching is the successful completion of student placements,” Professor Bolt says.

“Many students, particularly those from low socio-economic areas need to pause or give up paid work or even relocate to complete the required placement hours. Some must choose between filling their car with petrol in order to travel to their placements or having enough food for the week.”

“The Commonwealth Government establishing a Prac Payment to support students will help ease cost-of-living pressures for our students and we are incredibly happy that the Government has taken the advice of the Universities Accord,” he says.

Professor Bolt says having paid placements will help encourage students to study these professions, which are much needed in the NT.

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“We know that teachers and health workers are incredibly needed here in the Territory and having paid placements and support for students will hopefully encourage more students to undertake these study pathways,” he says.

“When students undertake work placements, they learn job and social skills, it helps them to decide on what career path they wish to choose and also boosts their chances of getting a job once they finish their studies.”

Further measures still needed to improve equity

The Government payment will come into effect on 1 July 2025 and will be in addition to any income support a student may also receive.

The Australian Universities Accord final report was released in February and contained 47 recommendations for Government to consider. The recommendations focus on creating a long-term plan for the higher education sector to meet Australian’s future skills need. 

“Whilst this Prac Payment is most definitely a great start, we do want to see more study areas included to ensure all students have an equal opportunity to enter their chosen area of the workforce,” Professor Bolt says.  

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