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Placement poverty exploits Australian students

Unpaid student placements are in need of serious reform, according to a rent University Accord’s report released last week and reported in the ABC.

If it’s not wage theft, soaring rents and food prices, it’s mandatory work placements, some of which are 1000 hours long.

In some sectors, this is a tactic to get free labour.

Long stretches of unpaid work experience is pushing students into financial stress.

Kate Domenici was excited about helping women and children when she becomes a social worker. Right now, that seems a long way off.

She has a mandatory requirement to complete 1,000 hours — or 10 months — of unpaid placements while simultaneously completing her degree.

Kate’s already dealing with the crippling cost of living, so dropping paid work for an unpaid placement requires financial help from three generations of her family.

“I’ve had to ask my mum, my grandpa, my partner to help me out,” she said. “I’ve had to take almost a year off from uni just to be able to save up for this upcoming placement,” she told the ABC.

Kate said the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider where she did her placement, treated her more like an employee then a student.

After a short induction, the company quickly assigned her 12 young people with disability that she was left to assist on her own, which is illegal.

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