Frequently asked questions about work placement

1. How long are the work days during a work placement or clinical training?

The working hours are 40 hours per week, except in clinical training in social services, which is 38 hours per week.

The average work day is seven hours long. Alternatively, the work day can be eight hours if it is more appropriate from the point of view of your learning and/or the operation of the workplace organisation. In this case, the student can be given shorter days or occasional days off, but please note that you cannot accrue the hours so as to have several days off in a row.

If you participate in camps as part of your work placement, your working hours will correspond flexibly to those of a tenured educator. In this case, you will be entitled to a statutory camp counselor’s leave. For example, if you have a work placement in the church organisation, the collective agreement for church employees applies, which entitles you to one-day leave for camps lasting over three days.

2. What if I’m ill during my work placement?

If you become ill during your work placement, please notify your supervisor and the coordinating teacher. In the case of a longer illness, you should also notify your guidance counsellor. You can continue to use student health care services during your work placement.

If your illness lasts for a longer period and you need to re-plan your studies, please contact your guidance counsellor. A long illness may entitle you to an extension of studies, so make sure you keep copies of sick leave certificates until graduation.

3. How can I make up the hours for illness or other medical absences?

The student’s learning aims are taken into account when considering absences. If you have shown good progress towards your learning aims, you may be absent for one day in a 4-week work placement period without having to make up the hours. Correspondingly, two days of absence are permitted in a work placement period of 8–10 weeks.

This also applies to absences due to medical rehabilitation. If you attend prescribed medical rehabilitation, contact your supervising teacher and the workplace in order to arrange the periods of absence.

Ongoing rehabilitation may prevent you from completing a work placement in certain types of workplace environments. If you know that you will be attending rehabilitation, make sure that you check this before the start of the work placement period.

4. Are national holidays taken into account during work placements?

National holidays do not reduce the total number of working hours in a work placement period. If you are not able to attend work during a national holiday or if attending would not be beneficial from the point of view of learning, possible alternative arrangements include e.g.

  • an extensive work practice assignment or a separate learning assignment to make up for the additional leave,
  • a separate learning assignment that benefits the workplace organisation, as agreed with the workplace,
  • working eight-hour days or, in exceptional cases such as during night shifts, longer than eight hours per day.

Students can make planned learning visits as agreed in advance. You can utilise other work placement organisations in your town. The visits must support your attainment of the objectives of the work placement period.

The work placement period can be extended if both the student and the workplace wish to do so. The supervising teacher ensures that the extension is logged in the work placement register.

Any substituting hours or assignments must be agreed with the supervising teacher and the workplace supervisor in advance.

In some workplace environments such as local parishes, national holidays can offer learning opportunities that are not available on regular weekdays. In this case, it would not be appropriate to substitute separate assignments for work on national holidays.

5. Is it possible to fail a work placement period?

In some cases a student may fail the work placement module, for example, if he or she breaches an agreement or the working principles of the workplace organisation.

The student will be given an opportunity to comment before the decision is made. If there is a risk of a student failing the work placement module, the supervisor will contact the teacher, who will then organise an assessment meeting

to determine the reasons and justification of the possible fail and discuss what action could be taken to remedy the situation. The meeting will be attended by the supervisor, the student and the teacher.

At the end of the discussion, the participants agree on a target level the student needs to achieve in order to successfully complete the work placement. The target level will be determined based on the competence assessment criteria of the programme stage and the general assessment criteria for a Fail grade in a work placement module. In addition, an assessment schedule will be agreed.

A follow-up assessment discussion will be organised between the student and the supervisor to review how well the student has achieved the objectives. If the student has not achieved the objectives by that stage, he or she will receive a Fail grade for the work placement module. The teacher records the reasons for the Fail grade in a work placement report form, which has to be signed by the student, the supervisor and the teacher. Follow-up measures will be agreed between the teacher and the student on a case-by-case basis.

6. Where will I eat during work placements?

Students are entitled to meal subsidies during work placements at qualifying restaurants by presenting a valid student card or a Kela meal subsidy card. Read more about the meal subsidy.

Some workplaces provide meal vouchers that entitle you to a staff discount in the workplace restaurant. Individual organisations may also have other arrangements in place. You should check the meal policy of your workplace at the start of your work placement period.

7. How does work placement differ from on-the-job learning?

Placements differ from on-the-job learning in that there are no predetermined learning contents.