Information for Placement Hosts/Employers

What is Field Placement?

A field placement assists students in relating the theory learned in school, to practice in the field. It is an opportunity for students to gain vital work experience, develop professional contacts within the industry, and enhance their résumé while studying.

Field placement enables each student, through consultation with his or her faculty supervisor, to:

  • Establish personal learning goals and objectives for growth and development.
  • Develop skills and effectively integrate classroom knowledge and apply it in the field.
  • Develop first hand understanding of the operation of a specific industry organization.

The practical aspects of field work, together with the academic studies at Durham College, enables students to better prepare themselves for a career upon graduation. As a working member in a host organization, the student becomes better prepared for professional service in his or her industry.

 Students often bring fresh viewpoints and new ideas and can provide meaningful service to the company.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU), considers that “practical experience is a mode of instruction designed to meet particular program objectives, as are other modes of instruction such as the classroom and laboratory”.

What is co-operative education VS field placement?


Co-operative Education

Field Placements

  • Integration of theory and practice
  • Career exploration and development
  • Progressive skill acquisition
  • Professional socialization
  • Workplace literacy
  • Workforce readiness


  • Application of theory to practice
  • Attainment of professional or work-related competencies
  • Workplace literacy


  • Block placement
  • Structured work-study sequence typically ending with an academic term


  • May be completed in a block or a minimum of one day per week throughout an academic term
  • Defined number of hours per academic term
  • Simulated work activities
  • Virtual work activities



  • Work terms are a minimum of 1 semester (4 months) in length with a minimum 420 hours of work performed



  • Typically shorter in duration
  • Typically occurs during academic semester 


Remuneration and Insurance coverage
  • Students are hired by the organizations for the length of the work term and are covered by company workplace insurances like other contract employees


  • Field Placement students are not required to receive an hourly wage and are not considered employees while on unpaid placements
  • Students are hosted by employers
  • Unpaid field placement students are covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) through the college and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU)


  • Co-operative Education office

  • Faculty and school staff

What are the Host’s benefits of Field Placement?

Becoming a field placement host helps Durham College create the next cohort of job-ready graduates, trained to the high level of accuracy and professionalism demanded by your industry.  This is also an opportunity to meet, train and consider a potential future employee.  Students arrive for their field placement eager to begin work and put their classroom training to good use.  Many students have been subsequently hired by their hosts as this is an ideal “try before you buy” opportunities for employers. Lastly, supervising and mentoring a student will provide them with an unforgettable and meaningful experience, and will ultimately improve the professional standards that you have personally set. 

Are field placements paid?

Field placements give students’ valuable on-the-job training and, as such, are not paid. Transportation to and from the placement is the student’s responsibility. If the placement host is in a position to help cover transportation costs, this can be discussed with the student during the interview process.

What are the responsibilities of the Host agency?

The field placement host is responsible for providing an environment, which will enable the student to develop the basic knowledge, skills and values required for an effective and responsible performance in their industry. 

The responsibilities include:

  •  To designate a contact person who demonstrates the ability to teach the practical application of the company’s function.
  • To provide a contact person to supervise the student. Included in the supervision is an initial meeting with the student to review their learning objectives and to create a plan to accomplish these goals in the placement setting.
  • To ensure appropriate status is maintained for the student. The student is to be considered a ‘student trainee’. It is expected that a distinction will be maintained between the role of a student and an employee.
  • To provide information about policies and procedures concerning safety and security, by completing a health and safety orientation checklist with the student at the start of placement, as well as protecting the privacy of the student’s personal information.
  • To provide the necessary facilities in order that the student may fulfill their duties adequately, these may include training manuals, policy documents, etc.
  • To approve and initial the student’s time sheet at the end of every shift and to confirm the accuracy of the time sheet at the end of the placement.
  • To complete a student evaluation form and review the results and comments with the student at the end of their placement.

How is the student supervised?

Supervision provides the framework within which students examine their own practice and develop professional expertise. Recognizing that each setting, and indeed each student, requires a different style of supervision, some flexibility is necessary. However, uniform standards must be recognized in order to guarantee the quality of learning experiences for our students. 

The following guidelines are suggested: 

  • The supervision reinforces the field placement objectives.
  • The student learning needs and goals are the primary focus of placement supervision.
  • Each student is entitled to sufficient time with company staff for supervision to occur.
  • Supervisory sessions include feedback on student performance and the company contact person’s expectations so that the student has the opportunity to attain the required competencies.

What documentation am I responsible for?

Durham College requires that each field placement host completes three crucial documents

Are students insured and/or covered under WSIB?

The Government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD), pays the cost of workplace injury/disease insurance provided to Student Trainees enrolled in an approved program at Durham College and participating in unpaid work placements.

What if my student gets hurt on placement?

Students must alert their placement supervisor immediately if they become aware of anything that could endanger a placement student’s safety.

Students must report a workplace injury/illness to their placement supervisor immediately and their placement officer within one business day of the occurrence of a work-related injury/illness while at a placement employer agency.

When do field placements occur?

Each college department or school office that offers field placement may have a different start and end date depending on the course set-up and the allotted hours required in order for the student to complete placement. 

The majority of field placements can run in the fall, winter and possibly spring/summer.  Placement hours that must be earned by the student can range from 50 hour 500 hours depending on the program requirements.

How do I evaluate the student(s) performance?

Student performance at the field placement location is measured using the employer evaluation form, which will be provided once placement is solidified with the employer and the student.

Ongoing feedback from the host supervisor and other staff will be the most important evaluation that the student will receive.

The evaluation form will be completed by the supervisor at the placement site. Completed evaluation forms will verify the student performance and highlight any areas that require improvement. The supervisor is encouraged to review the evaluation with the student at the end of the placement term.

Should an issue/problem of a disruptive or severe nature arise it is encouraged that it be brought to the attention of the faculty and/or the Durham College Placement Officer assigned to the student and managed in consultation with Placement Host/supervisor.

Final assessment represents confirmation of information already known to the student. It is important to stress that documentation is necessary as field placement is a course of study and assigned a grade.

Grades are assigned by the College Faculty Advisor, and not by the placement host.

Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns about my student’s performance?

You are encouraged to contact the Placement Officer and/or Faculty Supervisor.

How do I request to host a placement student?

Please fill out our “Host a Placement Student” form and one of our placement coordinators will be in touch within 48 hours.

How do I hire a Durham College graduate?

Please contact our Career Development Office at