Understanding Work Experience
Who has to complete work experience and why?
Work experience is a compulsory component of your degree if you are studying:
- Bachelor of Engineering
- Bachelor of Engineering (R&D)
- Bachelor of Software Engineering
Work Experience offers you the opportunity to integrate academic theory and ‘real world’ practice. You will enhance your technical and leadership skills whilst gaining experience in the workforce and insight into professional practice.
For engineering students, the completion of Work Experience is REQUIRED to graduate as an accredited professional.
The difference between work experience and an internship
Work experience is a mandatory requirement of your degree but does not count for any credit. Work experience is organised by YOU!
An internship is full-time engineering work, usually for a period of 4 months or longer. It is optional, assessed and counts for 6-24 units of credit. Internships are organised by CECS Student Services.
The requirements for work experience
You MUST complete the equivalent of 12 weeks full-time work experience (420 hours) outside the University. At least 8 weeks MUST be full-time work experience (280 hours) supervised by a professional in your relevant discipline. The remaining 4 weeks can be completed in either your discipline or any other industry (e.g. hospitality, retail).
You are required to organise work experience yourself and you must submit a 10-15 page report upon the completion of your placement/s.
Managing your Work Experience
Your Work Experience timeline
There are seven key steps involved in the completion of your work experience placement.
BEFORE YOUR PLACEMENT
Step 1: Contact a host organisation and request/apply to complete your work experience placement with them.
Step 2: Organise the details of your placement with your employer, including:
- The logistics of your placement (e.g. the dates and hours you will work).
- A system to record your hours worked.
- Your insurance for the work experience placement. Find out if your employer provides insurance. If they don’t, you will need ANU insurance. You will need to complete the CECS Risk Assessment Form (provided within the ENGN3100 Report Template) and have it approved by the the College.
- For engineering students: make sure to also talk to your employer about the ways you will meet the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competencies during your placement. Remember, you must be supervised by a practicing engineer.
DURING YOUR PLACEMENT
Step 3: Undertake your work experience placement. Make sure your employer records the hours you work.
AFTER YOUR PLACEMENT
Step 4: Formally enrol in a work experience course (ENGN3100, COMP4800, or COMP3560) in the semester in which you intend to complete and submit your work experience report. This is usually the semester immediately following your work experience placement. After enrolment, you will gain access to the Wattle site.
Step 5: Obtain a formal letter of employment for each of your employers (if multiple) detailing the duration of your placement, the nature of your work, and your supervisor’s details (e.g. accredited engineer or not). This letter will need to be included in your work experience report.
Step 6: Write your work experience report. For engineering students, the report should discuss the work completed during your placement and how this is connected to the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competencies. Reports are expected to be 10-15 pages. A template of the report can be found here or on the Wattle site.
Step 7: Submit your work experience report via Wattle, including a copy of your letter of employment. The due date will be posted on the Wattle site. The due date is usually in the final week of the semester.
How to enrol in work experience
To complete your Work Experience placement, you will need to enrol in one of the following courses via ISIS:
- ENGN3100 – Practical Experience (Engineering and Engineering R&D - compulsory)
- COMP4800 – Industry Experience (Software Engineering - compulsory)
- COMP3560 – Advanced Computing R&D Industry Experience (Advanced Computing R&D- optional)
All work experience courses are zero units, and therefore do not attract a course fee.
For further information about these courses, please review the Programs and Courses webpage.
How to secure a placement
By searching for your own work experience opportunities, you are gaining valuable insight into the job application process. Applying for jobs can be tricky, but luckily, there are many resources and support services available to help you find work, develop resumes and cover letters, and practice for interviews.
Review the following information for some helpful hints and resources.
You can search for work experience opportunities in the following ways:
- Company websites
- Networking sessions
- Current opportunities advertised on CECS website
CECS Student Services also has a list of organisations who have hosted work experience students in the past. This list is available here. Remember, you will need to contact the organisation yourself.
Developing resumes and cover letters
Preparing for your interview
Review ANU’s Interviews webpage for pointers to prepare you for your interview.
Book in and practice your interview skills at ANU’s Career Hub. This is a specially designed space, which allows you to practice your interview skills using the latest interview simulation software.
Need Help? Make a booking to chat to a CECS Student Advisor: https://cecsstudentservices.setmore.com/