A core part of a Bachelor of Engineering is the completion of at least 12 weeks of industrial experience. This fulfils one of the requirements of accreditation from Engineers Australia. For Construction Management students there is a requirement to complete 16 weeks of approved industrial experience. Industrial Experience provides an opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on training and experience with real world situations.
Students find and negotiate their own work experience, which is subject to approval by the Faculty Board. There is a range of exciting experiences with industry leaders for you to pursue, many within close proximity to the University and some offering paid positions. Keep an eye and ear out for potential placements; it's never too early to start looking.
In the past, students have worked with local government councils, professional consultancies as well as mining and steel companies, which has involved doing everything from site investigations to designing entire structures. As well as this, UNISS scholars can include the time spent at their industry placement toward their Industrial Experience requirement.
Timing of industrial experience is a personal choice but needs to be completed prior to graduation. Many students opt to complete their placement during semester breaks, any time after their second year of study. Contact your Industrial Experience Coordinator for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
All Engineering degree programs at the University of Newcastle (including Combined degree programs with at least one Engineering degree) are accredited by Engineers Australia (EA) and require participation in a minimum of 12 weeks of approved industrial experience before completion of studies. This experience can be accumulated through a single 12 week block, or a number of shorter periods totalling at least 12 weeks.
The Construction Management degree is accredited by the Australian Institute of Building (AIB), the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS), Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS), Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
If you are undertaking a Construction Management degree, from 2012, you are required to complete 16 weeks of approved industrial experience before commencing your final year of study. This experience can be accumulated through a single 16-week block, or a number of shorter periods totalling at least 16 weeks. It is important that you gain a suitable range of experience including both on-site and office work.
It can be challenging and rewarding to find an appropriate placement. While the University is unable to organise your employment, the Careers Service may be able to assist some students with obtaining opportunities for industrial experience. Some of the services that they provide are:
- The CareerHub, an online portal with discipline related work and work experience opportunities.
- Information about job searching strategies.
- Drop-in and appointment based resume and application checking as well as an interview preparation service.
- An Engineering Register developed and provided by the Newcastle Division of Engineers Australia that lists information about local companies such as contact details, work experience availability and discipline.
To increase your chances of finding the right placement you should also join engineering associations and societies (many of whom offer free student memberships), go to professional networking events and build relationships with the contacts you make, attend career fairs and most importantly, don't give up!
As well as this, Engineers Australia has an Engineering Employment Handbook available on its website for members. As a University of Newcastle engineering student you are eligible to join this organisation for free. According to the EA website "the Handbook contains listings from over 165 organisations and each listing provides the organisations engineering disciplinary area of interest, the type of work available, application methods, direct contact details and closing dates." This would be particularly useful if you're searching for a placement outside the Hunter region.
While there is certainly an advantage to gaining paid employment, there is no requirement for you to undertake paid work. This aspect of your industrial experience is negotiable between yourself and your employer and will have an impact on the type of insurance you receive.
- If you are PAID for your industrial experience, you will be covered by the relevant company's insurance.
- If your industrial experience is UNPAID, you must notify your industrial experience coordinator and complete the Industrial Experience Pre-Approval Form, including the Cover Request section. You will then be covered by the University's Liability and Personal Accident Insurance for Students.
At the end of each block of practical work you must provide your Industrial Experience Co-ordinator with:
- A statement of your experience signed by your employer/s, on an official letterhead from the host organisation;
- A report on the work carried
out for each block of practical work undertaken, confirm your report
length with your industrial experience co-ordinator;
An Industrial Experience Diary maintained for the duration of (all blocks of) the practical work. No standard format is required but there are some suggestions provided below. The Industrial Experience diary must be available for review with the final report.
- A completed Industrial Experience Verification Form.
- Please note that some disciplines, such as chemical engineering, provide students with a log book in place of a diary. Contact your Industrial Experience Coordinator for more information about discipline specific requirements.
You need to submit your completed report to your Industrial Experience Co-ordinators in order to graduate from University. If you hope to graduate at the March/April ceremony you must hand in your completed report by the 31st of January and by the 31st of July for the October ceremony.
Students who are awarded a UNISS scholarship are required to complete more than 12 weeks industry placement as part of their scholarship provisions. If you are a UNISS Scholar, you must also submit the following with your verification documents:
- Industrial Experience Report (coversheet only). These may be collected from School Offices, and must clearly identify you as a 'UNISS Scholar'.
Please note that UNISS Placement reports by both the scholar and the sponsor company must be made available to Industrial Experience Coordinators on request.
If you're enrolled at PSB Singapore you must also submit a pre-approval form which is available, along with a PSB specific cover sheet, through the school office at PSB. As well as this, submission of all materials by students enrolled at PSB should be made to the school office at PSB.
To get the best from a period of industrial training it is essential to develop an enquiring attitude leading to keen observation of what is being done and a suitable curiosity as to why it is being done in that particular manner. Material for the report will be based primarily on work you carried out, but may also include:
- Observation of, and enquiry about, work being done by others
- External sources such as technical literature, training lectures etc
To collect this information you are required to keep a diary. This diary record is not a suitable form for the report, and should contain much more material than will be included in your report. During the period of training many jobs may be carried out so it's usually better to give a general description of the work and confine detailed appraisal to one or two tasks.
Examples of information to be gathered and written in diary
- A general description of the project or projects being undertaken, including names of principal and contractors.
- A general description of the work you did.
- A detailed description of at least one of your major tasks, showing where the task fitted into the project, the form in which you received information, calculations, drawings and, if possible, an evaluation of the final result.
- Description of some features
of special interest in the project or other related projects.
Additional comments may cover:
- Management structure of principal's and/or contractor's organisation
- Work Organisation-Allocation of jobs to people or machines. Control of materials, time and costs.
- Construction equipment-Type and number of major items of construction plant.
- Labour relations and personnel-Skill classification of workers. (Wage structure, incentives, union activity, morale. Training for plant operators, supervisors.)
We have developed a report writing guide that will give you an indication of what is required.
Documents and Forms
If you are preparing to undertake industrial experience, you will need to download and read the Industrial Experience Manual.
When you complete your experience, you will need to complete the Industrial Experience Verification Cover Sheet.
To help assist our students in finding a placement, the Faculty has created brochures that explain industrial experience to employers.
Please pass on these brochures to prospective employers if you are contacting them about a placement.