The Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

The best time to prepare for your future career is now – while you’re still studying!

We’ve put together advice and resources specifically for engineering, architecture and IT students to help you develop the skills and knowledge that will help you get a job after uni.

The EAIT Student Employability Team is here to support you - if you would like more help in getting career-ready, book a student consultation, or join us at our Employers on Campus workshops.

Professional Practice and Work Experience

Engaging in professional practice and work experience helps you gain a better understanding of your industry and future career before you graduate.

Organisations are looking for graduates that are ‘work ready’ and ‘employable’.  This means that the graduate has the skills (not just academic) that an employer is looking for and skills that you can apply on the job. Most experience is good experience, even if it’s not directly related to your industry!

Before commencing any professional practice or work experience, it is important to know your rights in the workplace. The following resources from the Fair Work Ombudsman website will be useful:

What is professional practice? 

All UQ students studying a Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)/Master of Engineering and Master of Engineering are required to undertake professional practice as a program milestone.

The professional practice milestone that engineering students must do to be eligible for graduation is classified under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) as a student or vocational placement, rather than work experience. 

Engineering students that have completed the professional practice milestone can also undertake further work experience, provided it meets the requirements outlined in the Education (Work Experience) Act 1996 (Qld)

Go to the professional practice page

What is work experience?

For all other EAIT students undertaking an unpaid placement (i.e. studying information technology, multimedia design or architecture) we use the term work experience.

Work experience is a short-term, unpaid engagement that provides you with industry experience in your field of study, and is usually undertaken before you start your career.

Work experience is regulated under the Education (Work Experience) Act 1996, which specifies that:

  • a student must not be paid for work experience;
  • a student must not receive work experience for more than 30 days in a year;
  • the work experience must finish in the year it starts;
  • the number of work experience students must not exceed the number of full-time employees in the organisation; and
  • the work experience must take place during the placement organisation's ordinary hours.

UQ provides insurance to cover students while they complete these periods of unpaid work experience. If you are a student wishing to undertake work experience and therefore require coverage by the University’s insurance policies, please complete and submit this form for approval prior to starting:

Unpaid Work Experience Registration Form

The benefits of professional practice and work experience

There are many ways that work experience can help boost your employability, including giving you the opportunity to:

  • put all the theory that you have learned throughout your degree into practice;
  • develop key ‘soft skills’ such as mastering teamwork, building communication skills and many more;
  • gain a supervised and structured hands-on experience; and
  • build your network.
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) during professional practice, placements, and work experience

It is important that you are aware of your rights and obligations with regards to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) whilst undertaking professional practice, work experience or placement. Your placement supervisor should run through an induction on the first day of your placement and the induction should cover:

  • OHS procedures
  • Location of fire exits and fire extinguishers, who the fire warden is, emergency evacuation assembly points and emergency procedures
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • First aid officer and first aid procedure
  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Security
  • Outline the organisation's Code of Conduct

If you feel you have not been adequately inducted in OH&S procedures or, if you feel uncomfortable with the activities you are asked to undertake during professional practice, work experience or placement please contact the EAIT Student Employability Team immediately - employability@eait.uq.edu.au. It is important to note that you are not obliged to undertake any activity that you do not feel comfortable undertaking whilst engaging in professional practice, work experience or placement.