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School of Mechanical Engineering
SA 5005



Work Experience

for Mechanical, Mechatronic and Aerospace Engineering Students 2005


This page and the highlighted links provide information that may assist mechanical, mechatronic and aerospace engineering students in obtaining practical work experience. From here you may also download the appropriate forms and access an employer data base that may assist you in finding a placement. The following paragraphs detail:

General information and requirements

Practical Work Experience is an aspect of the course that the Faculty of Engineering and the Institution of Engineers Australia value very highly. It enables students to appreciate the nature of the work environment and the view of a range of employees their attitudes towards work and working conditions, unions, engineers and management. Students will learn about the company structure and operation, appreciate the responsibilities of engineers at various levels, and be exposed to a far greater diversity and scale of plant equipment than we can provide at the University.

As set out in the University Calendar, all students must have completed 12 weeks of approved work experience before they can graduate. So that your claim may be processed and recognised within good time, completed submissions must be lodged with the Faculty Office at least 3 months prior to graduation.

Several categories of work experience have been identified, and it is important that you gain as much as you can from each area. Note that to obtain acceptance, the work must be full-time and extend over a minimum continuous period of three weeks. Up to 6 weeks of general work experience may be included in the 12 week period. The following paragraphs detail the typical duties that you would be exposed to for engineering work, general work and also highlight some examples of what work would be unsuitable.

Engineering work experience

This work must be undertaken in an engineering environment, under the supervision of an engineer, and may comprise activities such as:

  • Project management and planning
  • Analysis,
  • Design, drafting,
  • Construction,
  • Manufacture,
  • Installation,
  • Operation,
  • Maintenance,
  • Testing or repair of Engineering works, facilities, equipment or software.

General work experience

The following areas of work are not appropriate for engineering experience, but may be used for general work experience:

  • Shop assistant with a supervisory role
  • Process worker on an assembly line
  • Installation of garden watering systems
  • Non-engineering computer software development
  • Tradespersons assistant (eg plumber, electrician, mechanic)
  • Youth camp leader
  • Data Processing

Unsuitable work experience

The following areas of work are not generally appropriate for either engineering or general work experience:

  • Shop assistant (non-supervisory)
  • Bar, hotel or restaurant work
  • Fruit picking or general gardening
  • Part-time work
  • Shelf stacker in a supermarket
  • Delivery person/courier
  • Painting and decorating

If you require any clarification regarding these definitions please contact the work experience co-ordinator. The contract details are provided at the foot of the page.

A suggested work experience program

In your first period of employment, when you are still relatively unskilled in engineering at the end of your first year, look for general process or labouring work, with the aim of acquainting yourself with basic labour relations. At the end of your second year, familiarisation with general trade or construction activities, eg as a tradespersons assistant would be appropriate. Prior to entering final year you should attempt to obtain work corresponding to a technician or engineering assistant level, eg assembly, manufacture, maintenance, testing of equipment or simple design work under engineering supervision.

Insurance cover requirements

If you are receiving payment for their work experience, you should legally be covered by the employers workers compensation insurance. If you are unsure ask and check, especially if your work is conducted overseas where different laws may apply! If a student is performing non-paid duties, then they will be covered by the Universitys insurance. The company may request to see a copy of the Universitys insurance to ensure that you are covered. Click here to download a copy of the insurance certificate that is valid for 2005 only.

Your reporting requirements

To demonstrate to the School that you have acceptably completed your duties, you must provide written details of your experience, relevance of experience which must be countersigned by an acceptable employer representative. This information must be provided by completing a Certificate of Practical Experience proforma that is available to download from this site, by clicking here. Reports submitted to the Faculty of Engineering for the acceptance of work experience must be typed or written neatly in an acceptable form of English prose. Forms claiming engineering work experience approval should be certified by a qualified engineer, NOT an HR manager etc as they may not be accepted. The name and official designation of the engineer must also be legibly written on the application.


Before your claim can be processed, please ensure that you have:

  • Secured your practical work experience,
  • Completed the duties that were expected of you and to the satisfaction of your supervisor,
  • Completed the Work Experience Form and had it signed by your supervisor
  • Handed your completed forms to the faculty office

Some Practical Assistance

Whilst the onus still remains on you to apply and obtain practical work experience, to assist Mechanical, Mechatronic and Aerospace students in securing work experience, we have compiled a register of companies (including comprehensive descriptions & contact details) that you may wish to consider as a first point of contact. Click here to access the data base, but please note that you must be an enrolled student accessing this intra-net from a recognised access point.

The Institute of Engineers also provides advice and produces a booklet on an annual basis containing information on how to apply for, and a list of employers who offer practical work experience (this booklet is available from IEAust and is free to Student Members of the Institution).

We suggest that you make arrangements with your chosen employer as early as possible to avoid disappointment remember that students from other Schools within our Faculty and other SA Institutions may be competing for the same positions.

Work experience co-ordinator

The School of Mechanical Engineering Work Experience Co-ordinator is Dr Colin Kestell who can be contacted via email at or in his office, S227, by appointment.