Frequently asked questions regarding practical work

Frequently asked questions about the Practical Work requirement in the BE(Hons)

How do I find out about the practical work requirements?

If you're in your first year, you should attend a practical work information session held during the second semester each year. The information is also published both on the faculty website and in the Undergraduate Handbook.

For more information, see Practical Work.

Is my proposed practical work acceptable for my specialisation?

First, check the requirements in the practical work information either online or in the undergraduate handbook. If still unsure then contact your practical work committee academic representative – you can find contact details in the practical work information.

For more information, see Practical Work.

When should I start my practical work?

You should start your practical work after you have completed some study within your allocated specialisation. Many students start to seek work opportunities during the second Semester of Part II to secure an internship in the summer at the end of Part II. Typically, students utilise the two summers at the end of Parts II and III to complete the whole 800 hours, which is roughly equivalent to four months full-time work.

Can I complete my practical work with just one company?

We strongly encourage you to work for two different companies, to give you a wider view of industry and experience different company cultures. Working at multiple different workplaces also embellishes your CV and can show expertise when entering the work force. However, if the company can offer you different types of work and roles to broaden your experiences then it is also acceptable to complete all your hours with one company.

If I work for just one company for all 800 hours, do I have to write a separate report for each period of work?

It is acceptable for multiple employment periods for the same company to be covered by just one report in the end.

  1. If it is continuous work over a period of time in the same role/team— then one reflective appraisal will suffice. A continuous role must include different types of tasks and work and ideally with different clients/projects.
  2. If it is for two separate periods of work in a different role/team- then two reflective appraisals will be required if you submit just one report in the end.

However, if you have already submitted and passed a report for the company in the past and then end up working for the same company again, then you must re-register the company and add the new employment period to basically start the whole process from the beginning.

A separate report needs to be submitted at the end. Although the company/business introduction will be likely the same, a different reflective appraisal detailing the new/different experiences for the same company is required.

Please note that you must provide a separate report for each different employer/company.

Can I add more hours to a report that I have submitted and passed in the past?

No. A report is always the final stage to wrap things up at the end for the hours that you have already worked. It is not encouraged to go back to the same company to do the exact same things with no new experience gained from the previous internship. 

Can I undertake my hours as a Research Assistant?

Yes, you may claim a maximum of up to 400 sub-professional hours if you are involved in research(es) that are in the areas where you are able to apply what you learn from your specialisation. 

Can I undertake my hours from a Summer Research Project at the University of Auckland?

Yes, you can claim a maximum of up to 400 hours under a Summer Research Internship. It must be complying with the requirements of work experience in either the general or sub-professional work experience category, and that a supervisor is willing to sign off on your compliance with work experience.

It is important to note that the report for the Summer Research itself will NOT be accepted as a practical work report. You must produce and submit a proper practical work report by following the required format, to reflect the experience that is related to being an Engineer.

Can I undertake my hours as a Teaching Assistant?

No, jobs as a Teaching Assistant (TA) are not accepted to meet the engineering practical work requirements, regardless the courses, departments, faculties or institutions.

Do I have to do general work over one summer and sub-professional work during the next?

You are required to complete 800 hours of work in total. There are no set timings on when you must complete these hours during your degree. You can carry out general and sub- professional work during the same period of employment with the same company. Your work in each period and category should be recorded through the Practical Work Portal.

Is working for company ‘X’ suitable practical work experience?

It is not the company you work for, but the nature of the work you do which has to comply with the practical work requirements for your specialisation.

Is there any help with job hunting, writing CV’s, interviews etc.?

Yes, we run CV writing and interview workshops throughout the first and second semesters. You can book in for these online through the University Careers Development and Employment Service.

Where can I find information on companies that have employed students in the past?

On our website About Practical Work, please scroll down to the 'Finding an employer' section, where you will find a link to 'View employers'. You will be able to find a list of previous employers including websites, classified by specialisation. You should also attend industry recruitment events in the faculty to network and build contacts.

Do I have to work for one of the companies listed in the database?

No, you can work for any company able to provide suitable practical work experience for you.

Note for Software Engineering students: You should have a balance of remote work experience and physical company. Physical meaning; exposure to a real working environment.

I’ve found a job. What do I have to do to make sure it is accredited as practical work experience?

1. Make sure the work is suitable as practical experience for your specialisation. If not please contact your Practical Work Committee department representative About Practical Work
2. Register your work online in the week after starting your job at the Practical Work Portal
3. Make note of your activities and information you'll need for your Practical Work Report
4. When you finish your work add the employment period and tasks and hours on the Practical Work Portal
5. Request your supervisor to sign off your hours online as soon as possible in case of subsequent company staff change
6. Submit your report on the Practical Work Portal
7. Your work hours will be credited once your report has successfully passed.

What if the person signing off my work is not an engineer?

If it is for your general hours/duties, then the person signing off on your work does not necessarily have to be an engineer.

What if I work for a start-up company with a group of other students?

As long as the normal employee / employer systems are in place and they will be working under the supervision of a mentor, then that is permitted.

What should I do if the company has changed my supervisor and the information registered is now partially inaccurate?

You can enter a different supervisor when adding an employment period. The person who signs off your work and hours online does not have to be the same as the one when you register your company.

Different employment periods for the same company can also have different supervisors.

What should I do if the time and date for my actual work are different from when I did for the company registration?

The dates entered when registering a company and work do not have to be exactly the same as the actual completed work period. It is understandable that changes can happen after the registration. Although the first employment period will automatically be generated after you register the company (please see the menu), it can be deleted if no tasks and hours are added. Then you many add an employment period where you may enter the new dates.

Please do not create a new company registration just because the dates and/or supervisors have changed later.

What should I do if I typed my supervisor’s email address wrong when requesting an online sign off my hours?

You may follow the instructions on the Practical Work Process Manual to cancel the task and delete the employment period, then add another one with the correct supervisor email address. Or you may add a new employment period with the correct email address if you are unable to delete the previous employment period with the wrong email address, and then request your supervisor to sign off your hours.

What should I do if my supervisor can’t sign off my hours online?

If it’s technically impossible or too difficult for your supervisor to sign off your hours online, you may request a pdf employment certificate at for your supervisor to sign. You still should register the tasks and hours online. You may then submit the certificate together with your report with your hours registered online “supervisor sign off pending”.

Requesting an online sign off should always be your first choice. The pdf certificate is reserved as a backup. Try not to leave the supervisor sign off till the last minute before your report submission deadline. Always try to request a sign off as soon as you have completed the job when your supervisor is still available.

Do I have to ask my supervisor to sign off my hours online if I already have a signed certificate?

No, although it is preferred for your supervisor to sign off your hours online for the system to automatically accredit your hours after your report receives a passing grade.

However, if you are transitioning from the old system to the new portal and you already have a certificate signed by your supervisor, you may submit the certificate together with your report. You should still register your hours online, however you just don’t need to request an online sign off from your supervisor again.

Do I still have to upload a pdf certificate if my supervisor has signed off my hours online?

No, only one method of hours signoff is required – either online, or by a certificate.

Where can I download the pdf employment certificate?

The pdf employment certificate is no longer available online for download. You should always first try to request for your supervisor sign off your hours online. The certificate is reserved as a backup method when it is too difficult for your supervisor to sign off your hours online from their email. Please email to request a pdf employment certificate.

Are there any requirements for the files I can upload?

Yes, as only pdf format is accepted. The portal allows you to upload up to five files at one submission, with a maximum size of 12 MB for each file. You will also need to be mindful of the photo and picture sizes in your report.

If I work for 2 companies during one summer, do I have to register them both?

Yes, every company you work for must be registered if the work is to be accepted. You also need to submit a different report for each company.

Can I just upload a report without registering a company?

No, all reports must be related to a registered company and the relevant employment periods, jobs and hours.

What should I do if I’ve been engaged in confidential work and I have a confidentiality agreement with my employer?

Firstly, discuss this with your employer. There may be areas of your work which can be included and areas which can be generally covered as no sensitive data is required to be included in a practical work report – there may be a way forward from there.

If not, it is possible for the person who marks your report to also sign a confidentiality agreement, provided your employer finds this acceptable. To do this please follow the following steps:

  1. Please email to request the NDA form.

  2. Submit a dummy pdf file to the Practical Work Portal during a report intake with a file name such as “Confidential_Report” plus a simple message in the file such as “The real report will be delivered in an agreed alternative channel to the marker”.

    This step is important because a marker is assigned by the Portal only after a report is submitted. And the marker can only post a grade to the Portal when there is a pdf file submitted from you . Also only after the report receives a passing grade at the Portal that your hours can be recognised and added to the final tally.

  3. Contact the marker to sign the NDA and make arrangement with them directly how you would like to deliver your report, to mail a hard copy to them or email it to them, depending on the level of security you prefer. If it’s a hard copy the report can be returned back to you. If it’s via email, you may also consider password protected it.

    If you are unable to find the marker’s contact you may email their name and we will assist with the communication.

Will my employer see the report I write?

No, your reports are only available to the report marker. You employer or supervisor can only have access to the information of your registered tasks and hours when you request for them to sign off on them online. They need to see that information in order to make their comment on your performance and verify the hours you claimed.

What should be included in my practical work report?

The report requirements are included in the practical work experience information both on the faculty website and in the Undergraduate Handbook.

For more information, see Practical Work reports.

How long should my practical work report be?

Your report should provide sufficient detail to meet the criteria published. However, it should not exceed 25 pages.

How many practical work report intakes are there in a year?

There are two report one-week-long intakes each year, one in March and one in August. They correspond the two graduation ceremonies each year that are six months after the report intake. For example, if you plan to attend the September Graduation, you must submit your final practical work report that will let you reach the minimum cumulated 800 hours in total, during the March report intake of the same year. If you wish to attend the May Graduation, then you must submit your last report during the August report intake in the previous year (six months earlier). The actual dates of the report intakes will be published on the website roughly a month in advance at Practical Work Reports. We will also email students active in BE(Hons) (and conjoint) closer to each report intake.

As long as the final report is submitted at least six months before the intended graduation, students have the flexibility to submit their report in any of the report intakes.

Please note that students may register their practical work and get their hours signed off by their supervisor at any time during the year. It is only the submission of the report must take place during the two report intakes and their subsequent re-submission period.

When will I expect to see the grade of my practical work report?

Usually between one and a half to two months since the intake deadline. The dates can be found at Practical Work Reports

What happens if I fail my practical work report, or have technical difficulties to submit my report on time?

Each report intake has a subsequent report re-submission period after the grades are posted. The dates are published at Practical Work Reports. If you pass your revised report submitted during the re-submission period and it’s your final practical work report, you will be able to catch the same graduation six months after the original report intake. The grades for the reports submitted during the re-submission period will be posted within a couple of weeks after it’s submitted.

Students who do not plan to graduate six months after a report intake can use either its subsequent re-submission period to submit the revised report, or the next report intake to do so.

May I start my practical work at Part I?

The short answer is no, for all engineering practical work must be specialisation related. Engineering students usually do their internships after they have studied their specialisation for some time, such as at the end of Part II and III. Most of the engineering internships also require students from certain specialisations as well. It is rather difficult for Part I students to secure a meaningful internship. It is also why Part I students are not given access to the Practical Work Portal where students, their reports and the report markers are all organised according to the engineering specialisations.

However if you are confident that you will get your first choice of specialisation, plus the job offer you get is related to that specialisation (for more information on the practical work requirements please visit Types of Practical Work), you may still start your job first and register your work and hours at the Portal retrospectively after you are allocated to a specialisation and given access to the Portal. It is allowed but NOT encouraged. New Part II students are normally given access to the Portal later in Semester One of their Part II, when some students may begin their job hunting.

May I have a practical work exemption if I have already had industrial experiences before I started BE(Hons) study? 

Previous work experiences can be accepted to meet the practical work requirements, if they are relevant to your specialisation as outlined at Types of practical work.

You are not required to find further new internships after you started your BE(Hons) study at the University of Auckland. Many matured students likely have already done much work in the industry.

Therefore you may register your jobs retrospectively at the Practical Work Portal. Your hours however must be signed off by your previous employer/job supervisor to be verified. You then submit a report to reflect your experiences during a practical work report intake. You do not need to report your entire previous work history. You may select a period of time that can give you at least 800 hours that are related to your current specialisation study, plus if the hours can be signed off by your employer/supervisor.

If you are no longer able to get hold of your previous employer(s), then you will need to find additional work to meet the requirements.

May I do my practical work hours overseas?

Yes, you may complete all or part of your practical work hours with overseas company(s). You need to provide clear company information when registering your work at the Practical Work Portal, such as the company name, physical address and their website in case the Faculty of Engineering needs to further verify your experiences there. At present roughly a third of our BE(Hons) students have overseas practical work experiences.