About Practical Work
The practical work component of your BE(Hons) gives you the hands-on experience of working with industry.
COVID-19 and Practical Work
If you have already completed all other BE(Hons) and BE(Hons) conjoint requirements but are having difficulty attaining the minimum 800 hours of Practical Work due to COVID-19, please fill in the Application for Partial Exemption from Practical Work Hours form.
What is Practical Work?
ENGGEN 499: Practical Work is a core component of your BE(Hons). You're required to complete 800 hours of Practical Work and complete a formal written report. You’ll generally undertake your Practical Work throughout the summer breaks at the end of Parts II and III.
It is mandatory to complete 800 hours of appropriate practical work to satisfy the requirements of ENGGEN 499. This may comprise general work, sub-professional work, or a combination of both.
The Faculty of Engineering encourages students to take up a combination of sub-professional and general hours as part of their practical work experience. We believe that it will help students develop a deeper understanding of the scope of industry and the nature of the engineering work environment.
- General work: This work allows you to become familiar with engineering processes and trade skills, particularly those appropriate to your specialisation.
- Sub-professional work: This work involves work as a junior engineer with responsibilities, work level and technical expertise that takes advantage of your engineering training to date.
It is preferred that for each separate work period that you are working with a different employer to give you a broader range of work experience. However, multiple employment periods for the same company may be accepted if you have different jobs and tasks for subsequent period of work. Please note that your practical work experience should be related to your particular engineering specialisation.
The Practical Work Portal
All of the following tasks will be conducted through the Practical Work Portal.
- Registering company and employment periods
- Supervisor sign off for tasks and hours
- Practical work report submissions
- Viewing report marks and your accumulated hours tally
All practical work experience must be registered online prior to submitting a related work report.
You should register at the beginning of each period of employment and within the first week from the day you start your practical work experience.
At the end of your employment period you should add tasks-related hours worked. Then request your supervisor to signs off your completed tasks and work hours as soon as possible. You may then submit a practical work report later during any practical work report submission intake during your degree.
You may spread out the report submissions or submit multiple reports during one submission period. Please note that in order to graduate on time, you must have submitted all your work reports and completed 800 hours of Practical work at least 6 months prior to your intended graduation. There are two practical work report submission intakes each year, which are usually in March and in August of each respective year. For example, if you wish to attend the May Graduation then you must have submitted all your work reports, claiming all 800 hours of work experience, by the August report intake of the previous year.
Multiple employment periods for the same company may be covered by one report. Full-time jobs typically require two summers over a period of four months to complete all 800 hours. Part-time jobs will often have more than two periods. All tasks and hours are required to be signed off by your supervisor/s. Please note that different employment periods for the same company may have different supervisors. It is acceptable that the supervisors who eventually sign off your hours may be different from the one when you register the company due to staff change.
If you have submitted and passed a report for one company then take up further work for the same company again, then you must begin the whole process of registration and report submission again by re-registering the company and submitting a different report. In this case, you need to have covered different tasks and types of work from those covered in the previous report.
To clarify, a separate report is required for each different company.
Students may undertake practical work with an overseas company/employer, and in this case the same registration and reporting process apply.
Please note that the hard copy Pdf employment certificate is no longer available online for download. It is reserved as a backup method when it is technically impossible to request your supervisor to sign off your tasks and hours online. You should email email@example.com to request it. You should still log the tasks and hours online under the employment period, but do not request an online sign off if you will later upload a pdf certificate together with your report.
Pdf certificates that have been signed off by a supervisor in the past will continue to be accepted. Please refer to the above paragraph for the same process.
Only one method for the hours sign off is required, either online or by a pdf certificate.
Please read the process manual before starting to use the portal.
Finding an employer
There are several ways to find a suitable position for your Practical Work experience:
- Make sure you have an effective CV and cover letter. Our faculty holds workshops throughout the year and we recommend that you attend them.
- A 'find an employer' link is included on the online Practical Work registration to help you locate potential employers. These companies have employed our students in the past, and can be a good starting point. Select your engineering specialisation and the country you are seeking employment in to view a list of relevant organisations.
- Make use of any industrial contacts you have within your chosen discipline. You may also be able to expand your circles by joining engineering clubs, networks and associations.
- Search the online directory of New Zealand businesses.
- Keep an eye on your University email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our faculty periodically circulates vacancies for students.
- If you have a scholarship or internship with a company, you may be able to complete all your Practical Work with them.
When finding an employer, you may also consider the following:
- Working for a start-up company with a group of students is acceptable as long as normal employer/employee systems are in place and you're working under the supervision of a mentor who can sign off on your work hours.
- It's often not about the company you work for, but the nature of your tasks that have to comply with the practical work requirements for your specialisation — with this in mind, there are companies traditionally outside your specialisation that may be appropriate.
- The companies listed on the Practical Work registration database is just a starting point. You can work for any company provided that there is suitable practical work expereince available.
- A limited number of hours can be claimed from University of Auckland work, as this part of your degree is designed for you to attain physical work experience. You can only claim up to 400 hours from Research Assistant/Summer Research Internship work. Your supervisor must also be willing to sign these hours off as complying work experience. The research report for the Summer Research projects will NOT be accepted as a practical work report. You must follow the practical work report format to produce a proper practical work report.
- We strongly encourage students to work for at least two different companies to be exposed to different work environments and company culture. If you need to work for the same company for multiple periods you must conduct different tasks for different periods.
After you have found a job, please follow these steps:
- Make sure the work is suitable as practical experience for your specialisation. If not please contact your Practical Work Committee department representative listed lower down on the page.
- Register your work online in the week after starting your job at the Practical Work Portal
- Make note of your activities and information you'll need for your Practical Work Report
- When you finish your work add the employment period and tasks and hours on the Practical Work Portal
- Request your supervisor to sign off your hours online as soon as possible in case of subsequent company staff change
- Submit your report on the Practical Work Portal
- Your work hours will be credited once your report has successfully passed
Exemptions to Practical Work
Direct entry into Part II
There are no exemptions given if you have transferred directly into Part II of the BE(Hons), even if you are transferring from a BSc degree.
Direct entry into Part III with NZCE or equivalent
If you are transferring into Part III of the BE(Hons) programme from the NZCE (or equivalent), you must submit a Practical Work report(s) that covers at least the 400 hours of the work you completed during or after your study for the NZCE. These hours should include a minimum of 200 hours sub-professional work experience. You must also provide evidence of the work you've undertook.
Substantial work experience before entering the BE(Hons)
If you have substantial industry experience before entering the BE(Hons) programme, you may be exempt from completing the full 800 hours of practical work. Your industry experience will be accessed by your department to determine its suitability as a substitute for the practical work component. You will need to provide evidence of the work that you have completed through the Practical Work Portal.
Help and advice
CV and interview workshops are held in both the faculty and around University throughout the year. You can also contact CDES to see what career-specific help is available.
Our Employee Liaison Manager can also provide advice, support and direction for your application. Contact Jonathan Culley.
If you are unsure whether or not the work you will be undertaking is suitable for your specialisation, please contact your Practical Work Committee department representative.
Faculty of Engineering Practical Work Committee
- Chair: Dr Vicente Gonzalez
- Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering: Dr Wei Yu and Thomas Loho
- Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering: Dr Conrad Zorn
- Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering: Associate Professor Waleed Abdulla
- Department of Engineering Science
- Department of Mechanical Engineering: Dr Jonathan Stringer