Work Integrated Learning (WIL) activities provide you with the chance to gain industry knowledge, develop work-ready skills and create lasting networks with industry professionals. Whether you undertake WIL as part of your course or as a co-curricular activity, you'll be better equipped to enter the workforce and pursue your goals.
- About WIL
- Finding Opportunities
- Applying for Opportunities
- Preparing for your experience
- Current Opportunities
Having your degree is only the beginning. When hiring, employers also look for a degree of industry experience and work-readiness.
Avoid leaving it to the last minute, and explore the WIL opportunities available to you today so you'll gain experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Why undertake WIL?
- Develop first-hand knowledge and ask questions about the field in which you're interested.
- Gain valuable and transferable skills, discovering the importance of each.
- Be confident in your ability to master new skills.
- Make connections and create a professional network.
- Explore your options and give yourself a taste of what opportunities exist upon graduation.
- Add the experience and referees to your CV and use examples in your next interview.
- Build awareness of the expectations at work and the culture of your industry.
If you're interested in WIL opportunities at UWA, there are many options available.
- For-credit placements/practicums (part of your degree)
- Not-for-credit (co-curricular) work experience
- Volunteering opportunities with Guild Volunteering
- Service learning opportunities through your degree and the McCusker Centre for Citizenship
- Opportunities for work experience on campus
- Case studies, work shadowing, competitions and simulations
- Vacation and internship programs
- Professional placements for accreditation
- Career Mentor Link
- Perth USAsia Centre
When you're ready to search for WIL activities, there are some questions you should ask yourself in preparation:
You can investigate the following areas to identify a suitable option for WIL.
Gain academic credit for pre-approved work placements.
Most practicum units are run during semester time – March to May (Semester 1) and August to October (Semester 2). Some units are offered during the summer school period (January to February) and some offer flexible arrangements. Depending on the discipline area, placements are around 80-200 hours in length.
A list of work integrated learning units are in the UWA Handbook.
Some degrees require work placements to be undertaken for professional accreditation.
Undertake activities alongside your studies.
Industry Research Projects
Co-Operative Education for Enterprise Development (CEED) is a formal program designed to link the abilities and training of undergraduate and postgraduate students with the research and development needs of progressive organisations within the wider community. The CEED program at UWA gives access to any discipline within the University.
iPREPWA is an initiative to support research collaboration between the universities and industries of Western Australia. The program involves interdisciplinary teams of PhD candidates, from all five WA universities, working on a six-week project with an industry partner during their thesis examination period.
Graduate coursework or research students can also undertake the Transdisciplinary Service Learning and Design practicum, working collaboratively on complex issues with demographic, infrastructural, political, cultural and/or economic dimensions that require transdisciplinary solutions. Students work with staff from UWA faculties, the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, and stakeholders in specific institutions or regions, and the methodological focus is on intercultural communication, effective and authentic consultation and transdisciplinary collaboration.
The Perth USAsia Centre hosts a prestigious and high-quality intern program for students with experience in international relations and related fields of study. The program offers experience in research, communication, event and activities related to geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific region.
Options for undertaking work placements overseas:
- Some international organisations (such as Disney Corporation) travel to Perth to recruit students for internships. Information and recruitment sessions are advertised in CareerHub.
- New Colombo Plan, an initiative of the Australian Government aims to raise knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.
- Various agencies offer overseas internships for students. Research these organisations thoroughly before paying any fees or committing to the opportunity.
- For postgraduate students, the University has an agreement with Australian Education Management Group for its PhD Development and Internship Program in China. Information and recruitment sessions are advertised in CareerHub.
Vacation programs and internships
Vacation programs are offered by larger corporations and run over the summer break. Check with your unit coordinator if the experience can be credited towards a unit within your degree prior to commencing a program.
Employers use vacation programs to recruit graduates, so take the opportunity to gain experience and secure a graduate position. Graduate and vacation programs are advertised on CareerHub.
Some for-credit units are offered over the summer and winter breaks, check with the unit coordinator for further information.
Ready to apply?
It's time to check over the final essential details before locking in your activity. For application assistance, the UWA Careers Centre can help.
Your rights and responsibilities
Firstly, you must ensure your experience complies with the Fair Work Act and that you are covered by insurance. You need to take responsibility for your health and safety while undertaking WIL and ensure you check all other requirements before commencing your placement.
- If the work is paid you should be covered by your employer's insurance and any other relevant legislation such as Fair Work Act, Anti-Discrimination, Worker's Compensation, OHS and minimum wage.
- If the work is unpaid, UWA's insurance may cover your placement under the following conditions. To access UWA Insurance for unpaid work experience (not-for-credit), contact your Student Office. If you are undertaking a for-credit practicum, check with your unit coordinator or Faculty Office before proceeding.
Fair Work Act
- An internship can be legally unpaid if the experience is a student placement (ie. part of your degree).
- Not part of a student placement and not paid employment? This activity should be a learning experience, benefit you more than the organisation and only run for a short, pre-agreed period of time. Ensure you understand your rights before signing up.
Occupational health and safety
- Check that a formal health and safety induction will be provided at the beginning of the activity. Be informed and keep safe. In some industries, awareness of OHS is highly regarded.
- Ensure you know and comply with the organisation's conduct and health and safety management processes.
- You should have an appropriate supervisor who is provided by the host organisation.
- Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided to you for the tasks or activities undertaken.
- Do not undertake any task or activity prohibited by UWA or that you feel puts your safety at risk.
- If you feel that your health or safety is being or likely to be comprised, it is imperative that you contact your unit coordinator or the Careers Centre immediately.
Your study visa determines the number of hours you are able to work per week both in semester and outside of term time. Make sure you know your limits. Further information is here.
You may be able to remain in Australia temporarily (up to four years after graduation) and if you meet the requirements set out by Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Further information is here.
For assistance with issues arising from your work placement, contact your unit coordinator or Careers Centre.
Preparing for your experience
It's almost time for you to undertake your WIL opportunity, so take the time to prepare and get the most out of it as possible.
- Undertake the pre-placement modules. Self enrol by logging into LMS and searching by Organisation for “UWA Pre-Placement Program”.
- Check the location of your workplace and plan the journey in advance.
- Enquire about the dress code and whether the company operates a casual Friday.
- Confirm start and finish dates and the expected hours of WIL.
- Ensure that if you are undertaking a practicum unit, you have completed any requirements before you start the placement.
While you're there
To help you gain as much as you can from your experience, you can:
- Make an active and positive contribution to the company or organisation that is providing the opportunity.
- Recognise there are a range of WIL options available and that you may undertake a different kind of activity next time in an attempt to learn slightly different skills.
- Keep a daily journal to explore your experience and consider your strengths, areas for development, proud moments and other aspects of your experience.
- Think about developing a portfolio of work experience or how the activities you complete each day have enhanced your skills and add this to your CV.
- Be proactive while you are there to ensure you gain as much experience as possible.
- Have clear expectations about what you want to achieve – what skills you would like to develop and knowledge you would like to gain.
- Suggest to the host supervisor to work together on a plan or agreement so you are both on the same page from the beginning.
- Have regular meetings/contact with your host supervisor to ensure you are on track and meeting both your expectations and that of your host.
- Request a mentor other than your host supervisor to gain a different perspective.
- Take the opportunity to attend networking and other events/meetings available with your host.
- Make a good impression. Remember your work colleagues from this organisation could be future colleagues in another organisation.
A small selection of internships/work experience is listed below. Check out CareerHub for more opportunities and don't forget to set your CareerHub preferences to be alerted when a position of interest to you is advertised.
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