Professional Engineering Practicum and Portfolio
If you are enrolled in the Master of Professional Engineering, then you must complete relevant, discipline-related work experience as part of your course requirements.
If you are enrolled in the Engineering Science Major and intend to continue into the Master of Professional Engineering, then you can also start relevant, discipline-related work experience during your undergraduate studies.
The primary aims of the professional practicum are:
- to provide you with important insights into the work of engineers
- to allow you to apply theory in practice
- to help you develop generic competencies that will assist you in your future career
You will not be able to graduate until this work experience is completed and a Professional Engineering Portfolio/Report has been submitted and assessed as acceptable.
You will be required to enrol in the unit GENG5010 Professional Engineering Portfolio no later than the final semester of your studies and you will be required to submit your portfolio as a part of the unit requirement no later than on the last day of the corresponding teaching period. Please see the unit requirements as outlined in the Handbook - GENG5010 Professional Engineering Portfolio.
What is Professional Practicum?
Professional Practicum consists of at least 12 weeks, or 450 hours, of relevant practical work experience. You are responsible for organising your own work experiences and accruing the required number of professional practicum hours. This expectation requires you to demonstrate initiative and a proactive demeanour, which are identified by Engineers Australia as necessary attributes of professional engineers.
As part of the practicum you are expected to:
- contact and liaise with employers to organise work experience
- perform satisfactorily as assessed by your host supervisor
- develop an understanding of future role as a professional engineer
- reflect on work experiences and articulate your fulfilment of the 16 mandatory Elements of Competency outlined in the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for Professional Engineer
- prepare a clear and concise portfolio/report in English
Professional engineering placement
At least 300 hours of your practicum must comprise of placement(s) that are relevant to the discipline/ specialisation you are studying under the supervision of an accredited engineer allowing you to apply your technical engineering science knowledge.
Up to 150 hours of your professional practicum can be accrued by undertaking other suitable engineering activities or in a non-engineering work environment under certain conditions. These are educational, professional development or service activities that help to develop your understanding of a particular aspect of the engineering profession.
- Engineering-related professional development activities
- Engineering-related work or volunteering experiences
- Non-engineering work and volunteering experiences
For a full list, examples and evidence required, please refer to your Engineering Professional Practicum Guideline.
Practicum Experiences Process Explained
So that we can better support you on your Practicum journey, you will be required to register your details and details of when you intend to undertake your professional engineering placement. You will receive a welcome email and a link to a Registration Form in our placement portal SoniaOnline.
SoniaOnline is a one stop placement portal. The portal is used to manage all aspects of your one registration with the WIL placement team and your placement(s). You can access all the procedural requirements, forms and other useful templates and resources.
- Sourcing a placement
You are responsible for organising your own work experiences and accruing the required number of professional practicum hours. Look for opportunities everywhere. We have multiple resources and services available at UWA to help you build the skills needed to find and secure opportunities. We encourage you to access these resources to grow your industry knowledge and connections. Students who find success are often taking part in multiple internship/job search and work related activities including:
- networking through joining student societies and professional association bodies
- attending events, speaking with lecturers, industry representatives and classmates
- attending conferences
- taking part in ongoing learning opportunities
- Practicum Experiences Approval Process
It is important you ensure any activities and experiences you undertake and intend to include in your Professional Engineering Portfolio are suitable.
Professional placement approval process
It is a requirement of your course to have your Professional Engineering Placement proposal reviewed and approved BEFORE you commence your placement. Once you have secured a placement, please submit your Engineering Placement Proposal in SoniaOnline. The school’s academic staff will review the proposal to ensure the placement is suitable and meets the learning outcomes of your course.
Other experiences approval process
Please submit any activities not listed in the Engineering Professional Practicum Guideline for review and approval by the school’s academic staff via completing a MPE Practicum – Other Experiences Proposal Form in SoniaOnline. You will be asked to include a clear explanation as to why the activity should be considered a suitable practicum experience and it will be evaluated on individual merit.
Recognition of prior placement
If you have undertaken a placement prior to starting your MPE studies at UWA, you have an opportunity to get the placement details reviewed by the school’s academics and seek a recognition for your previous placement(s). Please submit your MPE Practicum – Recognition of Prior Placement Form in SoniaOnline.
- Before your placement
In preparation for your placement, you will be required to complete UWA’s Pre-placement program via LMS. The program was designed to help you make the most of your placement. The three modules will provide you with information and guidance on health and safety in a workplace, expectations and understanding of professional behaviour, feedback and performance. You can complete the modules at any time, but no later than BEFORE the commencement of your placement. You will be asked to upload the Certificate of completion in SoniaOnline
Depending on whether you undertake a paid or unpaid placement, you and your host organisation might be required to complete further paperwork.
- During your placement
Once on your placement, you will be required to complete a check-in survey after completing 30 hours, then after completing 60 hours via a form in SoniaOnline. These surveys are an opportunity for us to check how your placement is progressing. We check with your host supervisor as well.
Important: In case of any incidents, accidents or concerns, please do not wait for the survey and get in touch with your placement coordinator as soon as possible.
Keep a Journal of your Placement Experiences
It is strongly recommended that you keep a journal of your placement experience(s), which you can then refer to when working on your portfolio. Note down any information that will help you with the required content of the portfolio, including important dates, names of the people that you deal with, points of interest, personal observations of the work place, and your roles and activities. The journal should also describe how the experience has contributed to your development as a professional engineer, including the attainment of the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard and any lessons learnt. The journal and your notes will be instrumental when compiling your Professional Engineering Portfolio/Report.
- After your placement
You will be required to ask your host supervisor to complete a Certificate of work performed. A separate Certificate of Work Performed must be completed for each placement and included in your Portfolio/Report. You will be also required to complete a final survey via a form in SoniaOnline.
After you complete all required practicum hours, ensure you enrol in GENG5010 Professional Engineering Portfolio and complete all requirements as outline in the LMS. You will be enrolled into the unit automatically in your last semester of your studies. For an earlier enrolment, please liaise with the Student Advising Office.
- Practicum Resources
Preparing for your experiences
The Careers and Employability Centre and their team are your one stop shop for preparation. Located on campus in Student Central, access a wealth of resources to help you build your professional engineering identity. Workshops, videos, plus one-on-one consultations are available to discuss topics related to your resume, cover letter, internship/job search strategies and applications.
Make sure you access:
- Resume and cover letter workshops - to help prepare you for success in your application. Book in to these sessions via MyUnihub to secure your spot.
- VMock - online resume checking tool providing feedback on the structure of your resume. This tool is crucial for students considering companies who vet applications using algorithms. Your aim is to achieve a score of 75% or above before submitting to organisations. Most students will start on 25-30% - there are huge improvements to be made! Once you have uploaded to VMock use the feedback provided to you to improve your score. Note: Free resume feedback is limited to a max of 10 uploads per year, therefore make all improvements suggested before resubmitting each time. Careers team run workshops on the use of VMock so make sure you attend one. .
- Big Interview – valuable online resource to assist you in preparing for an interview including hands-on practice and simulation with mock interviews tailored to your specific industry, job and experience level.
Head to My UniHub to see and access all the services and resources and to book into workshops and individual appointments.
Resources for students with a disability or medical condition
- Studiosity - an online service accessible to UWA students. Students can upload their resume or cover letter for feedback on structure and formatting. The service offers live personalised, online assistance from trained specialists, free for all enrolled students, 24/7.
- LinkedIn Learning - a global online platform for developing or enhancing your professional and personal skills and employability.
Register with UWA’s UniAccess. We can help with:
- guidance on your rights disclosing your disability or medical condition including whether and how to disclose to potential host supervisors and employers
- guidance on the reasonable adjustments needed for you placement
- support during your placement and to ensure you settle in to your new role
- direct referrals to UWA services and programs that may also benefit you
Apply for an internship via Australian Network on Disability’s Stepping Into program. AND’s Stepping into program is a paid internship scheme that matches talented university students with disability with roles in leading Australian Businesses.
Join AND’s PACE Mentoring program that helps bridge employment gap for jobseekers and students with disability.
Discover resources in AND’s Job Seeker’s toolkit.
What is Professional Engineering Portfolio?
As a compulsory requirement of your Master of Professional Engineering you will be required to complete the unit GENG5010 Professional Engineering Portfolio no later than the final semester of your studies. You will be required to submit your portfolio as the unit requirement no later than on the last day of week 12 of the teaching period. Detailed unit requirements are outlined in the Handbook - GENG5010 Professional Engineering Portfolio.
The portfolio requires you to demonstrate:
- successful completion of at least 450 hours of suitable professional engineering placement experience, and
- demonstration of the attainment of the 16 Elements of Competency outlined in the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for Professional Engineer
You can accrue hours towards the placement at any time, including during your undergraduate studies. You will not be able to graduate until this work experience is completed and a portfolio has been submitted and assessed as satisfactory. While your portfolio is due in your final semester of study in the MPE, you are strongly encouraged to start working on it as early as possible.