So, you’ve made it into Engineering! Congratulations. I’m sure you’re enjoying it immensely; what with the neverending assignments, deadlines, tests, and whatnot. The one thing you have to look forward to is the summer holidays, right? Surely it’ll be like high school again, hanging out with your mates and doing literally nothing for weeks.

Nope. Welcome to the real world, where you don’t get to have three months off a year. Oh, no, you’re going to have to think about your practical work hours, because you chose a degree that requires you to work before you can graduate… but in order to work, you usually need a degree… wait, don’t we have a problem here?!

If this is news to you, I hate to be the one to break it to you: As part of your BE(Hons) you are required to complete 800 hours of practical work related to your specialisation. This can be completed over the summers of Part II and III, but you can do it during your first year or part time during semester. You’re allowed to head overseas, or you can stay close to home – there’s plenty of companies all around the world who are hiring students who are bursting with potential, just like yourselves.

How do we find practical work, I hear you ask. Finding roles is pretty easy. Your department will happily forward you emails of job openings at companies, CDES hosts career events, talks, and workshops, and there’s a big list of companies that your fellow Engineers have worked for. If I could tell you how to actually land an internship, well, I wish I knew, too.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that completing these hours is completely on you. While the Engineering faculty and careers services are always there to give advice, in the end you need to be the one who sends applications out, gets interviewed, and gets a job. This can be really stressful when you have to think about all of this in addition to keeping up with coursework, which I can tell you is a LOT more demanding after your first year. Also, start looking early. Some applications close as early as March, and you don’t want to miss out!

I hope what I said hasn’t stressed you out too much. Remember that everyone else is on the same boat as you, so you’ll always have someone to talk to. Keep an eye and ear out for new opportunities, you’ll never know when a new one will come knocking. We can get through this together!

Till next time.