Stand out to future employers by getting real-world experience while completing your degree
Through UWA's Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placement program, you will go beyond the classroom to apply your learning in real work settings. This program will see you undertake a placement or internship with one of 500+ host organisations across private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
Enrolling in a WIL unit during your studies could be a life-changing experience. Investing time and effort into clarifying and building your future career path while learning is a wise choice. It's never too early to explore your options.
Practise what you learn
Putting what you learn at university into action in a professional setting is a great way to consolidate your learning and gives you a deeper and more authentic understanding of your discipline of study.
We are determined to produce graduates who not only have specific discipline knowledge, skills and understanding, but who have acquired a broader suite of transferrable skills that prepare them for employment in a changing world. WIL units enable you to do exactly this and more. They are academic units for which you get credit and they can be elective or broadening units in your degree.
Learn from industry experts
Through undertaking a WIL placement, you will be mentored, learn from and work with sector-leading professionals. You can connect with and start building your professional contacts and networks. You'll also be exposed to new and diverse perspectives, and gain the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to adapt to new environments.
Improve your employability skills
WIL placements give you the chance to expand your knowledge, identify gaps and enhance and develop skills that employers value such as professionalism, teamwork, problem solving and interpersonal communication techniques in work settings.
Clarify your career direction
Undertaking a WIL placement is a great way to explore future career options. It gives you an opportunity to experience and understand work culture and specific competencies of professions and industries. You'll get to test drive your potential career, find out whether you enjoy the industry and decide whether it's a career path you want to pursue.
Maximise your career prospects
WIL placements are a fantastic way to learn career development strategies and expand your work experience portfolio, both of which boost your résumé, increasing your chance of graduating with employment in your field of study. With new skills, industry experience and a host of new contacts within the sector, you'll have a head start on the jobs market when you graduate. Many host organisations we work with end up hiring their interns following their placement or provide them with valuable references, contacts and guidance.
How the WIL placement program works
The WIL is a great addition to any student's time at university. I would strongly encourage students to seek as many WIL opportunities as possible during their student cycle. Recruiters look for 'on the job training' in a résumé before your certificates and degrees, so take the time to get as much on the job experience as possible.
Internships are a really, really valuable way to figure out where your strengths and interests lie, what you're not so interested in, and to get a sense of what jobs are out there. The workforce is more nuanced than being an accountant or an academic or a nurse, which was hard for me to grasp without any experience in it. It's really helpful for figuring out what you want to learn at uni to take as many out-of-classroom opportunities as possible, as soon as possible.
Bachelor of Science (Mathematics and Statistics, and Philosophy),
Internship with BHP
Resources and support available
Finding your own placement
Look for opportunities everywhere. Within the University, there are multiple resources available 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 searches 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
- Create your profile on UWA UniHub, search for both internships and vacation employment and receive regular updates.
- Attend information sessions and events run by UWA student clubs and your school, and build your professional network, follow up on connections made at events via LinkedIn.
- Set aside time to regularly check job portals and websites such as GradConnection, GradAustralia, WA State Government Internships, and Engineers Australia.
- Register and sign up for opportunity alerts from main job seeker sites, including seek.com.au, jora.com.au, indeed.com.au, careerone.com.au and linkedin.com/jobs.
- Contact your local council – they often offer work experience to students wanting to gain real-life experience working for a local government – for example, you could apply with City of Stirling, City of Melville, City of Gosnells, City of Vincent or City of Albany.
- Be proactive, research small and medium firms you would be interested in working for, take the time to find the right contact (often an internship coordinator in the HR department or, for small companies, a site supervisor). LinkedIn is a great place to start. Reach out via phone to find out if the company might accept an unsolicited application.
- Create a profile and register with company websites for internship opportunity alerts.
- Ask your network of peers, friends, family, academics and tutors for ideas and introductions or contacts.
- Join UWA’s Career Mentor Link program which matches professionals with students, providing an opportunity for students to benefit from the industry knowledge and career experiences of their mentors.
Preparing your résumé and application
The UWA Careers and Employability Centre and its team are your one-stop shop for preparation. Located on campus in Student Central, you can access a wealth of resources to help you build your professional identity. Workshops, videos, plus one-on-one consultations are available to discuss topics related to your résumé, cover letter, internship/job search strategies and applications.
Make sure you access:
- Résumé and cover letter workshops to help prepare you for success in your application. Secure your spot by booking into these sessions via MyUnihub.
- VMock – Online résumé-checking tool providing feedback on the structure of your résumé. 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%, meaning there are huge improvements to be made. Once you have uploaded your résumé to VMock, use the feedback provided to improve your score. Note: free résumé feedback is limited to a max of 10 uploads per year, therefore make all improvements suggested before resubmitting each time. Our Careers team runs workshops on the use of VMock, so make sure you attend one.
- Big Interview – A 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.
Resources for students with a disability or medical condition
Register with UWA’s UniAccess. We can help with:
- guidance on your rights
- sharing access requirements for your disability or medical condition, including whether and how to disclose to potential host supervisors and employers
- guidance on the reasonable adjustments needed for your 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
You could also apply for an internship via Australian Network on Disability’s (AND) 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.
There is also AND’s PACE Mentoring program, which helps bridge the employment gap for jobseekers and students with disability.
You can also discover resources in AND’s Job Seeker’s toolkit.