As part of your engineering degree you will need to do at least 6 weeks of professional work experience, which most students take on in their Christmas holiday between 3rd and 4th year studies. Using engineering labour hire firms to find you some casual work can give you some extra cash, as well as expose you to different companies and types of work you can end up doing as a graduate engineer.
Some people enjoy working for large companies which have formalised graduate programs and support, and other people enjoy smaller companies where graduates have more access to senior management and more impact on the operational decisions of the company.
By trying out work in different companies, you can get a sense of the size of companies you enjoying working for.
Different types of work
There are many specialties of engineering work. Some engineers work on the planning and project development side of new projects, whilst others work on the day to day operations and maintenance of projects once they are running. Some people prefer working in the more technical aspects of scheduling and planning, where other people prefer the hustle and bustle of building and operating the projects, and the personal interaction of working in management roles.
By trying out work in different types of projects you can get a sense of the types of projects that suit your work style.
Engineering projects are often in rural or remote locations in Australia, although some large scale civil engineering projects occur in cities. Some people like to work in the city-based head offices, while others prefer living in smaller towns in company housing. The heat and conditions of rural work do not suit everyone, and some people find it challenging to work and living in extremely hot weather. The “fly-in fly-out” working configuration combines aspects of the remote living and city living aspects and is another option to try before you commit to a full time job at the end of your degree.
The Christmas holiday is a good time to look for temporary engineering work as many of the engineering staff on projects head on annual leave and firms look to engineering labour hire firms to fill in gaps. Gaining casual work using engineering labour hire firms lets engineering students make connections in industry and gain references for when they head out to seek graduate employment.