Work experience isn't just something you do at high school. University students can also gain valuable hands-on experience as part of their studies by working in the industry they're interested in.
There are different names attached to the kind of work experience programs you can do while you're at uni. Sometimes it's known as:
- Work placement
- Work experience
- Co-op year (or Cooperative Education)
- Sandwich year
It's also called Industry Based Learning (IBL). IBL is when undergraduate students are given the opportunity to do a full-time paid placement in a particular industry, usually for six to 12 months, in an area that's relevant to their studies. IBL is offered by many universities throughout Victoria.
Finding an IBL position
Most universities have an IBL coordinator who can help you to find a position that's right for you. Sometimes positions are advertised on noticeboards (electronic or otherwise), but your IBL coordinator is the best person to see about finding a position.
You may have to go through a highly competitive application process to secure your IBL placement. Many universities require a good academic record before they'll let you do an IBL.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much will I get paid?
IBL salaries are approximately 70 percent of a graduate wage. There are some exceptions to this in some circumstances.
How long is the placement?
IBL Placements are usually six or 12 months.
Can international students get an IBL placement?
Unfortunately, no. International students can't participate in IBL because of work restrictions on their student visas.
Can I do an IBL placement overseas?
Overseas placements are becoming more popular. Check with your university about IBL exchange opportunities.
Where are placements offered?
IBL placements can be done in a wide range of locations and industries. IBL is offered in both in the government and non-government sectors. Small to large companies and local and international companies also offer IBL. Placements are offered in metropolitan Melbourne and country Victoria areas. You may also be able to secure a place interstate.
The advantages of IBL
Apart from the pay and discipline of going to work everyday, IBL gives you the chance to learn first hand what it's like to work in your chosen field and industry.
You'll probably get some sort of recognition for your placement on your academic transcript. You may also get further part-time work out of it while you finish your studies. You might even end up with a promise of full-time work when you graduate. Some graduate recruitment programs prefer graduates who have done an IBL year.
You'll also have had the chance to develop your networks which could really help you land a great job in the future. It's a great opportunity, so go for it!