Vacation Practice Procedures

Vacation practice is defined as employment doing engineering tasks that are supervised by an engineer. Each student is required to complete 12 weeks (60 days) of Vacation Practice experience prior to graduation. This experience may be in one or more separate periods with one or more employers. Employment in family businesses or supervised by family members is discouraged. Vacation Practice can also be known as Engineering Practice, Vacation Employment or Vac Prac.

The ideal is for students to be placed on a project that is relevant to their discipline that will benefit them by the practical experience they gain and be beneficial to their employer because of the work they can contribute to the project. Organisations usually employ second and third year students from various disciplines for project work that is performed under the guidance of a supervisor.

Points to Consider

Vac Prac positions are usually advertised from March - July for work during the Christmas break. Many of these positions are advertised nationally, especially in the mining and telecommunications areas, so it is advisable not to wait until the last month to start looking - you may miss out.

Organisations work under a specific wage award (government, mining etc.) so there is a large variance in pay.

Vac Prac positions must be in an engineering unit and be supervised by an engineer.

How to get Vacation Practice

While the College of Science and Engineering tries to source employment opportunities for you, it is ultimately your responsibility to look for your own vacation employment. As well as the suggestions below, make sure you look in the Townsville Bulletin Employment pages to see who is employing engineers and if you have any contacts in the Engineering industry either locally or interstate please use them.

Students can register their name and degree at CareerHub which is a database provided by the JCU Careers and Employment Service. To register, use your JCU user name (login ID) and password. CareerHub contains casual, vacation employment and graduate employment opportunities. By registering with CareerHub you can search the CareerHub web site anytime day or night to find the latest job vacancies. Once registered with CareerHub you will also receive an automatically generated newsletter once a week notifying you of the latest additions to CareerHub. The JCU Careers and Employment Service also advertises job vacancies via notice boards and through student publications, Bullsheet and Bedlam.

The College will advertise positions that are made available by the engineering community to students via email. If you are not receiving emails about Vac Prac and think that you should be, please advise us.

What you need to prepare

  • Current Resume
  • Research Company - Before you apply for a position, conduct a web search on the company, research what the company does.
  • Cover Letter - Write a cover letter to send with your CV stating why you are the best person for the position.
  • Interview Preparation - When you are invited for an interview don't forget to prepare thoroughly.
  • The JCU Careers and Employment site also lists a range of excellent services that it provides to JCU students free of charge including checking your completed CV

Once you have secured a position

A Vacation Employment Certificate must be completed and signed by your vacation practice supervisor and you must complete a report when you have finished. A ‘Vacation Employment Certificate' and ‘Instructions' for how to prepare a report can be downloaded below.

What Next?

At the beginning of your next semester of study your report and the signed certificate are to be handed to or emailed to cse.academicservices@jcu.edu.au within 8 weeks of completing your vacation practice. The report will be commented on in writing by a lecturer and you will be notified by email when it is ready to be collected. Although the report is not graded, it presents an excellent opportunity to practice report writing and can be used as an example of your work during graduate employment interviews.