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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.

JCU CareerHub has listings of casual, vacation and graduate opportunities.  All students can access JCU CareerHub using your JCU Username and password (login ID). Each week an automatically generated newsletter will be sent to you with a selection of new opportunities.  To make sure you get the most relevant listings, please ensure you update your Preferences on CareerHub.

JCU Careers and Employability offer a wide range of resources and services to students and recent graduates.  You can book an appointment to get assistance with your placement application, LinkedIn profiles and more.  Head to JCU Careers and Employability to find to explore our resources.

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 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.