Accelerate your career with SWEP

How to gain work experience while studying

Gaining industry experience while studying at university is more important than ever before. Not only does it give you a competitive edge with potential employers, but it’s essential for preparing for your career after graduation.

As a student within the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law (BEL), you have access to the BEL Student Work Experience Program (SWEP), which is designed to complement your degree and help you develop your employability.

SWEP is run by BEL Careers and Employability and provides you with:

  • an opportunity to participate in a recruitment process, similar to those used by many private businesses and larger organisations; and
  • a chance to undertake a four-week placement sourced and facilitated by BEL Careers and Employability.

What are the benefits of work experience through SWEP?

Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics student Mitch Smyth said the best part of SWEP was gaining hands-on industry experience that both aligned with his chosen career pathway and helped him grasp his course work with a broader understanding.

“SWEP created an opportunity for me to gain quality experience in an industry I am strongly interested in, without prior industry exposure,” Mitch said after completing his work experience at The Brokerage, a commercial and residential brokerage firm.

“Completing this work experience during the first year of my degree has given me a greater understanding of the work I’m completing at university. It also improved my employability having real-world experience in a workplace.”

Since completing his work experience at The Brokerage, Mitch has also been offered a part-time job with the company.

“It’s been a very welcoming workplace which has taught me much in the field of mortgage broking and private lending. I’ve learned how to calculate the serviceability of loans as well as how to effectively liaise with clients.”

Mitch Smyth at work
Mitch Smyth at work at The Brokerage

How to create a great resume

SWEP is designed to help students practise and prepare for real-life recruitment processes and job applications. Part of the SWEP recruitment process includes refining and submitting your resume for feedback using VMock – an online resume tool which uses artificial intelligence to help you refine your resume and highlight your core skills to potential employers.

“One of the most valuable things I learned during the SWEP recruitment process was how to create a professional and concise resume,” Mitch said.

“VMock provided resume template for me to use and great feedback on how to structure my resume. I was also given guidance on where to include more detail to make my resume stand out.”

You can access VMock for free anytime, even outside of the program, using your UQ student login details.

V Mock logo

Finding your career passions

Postgraduate business student Hongxin Chen said his SWEP placement fuelled his passion for information systems and data analytics.

“During my time in the Student Work Experience Program, I had the opportunity to shadow the Principal Project Officer in the Queensland Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport and was able to sit in on strategic planning meetings. I gained experience in data analytics as I worked on a financial consulting project which supports tourism business owners and operators,” Hongxin said.

“I found my passion is in this field and I can confirm this is a career I want to be in because the work I’m doing is really interesting and rewarding for me.”

Hongxin said it was also a great opportunity to create industry contacts and apply his key learnings from his Master of Commerce to a real-life work setting.

“The training I did as part of my business analytics course significantly helped me in my internship as I was using the same data analytics platform to examine data and present trends for the project I worked on,” he said.

Gaining practical experience in the workplace is also an excellent opportunity to develop important skills such as communication and working effectively in a team, which are highly sought after by employers.

“As an international student, it was really beneficial to practise my English language skills in a professional environment,” Hongxin said.

“My team were very welcoming and friendly, and I enjoyed experiencing the culture in this workplace. I am so grateful for this opportunity through SWEP.”

Hongxin Chen in the office
Hongxin Chen in his Queensland Government office

Building your career confidence

Students participating receive personalised feedback to maximise their learning outcomes. The experience and knowledge students gain during the program gives them a real advantage when entering the job market.

Bachelor of Business Management student Nina Huage said she really benefitted from the guidance of the BEL Careers and Employability team during each step of the SWEP recruitment process.

“The one-on-one feedback I received was really helpful because I was able to reflect on how I could improve for next time. I feel more confident about going through the recruitment process now, and I think this will be most beneficial for me when I start applying for graduate roles,” she said.

“My experience in SWEP has helped me get a greater understanding of how I can be more valuable in the industry and appeal to potential employers.”

Completing her SWEP placement at international recruitment firm EasySkill, Nina said she learned a lot about the industry and put her university knowledge to good use.

“I gained experience in human resources at a recruitment consulting company, and I really enjoyed learning about this sector,” she said.

“I think the best thing about SWEP is being able to get a sense of what you want to do in your career. You get to know which industries you would like to work in, and you find out which types of jobs best suit you.”

Nina Huang at work
Nina Hauge at work at international recruitment firm, Easy Skill

SWEP helps you gain a competitive edge with potential employers by giving you a taste of working life and a better understanding of professional recruitment processes. If you have little to no industry experience, SWEP allows you to explore your career interests and develop the skills you need to stand out in the job market.

Apply for SWEP

Semester 2, 2023 SWEP applications are now open. Find out more about program and apply today. Applications close on Sunday, 13 August.

How to apply for SWEP


Last updated:
21 July 2023