SWEP is a free, extracurricular program run by BEL Careers and Employability. It is designed for students who have little or no relevant industry experience to provide you with: 

  • An opportunity to participate in a competitive recruitment process, similar to those used by many private businesses and organisations; and 
  • If successful, the chance to gain an unpaid work experience placement of up to 30 days during the semester break. 

SWEP is open to domestic and international BEL students, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. 

The following sections will outline important SWEP details including key program dates, eligibility criteria, how to apply, the recruitment process, and how work experience placements will be facilitated.

Is SWEP is right for you?

SWEP is an opportunity for students with little or no relevant industry experience to learn about and prepare for real-life competitive recruitment processes, and to gain work experience.

Note that SWEP placements are entry-level and are aimed to provide students with initial skills and experience development. Placements will take place at businesses and organisations of varying sizes.

If you already have considerable industry experience from work, prior internships or work experience placements, you can still participate in the SWEP recruitment process and receive tailored feedback to be better prepared for future job applications.

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Key dates for 2023

Applications for SWEP commonly open four to six weeks before the start of the semester and normally close in Week 3.

The program dates for 2023 Semester 1 are:

  • applications open: Monday, 30 January 2023
  • applications close: Sunday, 12 March 2023

We recommend you register for, and attend, one of our SWEP Information Sessions, where we will outline the program process and participation requirements and will answer any questions you may have.

Apply now

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Eligibility criteria

SWEP is open to domestic and international students, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. To be eligible to apply for SWEP: 

  • you must be a current UQ BEL student;  
  • not be in your final semester at UQ; and  
  • if you are an undergraduate student, not be in your first semester.  

Students may participate in SWEP a maximum of two times. If you have previously participated in SWEP, you can apply again only if you meet the above eligibility criteria and: 

  • have not previously completed a SWEP work experience placement, i.e., you only participated in the recruitment process component of the program 
  • have not turned down a SWEP placement that was offered to you. 

Please note that all of the SWEP recruitment process tasks are administered online, i.e., you can participate if you are interstate or overseas. 

Students who successfully pass the recruitment process component of the program may obtain an unpaid work experience placement. Please see further details and requirements below. 

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Applying to SWEP

Before you apply, make sure you thoroughly read the information contained on this page as well as the program overview. We also recommend that you attend a SWEP Information Session, which will outline the program process and the participation requirements, and will answer any questions you may have.   

To apply: 

  • You must complete an application form on StudentHub before the closing date.

  • As part of the application, you will also be required to upload a cover letter or brief video introduction. 

Note that you only need to submit a cover letter or a video, not both.  
Your cover letter or video must respond to the following four questions. You do not need to explicitly state these questions, just make sure you provide information in response to them: 

  1. Why are you applying for SWEP and how do you believe SWEP will benefit your employability and career development? 

  2. Demonstrate, with specific examples, what skills, knowledge, experiences and/or qualities you could bring to the program. 

  3. What career are you hoping to pursue when you graduate? Explain your motivation and what research you have done so far to demonstrate your commitment to this career. 

  4. Tell us of a time when you demonstrated excellent teamwork skills. Please use the STAR method to address this question. 

Please make sure to follow the guidance provided in the SWEP Application and Recruitment Process Guide for your cover letter or video. We also recommend you complete our Employability Essentials online cover letter module for advice on how to write a cover letter. 

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SWEP recruitment process

SWEP is built around a competitive recruitment process that mirrors those commonly used by many Australian companies. The process consists of multiple assessable tasks to provide a varied, fair and objective selection process. The recruitment process: 

  • Provides you with practical experience and allows you to make mistakes in a safe learning environment
  • Includes the provision of both group and individual feedback for you to learn and improve; and
  • Is based on set assessment criteria against which you will demonstrate strengths and areas of further development.

The result of your performance in the recruitment process will determine your eligibility to participate in a SWEP work experience placement (see below). Regardless of your score, participation in the SWEP recruitment process will help you prepare for the real-life recruitment process in the competitive job market. 

Timing of recruitment tasks  

Following the close of SWEP applications, all participating students will be invited to complete the following recruitment tasks over a six to eight week period: 

  • Complete an online psychometric test
  • Upgrade your resume with VMock – our advanced AI smart resume checker
  • Record a brief video interview and presentation
  • Complete a free virtual internship (a professional experience that you can immediately add to your resume) and communicate the value of this experience to a potential employer.

These tasks can be completed in your own time while meeting set deadlines. As in a real-life recruitment process, if you miss a deadline, you will be withdrawn from the program. 

The following graph provides approximate times for the release and due dates of the recruitment tasks. Please note that these times are indicative only. Make sure you check all program communications to understand when each task is due. 

timeline graph

As SWEP is a competitive program, BEL Careers and Employability staff cannot assist you regarding your application or recruitment tasks. We have, however, prepared the following resources to assist you with the completion of the above tasks: 

Results of the recruitment process 

Following the recruitment process, all participating students, regardless of outcome, will receive feedback in a group Debrief Session as well as written tailored feedback on their individual performance.  

Results of the recruitment process will be released around Week 11 of the semester. To successfully pass SWEP, a final weighted score of 75% is needed. Possible results are: 

  • Successful student: A top-scoring student from their degree program. The student has successfully passed the SWEP recruitment process and is eligible for a work experience placement.
  • Waitlist student: A student who has successfully passed the SWEP recruitment process and will be considered for additional work experience placements as they become available (see below).
  • Unsuccessful student: A student who has not passed the SWEP recruitment process. We will encourage the student to access other services offered by BEL Careers and Employability to develop their employability and support future SWEP or other program applications. An unsuccessful student can reapply to SWEP in the following semester if they meet the eligibility criteria (see above).
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While the recruitment process is highly useful for boosting your employability, most students enter SWEP to also achieve a work experience placement. 

Students who have successfully passed the SWEP recruitment process may obtain an unpaid work experience placement. It is important to note that we cannot guarantee that every successful student will be offered a placement. The number of placements in the Brisbane area is inherently limited, subject to business requirements and has recently been significantly affected by COVID-19 restrictions impacting workplaces. However, BEL Careers and Employability will endeavour to identify, source and secure as many placement opportunities as possible. 

The top-scoring successful students from each degree program will be placed first, followed by waitlist students on a case-by-case basis depending on the availability of opportunities. This process aims to reflect real recruitment practices, where candidates are competing with similar applicants for a role.   

 Additional placement information and requirements 

Please note the following with regards to SWEP work experience placements: 

  • Placements occur during the semester break following the SWEP recruitment process (i.e., Winter for Semester 1 and Summer for Semester 2). They are typically full-time over four consecutive weeks, however, depending on business requirements and your availability, some placements may continue on a part-time basis during the following semester. It is generally not possible to defer a SWEP placement to a later semester. 

  • Placements typically occur in Brisbane and the surrounding area and usually require students to physically attend the host organisation’s workplace. Recent COVID-19 related physical distancing restrictions have on occasion impacted businesses’ ability to host students in-person, in which case remote placements may be facilitated. 

  • While we aim to match the host company and placement requirements with a student’s degree program and career interests, the exact nature of available placement opportunities varies, and we encourage students to maintain some degree of flexibility in evaluating the utility of an experience opportunity for their professional development. For example, a student interested in finance may undertake a broader research and analysis or benchmarking project to further their research, analysis, presentation and broader industry experience.  

  • The specific tasks that students will perform at the host organisation will vary from placement to placement. SWEP placements are generally geared towards entry-level experiences and skills development opportunities. Some placements may introduce students to a broad range of tasks, others may be more focused on specific project-based work. You should also expect placements to take place at organisations of varying sizes, not just at the better known larger businesses and corporations. 

  • SWEP work experience placements are generally unpaid and are governed by the Queensland Education (Work Experience) Act 1996 as well as UQ’s Policies and Procedures. Prior to commencing a placement, students and host employers must complete the Unpaid Work Experience Registration Form to obtain formal approval for the placement by UQ. As per the legislation, UQ can only approve up to 30 days of unpaid work experience per student per calendar year. If you have already completed or committed to other work experience in the relevant calendar year, note that you must have 20 days of work experience left to be eligible to go on a SWEP placement. 

Please refer to the SWEP Work Experience Placement Guide for more detailed information on:  

  • the industries and organisations that are involved with SWEP
  • our process for sourcing and facilitating placement opportunities, including completing the Unpaid Work Experience Registration Form
  • UQ’s expectations of you while on placement.

If you have any questions about SWEP placements or the SWEP program, please contact BEL Careers and Employability

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