How to find civil engineering internships in Australia

Want to stand out from the crowd when commencing your civil engineering career? Consider an internship. 

Civil engineering internships

Your civil engineering course will give you a lot: technical skills, an overview of the industry, and the confidence needed to take the first step in your career. But gaining some practical experience via an internship can be really helpful when applying for your first graduate job— and give you a vital taste of the industry.

Here’s all you need to know about landing a civil engineering internship in Australia. 

Why is an engineering internship important?

Civil engineering work experience is very highly regarded by prospective employers. In a sea of graduate resumes, those that have developed their skills via an internship will immediately go to the top of the pile. 

Undertaking an internship shows that you’re committed to your career development and have begun to develop tangible, professional skills that will put you in good stead when starting out in the industry. In an ideal scenario, you may even land a job with the company you intern for—cutting out a lot of job-hunting stress. 

Moreover, an internship can give you an insight into the industry or a particular company, so you can see if you think it will be the right fit for you. 

Can I get a job without an internship in civil engineering?

Some civil engineering companies will accept graduates who haven’t completed an internship. However, undertaking one will give you a much better shot at securing a position in the industry—or a position that you actually want. 

What do interns do in civil engineering?

As a civil engineering intern, you’ll be immersed in a company and get to work on real, meaningful projects alongside experienced engineers—which is one of the quickest ways to build your professional skills and confidence. 

Depending on the company you are placed with, you could be involved in: 

  • Support the planning and delivery of projects
  • Liaising with clients
  • Assisting with bids and proposals

You’ll make connections and build relationships with senior people in the industry, who will provide mentorship and expert advice. Depending on the size of the company, you may intern alongside other students or recent graduates, who will also become valuable peers. 

Many engineering companies offer 12-week internships over summer (from mid-November to mid-February), which can give you the chance to get paid and keep learning while you’re on your semester break from uni. 

How to get a civil engineering internship

Some civil engineering courses offer work-integrated learning as an optional or required component and may help you find an internship position. However, if you’re looking independently, you can apply directly to companies that are advertising civil engineering internships. Check out jobs websites like SEEK and Grad Connection for positions. 

If you’re lucky, you may land a placement with a major construction company, such as Aurecon or John Holland Group, or within a government agency. These can be competitive to secure, though, so it’s worth casting a wide net when applying for internships. You could try broadening your search to include places like local councils, for example. 

There are also companies that can help you secure an internship, but this will be in exchange for a fee. 

How to get your internship application noticed

Look closely at what each organisation or program is asking for, and tailor your application to suit. Aurecon, for example, asks for a resume, cover letter and academic transcript. They also suggest including details about your “work experience, education, volunteering, and any extracurricular activities” that could make you stand out as a candidate. 

Their hiring process involves a few steps. You’ll be asked to undertake an online assessment that includes questions about you and asks you to answer some practical problems, as well as a short video where you can introduce yourself and talk about what excites you about joining the company. It’s worth doing a bit of research on the company website, to find out what their company values are and what they are looking for in an intern, so you can speak to that. 

If your application progresses to the next stage, you’ll be invited for an interview. To prep, think through common questions you might be asked, such as why you’re applying for the position, what you want to achieve in your career, and why you’re passionate about engineering. To build your confidence, you can practise your answers with a friend or a family member—or record yourself running through them. 

Are engineering internships paid?

You should be able to find an engineering internship that is paid. According to Payscale, at the time of publication, the average civil engineering internship salary is $26.42 an hour, but the exact rate may vary from company to company. 

Be sure to enquire about pay expectations early on in the process of securing an internship.  


Want to learn more about what it’s like to be a civil engineer? Read up on that here. Or browse the Open Universities Australia marketplace to see your civil engineering course options with leading universities.


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