Get experience in engineering with an internship

Having hands-on experience in the industry is important for engineering students. It shows your commitment, shows you know what to expect and will give you an opportunities to use your skills in a real life environment. Having relevant experience in engineering will make you more desirable for future employers once you finish your degree.

For engineering students, as for most sectors, it will help you figure out where you want to work and what role you want in the industry. It will be a valuable networking experience, enable you to meet people from the industry and get real-life insights into topics you’ve studied in college.

A lot of engineering degrees incorporate work placement in the industry into the degree, or offer it as an additional year. If yours doesn’t, you should be able to arrange one yourself. You can find internship opportunities from your college's careers service, through individual company websites, placement organisations like AIESEC and on gradireland.comwork experience vacancies and company profiles. Be friendly, pleasantly persistent and display genuine enthusiasm, and doors will open for you.

Why do an internship?

,p>Doing an internship will give you a taste of your future career before you commit to a more permanent position. You can use this time to see what kind of role you want in your future career and what kind of company you want to work for. Doing an internship in engineering is often a great way to look for work. A lot of graduate employers are looking to hire students who do well while on placement, and could even sponsor you through your degree or for further study. You could be offered a job straight away after your internship, or could be fast-tracked through the selection process for a graduate programme if you haven’t finished your degree yet.

Even if a job is not likely after your internship, the skills you have acquired will stand to you.

Think ahead

Deadlines for summer and year-long internships can be as early as Christmas time. Typically deadlines will be between December and February. During the summer, and indeed throughout the year, you can find a batch of internship opportunities on Be careful of ‘open deadlines’ when applying. Some employers may leave open deadlines or extend deadlines if not enough candidates apply, but don’t count on that. Be on the look-out for positions throughout the academic year for internship opportunities.

Start on the front foot When you’re starting in your internship, you might feel nervous and not know what to expect. Keep in mind these tips when you get started:

  • Be punctual and polite
  • Be enthusiastic, ask questions and be willing to learn.
  • Take notes when briefed to avoid having to ask for a second explanation
  • Dress appropriately; if you are unsure ask for the dress code
  • Seek feedback from your colleagues, learn to accept whatever criticisms they have and work on improving. You’re there to learn!
  • Near the end of your internship, try and get a reference from your mentor and maintain contact after the internship ends; it could lead to further opportunities.