Student Experience

Find out what students have to say about the Diploma of Professional Practice (DPP).


UNSW IT integrates work and learning

Employers value academic achievements, but they are also looking for graduates with the necessary interpersonal skills to be effective in the workplace.

For UNSW students Rian Wollstein and Bryan Teo, an IT internship as part of their Diploma of Professional Practice has allowed them to build important workplace skills.

Read the full story from UNSW Newsroom.

Shawn PriceShawn Price, UNSW Engineering and DPP graduate

I completed my Diploma of Professional Practice over 2 summer semesters, at the end of my second and third years of University. The soft skills I picked up during the DPP courses really complimented my technical Chemical Engineering courses quite well.

The ‘Introduction to the Workplace’ subject taught me how to write a resume and cover letter that stood out from thousands of other candidates, as well as how to network, ace the interview and group assessment centres. The ‘Global Citizenship’ subject was one of my favorites and really developed my motivation to apply my skills and knowledge in Chemical Engineering in a way that positively impacted the world. ‘Introduction to Leadership’ was a great course that allowed me to learn more about leadership and my ability to lead.

I had to complete two internships for the Diploma courses ‘Professional Experience’ and ‘Professional Placement’. My first internship as SYRIOPS was an unpaid placement where I worked on developing products that reduced fuel consumption in cars. I was luckily enough to receive the DPP award of $2000 to assist me with completing this unpaid internship.

It was from completing this first placement and other DPP courses that allowed me to get my foot in the door of a multinational company called Unilever. Halfway through the DPP, the courses I had completed had made me explore companies whose values aligned with my own personality and build my network through completing ‘information interviews’ with professionals in companies I wished to work at. From completing my assignments on Unilever and cold calling Chemical Engineers that worked at Unilever, I was able to impress recruiters at a Careers Expo.

Later that year I completed a 3 month full time internship in the Unilever factory in Victoria and worked on a project to upgrade the heat exchangers that pasteurized the Lipton Ice Tea product. This placement counted towards my Engineering Industrial Training and second DPP Placement simultaneously. During this time I also completed the DPP Capstone course by distance while working full time in Victoria. This was a great way to end the Diploma through reflecting on and writing about topics such as work life balance, office politics, personal branding, intrapreneurship vs entrepreneurship and more.

Looking back now, I’m really glad that I did the DPP. The courses equipped me with useful skills to get my internships and get a great start to my career. I’ve now secured a spot on the Unilever Future Leaders Graduate Program and will begin full time work next year in a three year fast tracked grad program to a management role. Most importantly, the DPP facilitated my personal development into a future leader ready to tackle and solve global problems.

Mick Arrogante, enrolled as a DPP student 2014

Hear from Mick Arrogante, a UNSW computer science and digital media student who completed the Introduction to the Workplace subject and successfully gained an internship placement.  

Damian Shannon, UNSW School of Business and DPP graduate

I am an Indigenous graduate from the UNSW Australian School of Business. During my final year of my degree I decided to enrol in the Diploma of Professional Practice, in conjunction with my studies for a Bachelor of Commerce. 

To be honest I only enrolled in the diploma to maintain a full-time study load status. While my intentions for enrolling in the diploma maybe dubious, the knowledge and self-awareness I developed over the program is unquestionable.

I started the program having a vague idea of what I wanted to achieve in my career and what motivated me. During the program I learnt how to conceptualise my values, interests and career goals. By the end of program I had a clear understanding of my career goals, what motivated me, what I valued and more importantly I learnt the power of reflection.

One of the lecturers summed up this transition when she explained: “At the start of the diploma you’ll have an idea of things you value, but by the end you’ll know why you value something.”

As part of the program, students are required to undertake two work placements. I completed my first placement at AMP spending time with the Organisational Development and Internal Communications teams. The connections and insights I gained from my time at AMP continue to be invaluable.

I was fortunate enough to complete my second placement with John Holland where I am now currently working as a HR graduate.I commenced working at John Holland at the beginning of this year. For my first rotation, I have been working with the National Employee Relations team; a team that provides advisory services across the whole organisation. This allows me to gain exposure to a wide range of matters from disciplinary and performance management to industrial relations.

The past three months have been a huge learning curve. Whilst I never pictured myself working in Employee Relations and dealing with Employment Law matters I am thoroughly enjoying the experience.The key lesson I took away from my experience is don’t simply view university as a place to develop your technical skills. View university as a place where you can develop emotionally and spiritually. See the value of learning and take full advantage of all available opportunities.

Yu – completed DPP 2014

The main reason for why I chose to complete the DPP was because I was looking for a course that would specifically assist me in my professional development. I had nothing to lose by enrolling in a couple of courses and seeing the general feel of what the diploma was all about.

Intro to the workplace enabled me to specifically tailor my resume and learn about effective responses when handling interview questions. I definitely feel that if I hadn’t had enrolled in the DPP then I probably wouldn't have progressed in a lot of my job applications. Progressing to the interview stages also gave me the experience that was required to land me my current role.

The DPP is not a program that is offered by other universities which makes the course unique at UNSW. I would encourage students to take Intro to the Workplace as a Gen Ed and if they feel the need to further broaden their experiences, the rest of the DPP is a good option. Start thinking about it today and ask other students who have completed the DPP courses.

Saksham – completed DPP 2014

I began the DPP in 2012 alongside my Bachelors in Commerce, so that I could get a better idea of the skills needed in the ‘real world’.

Completing the Diploma allowed me to explore professional life in a more focused context. The courses equipped me with the skills to understand how different people operate and how I should work to get ahead in my career.

I would recommend the DPP to any student who is curious about the workplace and looking for the skills needed to become an accomplished professional.