Everything to know about internships

An internship is a paid or unpaid professional learning opportunity that offers valuable insight and experience in a chosen area of study or career pathway. Internships often are under contract or employment agreement, often for a fixed period of time. and do not guarantee a job offer within a company. The internship, however, does have the ability to lead into career advancement opportunities either within the company or elsewhere. Read this Business Kitz blog to find out more about internships.

What is an internship?

An internship allows anyone, either studying or not, to gain experience and development within the industry whilst obtaining new skills. As an employer, this also offers the opportunity to gain fresh insight and ideas, teach and develop key skills, and build a potential new wave of future innovative and capable employees.

According to the Fair Work Act 2009, an unpaid internship is legal if it classifies as a vocational placement or there is not an existing employment relationship. The requirements of a vocational placement are defined within section 12 of the Fair Work Act 2009 which include being “undertaken with an employer for which a person is not entitled to be paid any remuneration, a requirement of an education or training course and is authorised under a law or an administrative arrangement of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory”. 

Should I pursue an internship?

The following are reasons as to why aspiring interns may seek job opportunities to expand their skillset within their desired field:

  • You are able to actively engage and experience the day-to-day operations and routine within an established workplace within the chosen field.
  • Internships develop and improve your experience to be included within your resume to increase employability.
  • Allows the opportunity to determine your specific interest and dislikes within a particular field.
  • Allows you to focus on your personal development without the pressure of performing and meeting the objectives on behalf of the company.
  • As a student, it allows the opportunity to register within your tertiary institution to receive course credit for your working hours. It would be beneficial to inquire within your institution, as this opportunity is only available within particular subjects. 
  • Allows you to create valuable industry connections and networks within the industry to receive references and endorsements for future job applications. 
  • Provides you with the opportunity to put into practice the skills gained within your tertiary studies. 

What is the difference between a job and an internship?

An internship is a temporary agreement between a company and an individual that typically lasts from several months to a year. The primary objective of an internship is to increase the interns experience and skills within the industry, as well as increase the exposure and insight into the operations within their particular field. Internships benefit employers as it allows the integration of fresh new ideas, and the opportunity to train and recruit new staff. Internships can be structured as either unpaid or paid, according to the agreement. If you are considering an unpaid internship, ensure you read up on your legal rights, check out this article to learn more.

Employment is work that is typically permanent until further notice, or is provided under specific circumstances (i.e. seasonal casual). It is a legal requirement that a job is paid at either an hourly rate or a specified salary. The primary objective of a job is to receive stability within your career and a secure income stream. Employees are expected to perform the tasks and operations according to their given role, with the aid of their established skills and experience. You are still able to learn new skills within a job, however this is not the primary focus. 

How to find an internship in Australia?

Finding an internship within Australia requires patience and dedication. There are many platforms to aid your search that can be limited to the specifications you are looking for. Using the following recommended resources, search your chosen field and desired role to gain experience in. This can be done through; Seek, LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, or a simple google search. 

Once you find an opportunity, make sure you put your best foot forward by creating a strong resume, creative cover letter and if you are able to, a professional reference letter. If you need assistance creating an effective reference letter, see this article for more information. 

If you are a student, remember to also enquire within your institution as many opportunities often come from these connections. 

HOT TIP: The most successful applicants often reach out to the companies personally either through a follow up email, site visit, or phone call. This will increase your chances against other candidates as it shows your dedication and commitment.

Are your internship agreements in order?

Save your company thousands in legal fees with our Australian Internship Agreement Templates drafted by top-tier Australian lawyers.

Legal advice

The Fair Work Act 2009 is in place to ensure that anyone, either in through internship or ordinary course of employment, is treated fairly and ethically. When applying for an internship we recommend that you briefly research this document and make yourself fully aware of your rights. 

If you require legal advice on entering into any type of queries, disputes or concerns regarding an internship, please do not hesitate to contact our sister company, Legal Kitz by phone on 1300 988 954 or email to info@legalkitz.com.au. We offer a FREE 30-minute consultation for all your legal needs. Click here to book now.

The above information has been collected from relevant government websites and is subject to change. For the latest information regarding new or amended legislation, please refer to state and federal government websites.

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