What is an internship?
An internship is a temporary, fixed-length working arrangement designed to give you real-world experience and that gives you course credits towards your study.
Why do an internship?
An internship can be a bridge to employment. Most businesses are much happier to take on someone they know and like, so if you're a good candidate for an empty role, they may end up hiring you.
The main thing employers look for on a resume is experience in similar jobs. An internship is valuable in that regard, and the provider of the internship may be willing to serve as a reference for future job interviews.
Paid or unpaid?
Internships can be paid or unpaid, depending on the nature of the work. Take a look at the Fair Work factsheet for an understanding of when and why an internship should be paid or unpaid.
Your rights & responsibilities
In an intern role you have certain rights and responsibilities:
- To work in a healthy and safe environment (refer to your State's Work Health and Safety Act[s])
- To be interviewed and employed in accordance with equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation
- To be adequately covered by insurance
- To be given accurate and truthful information about the organisation for which you are working
- To be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the organisation for which you are working
- To be given a copy of the organisation's policies that affects your work
- To have a job description and agreed working hours
- To have access to a grievance procedure
- To be provided with orientation to the organisation
- To have your confidential and personal information dealt with in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act 1988
- Respect confidentiality and privacy
- Be punctual and reliable
- Carry out the duties listed in your position description
- Be accountable
- Give notice if your availability changes or you are leaving the organisation
- Report any injuries or hazards that you notice in the workplace
- Adhere to the organisation's policies and procedures
- Deal with complaints in the appropriate manner
- Ask for support when needed
- Support other team members