For Interns

For Interns

What is an internship and how do I know if one is fair?

If you’re a student, graduate or looking for a job, you may be thinking about doing an internship or hear people suggesting you do one.

There is no official definition of “internship”, but is often used to describe anything from job shadowing through to work integrated learning performed as part of a university of TAFE course through to an entry-level role.

If you are looking for a great, fair, quality internship we recommend the following:

  • Look for the Interns Australia “National Fair Internship Pledge” seal or ask if the internship has been recognised by Interns Australia. These internships are paid, provide real training and skills development, and offer mentoring and support
  • Read the Fair Work Ombudsman guidelines on internships
  • If you are not receiving course credit for an internship, most of the time you should be paid
  • As the intern, you should have flexibility and receive most of the benefit of the internship. You are not there to work for free in place of a real employee.

 

What is an internship and how do I know if one is fair?

If you’re a student, graduate or looking for a job, you may be thinking about doing an internship or hear people suggesting you do one.

There is no official definition of “internship”, but is often used to describe anything from job shadowing through to work integrated learning performed as part of a university of TAFE course through to an entry-level role.

If you are looking for a great, fair, quality internship we recommend the following:

  • Look for the Interns Australia “National Fair Internship Pledge” seal or ask if the internship has been recognised by Interns Australia. These internships are paid, provide real training and skills development, and offer mentoring and support
  • Read the Fair Work Ombudsman guidelines on internships (Hyperlink to here https://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/unpaid-work/work-experience-and-internships)
  • If you are not receiving course credit for an internship, most of the time you should be paid
  • As the intern, you should have flexibility and receive most of the benefit of the internship. You are not there to work for free in place of a real employee.

The benefits of great internships

help you build your skills and knowledge

give you experience to help you get your first job

develop your networks and networking skills

give you exposure to a line of work you are interested in

What can go wrong with internships?

While internships can be beneficial for young people and employers, interns are a vulnerable and often overlooked part of the workforce. Some of the downsides of internships include:

  • Interns performing the work of employees but not being paid for it
  • Young people from less economically advantaged backgrounds missing out internships because they can’t afford to work for free
  • A lack of workplace protections from things like bullying and discrimination
  • The intellectual property and work of interns being used but the intern not being paid for it
  • “Intern churn”, where employers hire interns on an ongoing basis to replace real workers
  • Interns struggling to manage paid work, study and other commitments while working unpaid as interns
  • Interns not receiving proper training, development or mentoring
  • Interns feeling they have to pay to intern so they can get a foot in the door
  • Interns being “fired” when they approach an employer about lack of pay or other issues at work

These are all challenges Interns Australia is working to fix through collaboration with interns, universities, employers, governments and the community.

What are the downsides of internships?

While internships can be beneficial for young people and employers, interns are a vulnerable and often overlooked part of the workforce. Some of the downsides of internships include:

  • Interns performing the work of employees but not being paid for it
  • Young people from less economically advantaged backgrounds missing out internships because they can’t afford to work for free
  • A lack of workplace protections from things like bullying and discrimination
  • The intellectual property and work of interns being used but the intern not being paid for it
  • “Intern churn”, where employers hire interns on an ongoing basis to replace real workers
  • Interns struggling to manage paid work, study and other commitments while working unpaid as interns
  • Interns not receiving proper training, development or mentoring
  • Interns feeling they have to pay to intern so they can get a foot in the door
  • Interns being “fired” when they approach an employer about lack of pay or other issues at work

These are all challenges Interns Australia is working to fix through collaboration with interns, universities, employers, governments and the community.

The law on internships

Interns are a vulnerable and often overlooked part of the workforce. One of the challenges for interns is that they often aren’t sure whether aspects of their internship are fair or even legal. We’re working to change this by advocating on behalf of interns for law reform, and to help employers offer fairer, better quality internships.

For more information on the law on internships, read the Fair Work Ombudsman’s internship guidelines.

The law on internships

Interns are a vulnerable and often overlooked part of the workforce. One of the challenges for interns is that they often aren’t sure whether aspects of their internship are fair or even legal. We’re working to change this by advocating on behalf of interns for law reform, and to help employers offer fairer, better quality internships.

For more information on the law on internships, read the Fair Work Ombudsman’s internship guidelines.

If you have questions or want to know whether your internship is legal?

If you have questions about your internship or internships generally, you can contact Interns Australia via email on admin@internsaustralia.org.

If you are looking for legal guidance or support, we recommending contacting the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 or visiting www.fwo.gov.au.

If you are in Victoria, the Young Workers’ Centre may be able to help you. Call 1800 714 754.

If you have questions or what to know whether your internship is legal

If you have questions about your internship or internships generally, you can contact Interns Australia via email on admin@internsaustralia.org.

If you are looking for legal guidance or support, we recommending contacting the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 or visiting www.fwo.gov.au.

If you are in Victoria, the Young Workers’ Centre may be able to help you. Call 1800 714 754.

Would you be willing to tell your story?

Interns Australia is frequently contacted by journalists who would like to hear from interns about their experiences (most are willing to speak to you on the condition of anonymity). If you would be willing to speak about your experience, please email admin@internsaustralia.org.

Would you be willing to tell your story?

Interns Australia is frequently contacted by journalists who would like to hear from interns about their experiences (most are willing to speak to you on the condition of anonymity). If you would be willing to speak about your experience, please email admin@internsaustralia.org.

Interns Australia
ABN: 99 604 465 572
ACN: 604 465 572

Privacy Statement
Terms & Conditions

 

Contact

admin@internsaustralia.org.au
 1300 612 903
Media enquiries: 0432 905 793
Registered office:
500 Harris Street
Ultimo NSW 2007

 

 

 

 

Contact Details

Interns Australia
ABN: 99 604 465 572
ACN: 604 465 572

admin@internsaustralia.org.au
 1300 612 903
Media enquiries: 0432 905 793
Registered office:
500 Harris Street
Ultimo NSW 2007

 

 

 

 

Privacy Statement
Terms & Conditions

Subscribe to our newsletter