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Internships for Indigenous students

Completing an internship can give you a sizable advantage when applying for graduate jobs and programs. We’ll help you get a foot in the door.

Internships provide an opportunity to practise and develop professional skills in a supervised work environment. They often take place during vacation periods but also can run during the academic year.

Both paid and unpaid internship positions exist. You can get clear on your rights relating to work experience through the Fair Work Ombudsman. Internships that are a required and/or assessable part of your studies are unpaid and these are referred to as student or vocational placements.

How do I find an internship?

Many organisations offer internships. To get started, check out:

  • GradAustralia.com.au
  • Your university careers centre
  • Your school or faculty internship coordinators
  • Employer websites.

You might like to also check out Indigenous-specific internship opportunities:


This national non-profit organisation links Indigenous university students with internships in private sector companies. The program, which focuses on employers as well as students, is designed to create placements and opportunities that are especially relevant to Indigenous students and aims to convert these positions into full-time roles. 

The program supports full-time students through paid, multi-year placements. It covers pre-internship and employment training – including interviewing skills, CV writing and confidence-building exercises – along with ongoing support, including academic advising, mentoring and leadership. Visit careertrackers.org.au for more details.

The Aurora Project

This foundation organises internships and placements for legal, anthropology, social welfare and other social and health science students, at Indigenous sector organisations that focus on areas such as health, welfare, social justice, policy and community development, and native title and land rights. 

Indigenous Intern Pathway – Indigenous Careers

Led by the Australian Public Service Commission, this program is part of the Indigenous Careers initiative, connecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with Australian government jobs. This program provides students with 50 days of paid work experience in an Australian public sector agency, in areas such as health, defence, immigration, infrastructure, education, community services and more.

Tips for landing an internship

  • Start early – competition can be tough for high profile employers.
  • Be prepared and professional – approach opportunities the same way you would a full-time job, including preparing a professional cover letter and CV. Advertised internships are generally quite popular and competitive, and usually involve a fairly formal application process.
  • Be persistent – you may need to submit many applications before you are successful.
  • Use your network – do you have any contacts that might be able to help, including friends, family or other students who have worked in your target companies?