Internships in Australia

How to get Internships in Australia?

Getting an internship in Australia is tough!

If you’re lucky, a friend or relative could refer you to a company that take interns for 12 week placements.

However, if you’re like most skilled migrants or graduates from overseas who don’t have Australian experience, you’ll have to find an internship by either contacting a company yourself or with the help of a company like ACECIS.

1. Contact companies yourself. This route will see you making a list of potential companies, sending the key contact person i.e. Head of Engineering, an email or picking up the phone to call them.

This approach to getting an internship in Australia has limited success.

This is because most Australian companies are not familiar with the rules and regulations to having an unpaid or paid intern. It’s risky for them to take you on without appropriate insurance. Which is why most companies tend to arrange internships through professional internship companies like ACECIS.

If something goes wrong on the internship, they have a ‘mediator’ who can advise them.

Pros: 

  • There’s no cost to you and you can target the companies you are keen to get into.

Cons: 

  • Most companies won’t enter a direct internship relationship with you as there are perceived risks.
  • It may take you 6 months or more to find a company open to giving you an opportunity.
  • You may not know how to negotiate your internship into employment.
  • You don’t have an existing network of companies who you can easily contact to arrange your placement. 

2. Use a professional internships company. Going through a professional internships company is one of the most effective ways to secure an internship in Australia. 

Pros: 

  • Not only will you receive a brand-new resume and interview training, but your internships company will work with you to find the right organisation for you to do your placement.
  • Everything is done for you including the negotiation process with the company and mentoring during your internship placement.
  • If anything goes wrong i.e. your internship changes from being software development into IT Support – and you’re not happy or gaining any benefit, your internship company will step in and fix the situation. Either with the current company or a new company will be found.

Cons: 

  • Fees. An internship – like any professional service, has fees. Internship companies like ACECIS spend a significant amount of time sourcing the right host company for you and preparing your resume and interview answers. 

If you’re considering doing an internship, here are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) that ACECIS intern clients ask us. We hope these questions will help you on your journey as an intern in Australia.

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Internships in Australia - FAQs

Everything you need to know about your internship in Australia

I have a degree! Why do I need an internship?

Many hiring managers in Australia look for experience first and foremost. Nowadays, having a Bachelor or Master degree from an Australian university is simply not enough. There are literally thousands of graduates with engineering, IT and accounting degrees.

An internship that gives you practical hands-on experience in your industry is crucial and will set you apart all of the other graduates you’re competing with who also have a degree.

How do ACECIS internships work?

We specialise in partnerships with companies in IT, Engineering, Accounting, Finance and more. In fact, we have one of our interns currently on placement at one of Sydney’s leading wealth advisory firms – and he is getting a $500 a week allowance!

Many of our clients have reached ultimate success through their internship. That is – they were made job offers at the end.

Step 1: We fix your resume
Step 2: We see which one of our partner companies is a good match and we arrange your interview. If no opportunities are available, we source new companies for you to meet.
Step 3: Interview training with your internship coach. After your training, you get to meet your potential host company.
Step 4: If you and the company are happy, you start your internship.

Can I get an internship on a student visa?

We advise to check with your migration agent first. However, because an internship is not employment, there’s more flexibility to undertake a 12 week full time internship. Internship rules and regulations constantly change so while this advice is true as of today, it may change tomorrow so always seek the advice from a registered migration agent.

We have placed a number of international students on 485 post study work visas on internships. Many of these students have been offered full time jobs after their internship too. It’s tough – but possible.

Are internships only for recent graduates?

Many interns are recent graduates who desperately need industry experience. However, we place many people from overseas who lack Australian experience. Most companies prefer candidates who have ‘local experience’. An internship in Australia overcomes this objection so we work with many skilled migrants with 2 – 10 years of overseas experience who benefit from undertaking an internship in Australia.

How long does it take to get an internship placement?

Good quality internships can take 4-16 weeks or more to source. The time varies depending on your field of interest, your level of experience, the city/cities of preference, and even the time of year. For example, getting an internship in December/July takes more time as does an internship in an area like Biomedical Engineering (as there aren’t too many companies in this area compared to Accounting firms).

Are internships paid or unpaid?

Some internships are unpaid, however we’re finding that many host companies are providing an allowance now. ACECIS does however try and arrange a travel and meals allowance for you.

The whole purpose of you doing an internship is to get local experience and a local reference.

Without local experience it’s very difficult to get a job.

An internship (even unpaid) will help you to compete against the other 100+ applicants who already have local experience.

About 70% of our interns receive a weekly allowance ($150-$200) for travel and meal.

One of our recent interns Liz, an electrical engineer with good overseas experience, is currently getting $600/week for her internship!

While we try to arrange a small stipend to cover meals/travel, internships are generally unpaid, the main benefit is gaining local experience and local referees.

Some companies provide the allowance – others don’t. The main benefit is to get your foot in the door which could lead to a full time job.

How many weeks is an internship in Australia?

Internships are generally 12 weeks full time or equivalent part time. As your internships company, we negotiate this on your behalf. 95% of the internships we arrange are 12 weeks full time.

How many days a week am I doing my internship?

We recommend four days per week. However some companies prefer five days. Anything less that four days is risky as the company won’t get to see you perform consistently over a longer period of time during the week.

Is an internship placement guaranteed?

In most cases, yes, it’s possible to guarantee your internship placement. Internships in accounting, finance and software development are less complicated because there’s less risk to the host company – and there are more companies available!

In some fields, it gets more complex as you can appreciate.

For example, laboratories are highly regulated environments and as such they are less likely to have interns as the work that needs to be performed is crucial and the slightest mistake can have serious consequences for the project.

In addition, fast-paced labs don’t have time to train and develop an intern who is coming in for just 12 weeks.

Having said that, we have placed a number of interns in complex internships and host companies such as metallurgical engineering, food science and QA testing and most recently in chemical engineering in Melbourne.

However these internships take time.

We can’t guarantee an internship for a number of reasons such as how well you perform in the interview or how many host companies are ready and willing to take you. Another issue may be English language level or your visa status (as some companies prefer PR if they have a view of transitioning you to employment).

Because we are a boutique provider, you get to work exclusively with Head Career Coach Naren on your particular case.

Whether your goal is to get into a specific internship in your area i.e. data analyst OR to find a host company that has potential to hire you, we take our time to ensure that you are placed in the best organisation to achieve your goals.

There’s only been two cases where the intern hasn’t been placed. The reasons were the interns got a job before placement so they didn’t need it, a couple didn’t pass the interviews because of English. Another person decided to pass as the process was taking too long.

We provide multiple training sessions to help our interns pass the interview stage with companies however some interns (in the past) have not put in the work and practiced their answers. So it’s hard for us to ‘guarantee’ an internship when there are some cases it’s out of our control.

Rest assured we will make every effort on our part to find you a good quality internship. This means not only one that will give you good experience and skills, but whenever possible, will have an opportunity for employment after the internship.

Can you provide a list of companies offering internships?

In terms of the list of companies, our host companies do not permit us to disclose their details until you commence working with ACECIS.

The reason for this is because in the past, these companies have been inundated with requests from graduates and job seekers demanding internships and they do not have the time nor resources to field these requests.

They prefer all internship enquiries to go through an internships company.

Naren deals directly with the HR department and senior management team to coordinate internships.

During your free phone consultation Naren can discuss the types of companies that you will be suited to be placed at for your internships.

Why is there an upfront fee?

The upfront fee is for all the work that goes into preparing you for the internship:

1. New resume to ensure your resume passes the host company screening test. You will receive a brand new resume that you can even use for job hunting!

2. Interview training: you will be invited to an interview training session 1.5hrs with the ACECIS Career Coaching team to prepare you for the host company interview.

3. Host company sourcing: We work with companies to source opportunities and put your application forward. This process is intensive and requires our team to spend considerable time finding new companies as well as negotiation with current companies on your behalf.

The upfront fee covers these three items and your placement fee is paid only once you are happy to start your internship.

Can I pay all the fees after I’ve been placed?

We’d love to be able to say ‘yes’ however a lot of work goes into your internship before you’re even placed!

Also, we had one case where a student couldn’t afford the fees so we did the right thing and postponed his payment. We went through step 1 – 3 above and guess what? He never paid even after going to the internship interview and getting the offer.

We offered a payment plan after he started his placement which was never paid so we terminated the agreement and he lost his place with the company.

To avoid such situations, we provide an instalment plan up to your placement. Once you have your offer, final fees are due. If you have special circumstances, feel free to contact us and we can tailor a plan to suit your needs.

Why are internships so expensive?

We can see how the internship program (which costs approximately $2,000) can be viewed as an expensive option, but for our intern clients they see this as an investment in their careers.

Did you know the average weekly salary in Australia is about $1,300 – $1,500 per week?

The interns we place who get employment are so happy—their internship investment is paid off in just a week or two of full time work!

But of course, most clients are planning on 20 – 30 years of professional full time employment in Australia, so an investment now pays huge dividends.

What happens after my internship if I’m not hired by my host company?

Many of our interns are hired either full time or part time after their internship.

Others continue on with a part time internship while job searching.

We recommend that you update your resume after 8 weeks at your internship, to include your new responsibilities/skills/experience and new referees.

It’s easier to get hired while you are still working in your field (either paid or unpaid), so you’ll want to begin your job search before you complete your internship.

The worst case is that you don’t find a job within six months of completing your internship. You won’t have current experience, and you many need to do another internship! However, we have a plan to help you avoid this, because doing more than one internship in a year is not effective. The goal is to use your recent internship experience to get your next job.

Some of our interns prefer to job search on their own. Others enrol in our Custom Career Coaching to get one-on-one support to get job interviews and offers.

We offer a comprehensive package that includes:
– new resume and cover letter
– 20 customised job applications
– referrals to companies in our network who are looking for people with your skills/experience
– interview training
– LinkedIn optimisation and training to find jobs in the hidden job market

Most of our clients who completed their internship, then went on to career coaching successfully landed jobs within 3 months.

Are refunds provided?

In some cases, yes we provide refunds. However, in other cases (i.e. failing your interview repeatedly) we can’t provide a refund.

We have this clause in there in case the intern we are working with doesn’t pull their weight and practice/train/prepare for the interview.

The companies we work with expect high quality interns and so a lot of work from your side is needed to prepare the best answers.

We help you with this as we want you to pass the interview too.

If you have a positive attitude, good communication skills and a desire to succeed in your career, you won’t have any problems passing the interview.

If for whatever reason the company rejects you and it’s for reasons out of your control (i.e. they wanted someone with skills you don’t have), then we will look at alternative companies.

If you receive a job offer within 2 weeks of starting your internship, we feel it’s fair to provide you with a partial refund.

Will I be hired by my host company?

On many occasions our interns have been hired by the host company.

Just recently, three of our network engineering interns were hired by the company. One gentleman from the middle east was promoted within a month to a Manager!

However, you can’t expect the company to hire you. There are many factors such as your performance and whether or not the company has a vacancy to keep you on.

I encourage you to connect with Head Career Coach Naren on LinkedIn and read reviews from other job seekers like you that we’ve helped here.

Many of them started their career journeys with internships, and have had great results.

Here’s a few more recent examples:

* Rajasree (Data Analyst) Melbourne – Completed her 12 week internship and was offered a full time job at the same company

* Abdul (Civil engineer) – Offered a full time role at his host company

* Charu (HR Assistant) Melbourne – Completed her internship, then applied for other roles and was offered a full time HR position at another company

* Kruthivas (Civil Engineering Graduate) Melbourne – Completed his internship, then was offered a full time role with another company 2 weeks later

*Bettina (Chemistry Analyst) – Ongoing part time contract role with host company

If you take initiative, work hard, become part of the team and show the company how much value you bring, you can leave them no choice but to hire you!

Why should I choose ACECIS as my internship provider?

We are a boutique provider which allows us to focus on the quality of your placement rather than just ‘putting you in’ to a random accounting firm where you’re just another intern.

You get to work with our Director, Career Coach Naren one-to-one on your internship placement to ensure you are placed in a firm that gives you the training you need.

We also focus on good quality internships that are likely to have potential for employment afterward. At the very least, the internship will provide good quality skills, training, experience and references.

Whether your goal is to get into a specific internship in your area i.e. data analyst OR to find a host company that has potential to hire you, we take our time to ensure that you are placed in the best organisation to achieve your goals.

Should I brush up on my skills before I enrol in the internship program?

Yes, most definitely. We provide our interns with a list of technical skills to brush up on before they commence their internship.

A number of graduates we’re working with at the moment who are practicing skills in AutoCAD, SolidWorks, google analytics, HR processes and XERO accounting software.

While they are refreshing their skills, we are working on their CV and preparing them for internship interviews.

While you’re brushing up on your skills, we’ll be working on your resume and talking to companies on your behalf.

‘I came to Australia from Sri Lanka and found it tough to apply for jobs as recruiters and companies wanted local experience. I joined ACECIS and was placed at a civil engineering firm as an accounting intern. They were happy with my work and kept for for employment after. The internship was the best move for me!’

Hansi - Accountant, Melbourne Australia

‘I decided to do an internship in IT because I didn’t have any Australian experience. I was placed at one of Australia’s biggest IT managed services companies for 12 weeks. I worked really hard, and the Head of Department, Harry offered me a full time job. It has been a wonderful experience.’

Remya - IT Managed Services, Melbourne Australia

‘Coming from South America was tough for my wife and I. No PR and English made it hard. I also needed experience so ACECIS took my case and got me a mining internship in QLD. I didn’t get a job with the company, but the experience helped me get my next job at BHP.’

Jairo - Metallurgical Engineer, Brisbane Australia