Embarking on an internship in Australia presents a unique blend of professional development and cultural immersion. Known for its diverse business landscape and vibrant work culture, Australia offers a plethora of opportunities for interns from around the globe. Whether you’re a student or a recent graduate, an Australian internship can be a stepping stone to a successful career. Let’s take a closer look at Australia’s internship culture, legislation, eligible visas, and a few essential tips for finding an internship. In short, all you need to know to do an internship.
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Why Choose Australia for Your Internship?
Australia’s robust economy and innovation-driven industries make it an ideal destination for internships. From thriving start-ups in Sydney to mining giants in Perth, the country offers a range of opportunities across various sectors including technology, finance, healthcare, and environmental science. Moreover, the Australian work culture is renowned for its emphasis on work-life balance, providing a conducive environment for learning and personal growth.
How to find an internship in Australia?
Australia is gradually becoming familiar with the practice of internships in companies. Companies are increasingly tending to hire interns because this has many advantages for them, particularly in terms of remuneration. Before starting your research, it is essential to be well prepared. Thus, it is important to have an “Australian-style” resume and a well-written cover letter. Once these two elements are in hand, it’s time to apply! Finally, be aware that the majority of internships are located in major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth…
Prepare your applications well
Your Resume and Cover letter
Be thorough when preparing your application. Your application is the first impression you give to your potential employer. Thus, your resume and cover letter must be winning. Definitely have somebody, whose mother tongue is English, proof-read your resume and cover letter. This is the best way to avoid typos, unclear wording, or inaccuracy.
For more information on completing your resume, check out our article on how to create an Australian resume.
Make sure you personalize your cover letter for each company. It is better to send out a few job applications of high-quality instead of applying for a number of jobs without showing interest in the company. Finally, keep in mind that Australian companies generally place a higher value on professional experiences than on degrees. So if you have experiences and professional achievements (for example, increased turnover by 10%) to show, focus on these.
If your CV gets attention, then comes the interview stage! Even if you are on the other side of the world, your future employer will want to meet you to talk face to face. Most often, a video interview will be arranged to discuss a little more about you, your expectations, your availability, etc. Before any interview, remember to find out about the company, its past and its future. Prepare sample answers to the questions you will probably be asked:
Why this company, this position? Why Australia?
Be smiling, presentable and positive! Australians base their choices a lot on the personality of the candidates! Also consider asking questions to show your interest and that you have done some research. Work on your English (series, films in English, online courses, etc.).
Finally, consider jet lag and make yourself available early in the morning or late at night to match Australian office hours.
Find an internship online
Know how to search the Internet effectively. To find your internship abroad, the Internet will be your best friend if you use it effectively.
If until now you haven’t had a LinkedIn account, now is the time for you to create a profile. LinkedIn has become a professional social network that is widely used in the recruitment process of many companies around the world. It is a fantastic platform on which you find many internship advertisements in different countries.
You can download the mobile app “LinkedIn Ads”, which is easy to use on a regular basis. Some LinkedIn job ads don’t even ask for a cover letter, which is a real time-saver, as are the “Apply Now” or “Quick Apply” buttons on some sites.
When searching for internship offers on Google, a common mistake is searching for offers on google.com. But you have to put yourself in the shoes of the employers. They are in Australia, so it’s best to search on Google and to type your search in English (“Marketing internship Australia” for example).
In general, use the language and the Google domain name specific to the country you want to do an internship in.
Great websites to look for internships in Australia:
Websites of companies that interest you
Also remember to contact the companies that interest you directly. Go to their website at the contact section and send your spontaneous application! You can also contact national companies that have subsidiaries in Australia or, conversely, Australian companies present in your home country.
Specialized recruitment agencies
Specialized recruitment agencies play a major role in the Australian labour market. Sometimes you will find ads that you can only apply for if you are registered with the agency. Among them, Myinternshipabroad is pretty popular.
Registering with a recruitment agency represents a significant cost that can vary between 500 and 1300£. Through them, you can find a paid internship relatively quickly, which could potentially pay back the registration fees. Make your decision based on your financial means, the progress of your research, the time you have got to find an internship etc.
These agencies can be a good last resort, but try the other options first before registering.
Internship culture and regulations in Australia
In regards to employability, Australia is recognized as an ideal destination. It is true that there are numerous job opportunities, higher wages, and the option for a rapid career progression. However, when it comes to internships, there is a huge difference between systems we know from other countries and the Australian system. While in many European countries, an internship is considered a real professional experience and a recognized training, it is rather a voluntary workplace observation in Australia. This is why most internships are unpaid.
As internships are often unpaid in Australia, it is important to find out about your rights before you sign up for it. Some internships in Australia are just a workplace observation that do not deserve a salary. However, there is a legislation that governs internship contracts in Australia. They determine what obligations companies have depending on the jobs they entrust trainees with.
Interns have the role of an observer as long as they help other employees on an ad hoc basis. This means that for the rest of the time, interns simply learn by observing employees doing their jobs and integrating themselves in the company.
If an intern gets a specific schedule and has to achieve set goals over the period of the internship, he or she must be considered as an employee and therefore deserves salary. To be considered an employee, the duration of the internship plays an important role. Internships of less than three months are usually regarded a workplace observation. Once you master the given tasks and end up staying for longer, the company will probably give you more responsibility and pay you according to the minimum wage.
Foreign interns with a trade, Bachelor or Master degree in the same field, have to be paid according to the law – except students under 21 years old.
To find out about the minimum wage in Australia, visit the government’s official website. If you have a problem with work or your employer, you can contact Fair Work Australia.
If the company does not pay remuneration, which may be the case if it is based on the European system for example, you should try to negotiate compensation or other advantages (accommodation provided, gratuity, bonus or paid transport, etc.). Let’s not forget that all companies are free to set a salary or not for their interns, it is very different to being properly employed in terms of your benefits.
A paid intern works under the same conditions as other employees in all Australian states. A work week is 38 hours. The company has the right to ask you to work overtime if it is reasonable, but has to reimburse you suitably for this time. Your working hours should be between 7 am and 7 pm. Outside these hours, the hourly rate increases.
However, in reality, you have to be flexible and sometimes overlook minor things because you are an intern, not their top employee.
Internship visas in Australia
While there are several Australian visas allow foreign students to do internships in Australia, we will only talk about the two main ones.
Working Holiday Visa
Getting the Working Holiday visa is pretty straightforward without any tedious paperwork. Valid for 12 months and extendable for another year, it allows you to work and travel in Australia. This visa is aimed to people between 18 to 30 or 35 years old (depending on your nationality).
Even though this visa was not initially intended for students wanting to do an internship in Australia, it permits internships of less than 6 months with the same company.
As the visa application process is so much easier and saves companies from having to sponsor their interns, the Working Holiday visa is more popular.
Read also : Working Holiday Visa in Australia
Occupational Trainee visa
The Occupational Trainee Visa allows an international students to work temporarily in a company that is line with their higher education. Its primary objective is to enable students to improve their skills in their field of studies. Students are only eligible for this visa if the internship meets the following criteria:
The internship aims at obtaining a diploma.
It allows students to develop skills related to their field of activity.
Students get the opportunity to evolve in an international environment.
Most of all, the company must be an approved occupational trainee sponsor.
Visit the official government page to find more information on how to apply for this visa.
Health insurance for an internship in Australia
In recent years, the Australian government has put in place new reforms for the country’s health system. As an international student, you must subscribe to a health insurance that will cover your health expenses for the entire period of your stay. Be prepared that health care in Australia is very expensive. Neither your insurance nor social security from home will cover you in case of illness or hospitalization. So go to Australia with a peace of mind and take on health insurance. Feel free to visit our article to learn more more about Working Holiday Travel Insurance and get our special deals to save on your insurance costs.
What should I budget for an internship in Australia?
Once you’ve landed your internship, you’ll need to think about the budget for the whole of your trip .
First of all, think about visa fees. If you opt for a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417 or 462), which is undoubtedly the simplest solution, the application will cost you $635 (£330). To this, you must add the cost of the plane ticket, which will cost you around £1,200 for the return journey. We would definitely recommend a flexible ticket which allows you to change the date of your flight – just in case! You may decide to stay a little longer or even come back earlier. Finally, take out health insurance for your stay! Whether you’re taking out a temporary work permit or student insurance, make sure you’re covered! Allow around £400 for one year.
Expenses once you’re here
Shared accommodation is probably your best option. Prices vary enormously depending on the city you’re in and the area you live in. They also vary according to the type of accommodation you are looking for. So you’ll pay a totally different rent depending on whether you’re sharing a room or renting on your own. Do your research. You may want to book somewhere short term for a month or so when your arrive so that you have the flexibility to move to a more suited situation once you have got the lay of the land.
Examples of house prices in Sydney:
Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city for accommodation. Of course, prices vary according to location and type of accommodation (room, private flat, house, etc.). Finding accommodation in Sydney will depend on these two factors and the budget you’re going to allocate to it. We’ve taken the example of accommodation in Bondi and Sydney city centre, the most expensive areas of the city:
A minimum of AUD300 (£160) for a shared room. Please note that the price varies according to the number of people sharing the room; it is possible to find shared accommodation with more than 5 people per room.
A minimum of AUD 400 (£200) for a single room.
A second very important budget item is food. An average basket costs around $70 AUD per person per week, without going overboard. You’ll always find different price ranges and you can fall back on own-branded products or budget supermarkets such as Aldi, which are much easier on the wallet!
However, some products are still much more expensive than back home and can blow tight budgets out of the water so be mindful!
Public transport is relatively expensive (especially in towns and the inner suburbs). Here again, it all depends on where you’re staying – and what you’re used to at home.
An internship in Australia is more than just a line on your resume; it’s an enriching experience that combines professional growth with personal adventure. It’s an opportunity to develop a global perspective, understand different business practices, and build an international network. As you embark on this journey, embrace the challenges and opportunities that come your way, paving your path to a successful global career.
FAQs on doing an internship in Australia
What are the popular sectors or industries for internships in Australia?
Popular sectors for internships in Australia include tourism and hospitality, marketing and communications, finance and accounting, information technology, engineering, design, environmental sciences and the education sector.
Are there any language requirements for an internship in Australia?
Fluency in English is generally preferred for an internship in Australia, as it makes it easier to communicate and understand instructions. However, you may also be able to find an internship in an international company where fluency in English is not necessary and you may use another language more.
What is the typical length of an internship in Australia?
It can vary depending on the requirements of the employer and the type of visa. Internships can last from a few weeks to several months, with a typical duration of 3 to 6 months. Some internships can also be part-time during studies or full-time after graduation.
Are there specific visas for interns in Australia?
Yes, there are specific visas for interns in Australia. Most often, interns will leave on a WHV visa. The Training Visa is also a specific option for an internship in Australia.
Are there specific visas for interns in Australia?
Yes, there are specific visas for interns in Australia. Most often, interns will leave on a PVT / WHV visa. The Training Visa is also a specific option for an internship in Australia.
What administrative procedures do I need to complete to do an internship in Australia?
First of all, you will need to obtain a visa. You will also need to prepare documents such as a CV and cover letter, organise health insurance, open an Australian bank account, etc. You may want to convert your CV into an Australian Resume, and you may want to have references prepared in advance.