Workplace internships build skills and mutually beneficial networks.
Leadership & Mentoring program participants have the opportunity to work within Australian or Pacific organisations as part of the Women's Leadership Initiative. Through tailored internships, participants build leadership and professional skills and forge lasting partnerships and networks to support them into the future.
At the same time, many participants come to the program with significant work experience, including in their countries' public and private sectors. Host organisations therefore gain practical knowledge and professional inputs from future Pacific leaders, as well as have their networks broadened into Pacific environments.
My placement has provided quite an exposure and learning for me. I have been able to observe the workflow and culture within the perioperative environment ... [I've been] exposed to a variety of specialty areas, all which were lifelong learning experiences. I will proudly take this learning back to Samoa and share it with my colleagues.
What sort of hosts are needed?
Many internships are identified through existing mentor / participant relationships, but approximately 70 Pacific women from a range of countries and sectors are in need of a work placement at any one time.
Participants are located around Australia (and in the Pacific) and are experiences and interested in a diverse range of sectors, including politics and diplomacy, agriculture, environment, governance, public policy, finance and accounting, public and clinical health, IT, engineering, national security and defence, education, and community development.
The Women's Leadership Initiative team welcomes approaches from potential host organisations, including government departments, non-government organisations, research or educational institutions, private sector businesses, peak bodies, or regional agencies, based either in Australia or the Pacific.
Recent workplace internships and professional development opportunities include:
- A one-month placement with a national scientific research organisation with the intern working at the organisation's headquarters and travelling to project sites in Australia and PNG to gain in-depth understanding of the daily operations and work contexts.
- A semester-long placement with a secondary school where the intern spent a day a week working across different school departments to develop a broad view of overall operations.
- A three-week full-time placement in a major public hospital where the intern observed day-to-day clinical and operational functions of the hospital's perioperative services department.
- A four-day training course at Queensland's Department of Youth Justice where the intern learnt how to investigate complaints of protection, sexual exploitation and abuse, and how to improve safeguarding capacity in an organisational setting.
What is expected of host organisations?
Host organisations are expected to provide a stimulating and comprehensive internship for the intern. Internships should have a clear benefit to the participant, the participating organisation and the Pacific region, and not take the place of, or resemble, formal employment.
Where possible, host organisations cost-share internships and at a minimum, hosts work with the intern and the Women's Leadership Initiative to confirm the specific objectives and activities of the placement; provide necessary equipment and space to support the intern for the duration of the placement; provide an orientation program and ongoing guidance and supervision during the placement; and provide formal feedback at completion.
The Women's Leadership Initiative team provides a range of advice and logistical support to hosts, including host / intern liaison; financial contributions towards internship costs, including travel and living expenses, visa costs and insurances (as applicable); and logitical support such as booking flights and accommodation.