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Optiver Australia's icon

Optiver is a global market maker. Simply, we trade on the financial markets using our own capital and at our own risk.

Performance Careers Australia's icon

The Graduate Employability Experts, Performance Careers is dedicated to helping graduates bridge the gap between study and professional employment through Work Integrated Learning placements. We have helped 8,000 young professionals, just like you!

IR Australia's icon

The IR program offers technology graduates career paths starting in software engineering based in our Sydney office, and potentially progressing to management, product architecture, pre-sales engineering, support, product management and sales.

CareerDC Australia's icon

CareerDC coordinates internship programs by connecting students with host organisations all over Australia.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Australia's icon

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand is a professional body comprised of over 115,000 current and aspiring business leaders in over 187 countries, who use their skills every day to make a difference for businesses and communities around the world.

Premium Graduate Placements Australia's icon

Premium Graduate Placements is a specialist organisation dedicated to securing internships for international graduates and students in Australia and providing coaching in the skills required to find and succeed in a professional role.

Budding Talents Recruitment Australia's icon

Budding Talents Recruitment is a unique career management & recruitment agency that has successfully tapped into the skills of students and graduates to meet the staffing needs of Australian employers, cost-effectively and efficiently.

Australian Network on Disability Disability Programs Australia's icon

Stepping Into™ is a paid internship program designed for university students with disability who want to gain paid hands-on work experience in leading Australian businesses.

ACS Foundation Australia's icon

The ACS Foundation is a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote the career opportunities enabled by information technology.

IBM Australia's icon

IBM is an ideas company with a long history of innovation and making things work better. Now we are dedicated to creating a smarter, more interconnected planet.

Jane Street Australia's icon

We bring a deep understanding of markets, a scientific approach, and innovative technology to trade in the world's highly competitive financial markets, focusing primarily on equities and equity derivatives.

Cisco Australia's icon

Cisco sees the Internet and networking technology at the heart of a global technological ecosystem where people & businesses can begin to work, live, play, and learn in new and more sustainable ways.

The Intern Group Australia's icon

We provide international internships in leading companies, NGOs and national government in London, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Madrid & Latin America (Colombia). All industry sectors available.

CRCC Asia China's icon

CRCC Asia offers Internship Programs and Language Programs which allow you to invest in your future and experience China.

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Australia's icon

Our Principal Function is to provide high quality advice to the Prime Minister and the cabinet on matters that are at the forefront public and government administration.

Reserve Bank of Australia Australia's icon

Join one of Australia’s best graduate programs at the RBA. Australia’s central bank is best known for conducting monetary policy, working to maintain a strong financial system and issuing banknotes. The RBA considers applicants with degrees in business information systems, IT, economics and finance.

Shell Equal Opportunities Programs Indigenous Programs Disability Programs LGBTI Support Diversity Australia's icon

We are a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies with around 101,000 employees in more than 90 countries and territories.

AECOM Equal Opportunities Programs Indigenous Programs Australia's icon

Creativity, exploration and imagination are key to our business approach. We continually look for creative, new or better ways to apply our expertise to all dimensions of our work.

Protiviti Australia's icon

Protiviti is a global business consulting and internal audit firm composed of experts specializing in risk, advisory and transaction services.

Aristocrat Australia's icon

Aristocrat aims to become the leading provider of gaming solutions. Imagination, focus and creativity play major roles in achieving this vision.

Published 5 days, 19 hours ago

Business Development Intern - Cellar Link Marketplace

Cellar Link Marketplace | Internships
<p>Wine marketplace and wine storage industry. 3 months initially. Sydney Office – Lane Cove.</p>
Published 5 days, 19 hours ago

Content Writers and Photographers

Rewardle | Internships
Are you an explorer and adventurer who is interested in delving into the hyperlocal aspects of our local communities?
Published 3 weeks, 6 days ago

IBL Position, February 2017 - Fusion Graduate Consultancy

Fusion Graduate Consultancy | Internships

This is a 12 month, full time position for a student wanting some practical work experience prior to undertaking the final year of his/her degree. You will be trained to deliver support and system administration to our Account Managers in all aspects of recruitment delivery - from Marketing and Attraction, through all stages of selection. Additionally, Fusion delivers graduate development programs for clients – in which the successful IBL student may also be involved.


Kaplan is one of the world's leading providers of lifelong education with over 1 million students in 30 countries.

Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Macquarie Graduate School of Management is the graduate school of management associated with Macquarie University, Australia.

The Institute of Internal Auditors

The Institute of Internal Auditors is the leading body representing internal auditors. Globally, the Institute represents more than 170,000 members in 165 countries.

The United States Studies Centre

The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney is the leading source for all things America in Australia.

University of Newcastle

Ranked among Australias top 10, the University of Newcastle is world-renowned for its outstanding track record in teaching, learning and research. Based in the New South Wales city of Newcastle, it has more than 35,000 students, including 7,800 international students from more than 80 countries.

University of Technology Sydney

The #1 young university in Australia, UTS is a dynamic and innovative university in central Sydney. One of Australia’s leading universities of technology, UTS has a distinct model of learning, strong research performance and a leading reputation for engagement with industry and the professions.

University of Wollongong

UOW is and always will be about academic excellence, but knows its impact extends beyond teaching and research. Its about making use of knowledge. Being open to new thinking. Making a tangible difference. About connecting like never before.

UNSW Australia

The UNSW Australia, founded in 1949, is a research-focused university based in Kensington, a suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


What is the Difference between an Internship and a Vacation Program?

Employers across all industries prioritise practical work experience when hiring for jobs. For the switched-on student, participation in an internship or vacation program is an important step along the career pathway. Some confusion exists as to the difference between an “internship” and a “vacation program”. While they are similar in that they provide training and experience, a vacation program is more specific than other internships in structure, timing and size of organisation.


An internship is a supervised (and often paid) work placement which provides the intern with training and experience relevant to their field of study. Internships take many forms, ranging in duration from a few weeks to six-months or more. The length of the work placement depends on the organisation. Some internships may count for academic credit towards a relevant degree. For example, in engineering, students are required to complete work placement before they are allowed to graduate.

Internships may be structured in a variety of ways:

Paid internship

Paid internships are the most desirable for students, not only because they financially reimburse them for their work, but because they are linked to higher employment rates and higher graduate salaries than unpaid internships. Most internship programs with medium-to-large local corporations are paid, often calculated at a percentage based on their current stage in their tertiary education. Small-to medium businesses can also offer paid internships, although perhaps not at the same rate. Large organisations may have a structured training and development internship program that guides the student as they complete their work experience. They may also involve a lot of “menial” work such as getting coffees and printing documents. Internships at SMEs tend to be less structured, but may provide a student with the opportunity to “pick up” and learn from example the habits and practices of business owners, managers and employees across all functions of the business, to whom they perhaps would not have access if they were employed in a specific subsection of a larger company.

Businesses aren’t the only organisations to offer paid internships either. Non-profit organisations, despite having less money to work with, may still offer paid work because the work that a paid intern provides to the organisation is of higher quality than that of an unpaid worker.

Unpaid internship

Unpaid internships are on the decline in Australia, after several crackdowns by Fair Work for exploitation of students. The formal aspect of an internship and the type of work that is usually expected (more complex compared to a “work experience” job and involving responsibility equal to that of a paid employee) means that interns are entitled to at least a minimum/industry award wage under the Fair Work Act 2009, unless they are undertaking “vocational work”. The majority of internships do not fall under “vocational work”, which is defined under the Act as unpaid work that is a required for the completion of an authorised VET Australian-based education or training course.

Volunteer work is different to an “unpaid internship”, as it is done for the cause rather than for money or for the training. Volunteer work has none of the formal training that is expected in an internship. This kind of work however can give practical experience in many different skills, and is an asset on a resume.

Paid-for-internship (international internship)

Some organisations offer opportunities to intern overseas in a large multinational or foreign company. They act to connect students with the foreign employers, and coordinate all the travel, accommodation, orientation and on-site support for the intern’s international placement. While interning with these MNCs provides valuable training, work and intercultural experience, the internship costs at least several thousand dollars. The work at the foreign company is also usually unpaid (because of student visa restrictions and the type of work involved).

Applying for an internship

Since there are so many kinds of internships possible, there is no one way to apply. Organisations that have structured internship programs already established can be contacted easily, and candidates need only to send their application to the relevant authorities (whether by mail or online) before the “closing date”. However many organisations, particularly SMEs, do not specify in the outset whether they offer internships. In these cases the student must be pro-active and contact the organisation (usually by email), respectfully asking whether they would ever consider offering an internship, (detailing what interests them about the company, and pitching what the student can offer them, should they be accepted as an intern). If the organisation shows interest, then the student’s CV should be sent through and all communications should be followed up in a timely manner. An interview will be held as part of the selection process. In the interview, the usual protocols apply – honesty, interest in the organisation, consideration, the ability to apply one’s own experiences to illustrate things like teamwork and leadership, and fluent communication skills.

Vacation Program

A “vacation program” is a specific type of internship, which usually takes place during the summer vacation period from late November to early March (but which is also sometimes offered in the winter). They are offered to students in their penultimate year and are highly contested, both for the superior work experience and because students that perform well in a vacation program will often be offered a graduate position the following year.

Features of vacation programs

Vacation programs usually run for 12 weeks between November and March. Companies that offer these programs make a great effort to provide an exceptional work experience in multiple areas of the company, since they hope that the student will in the future become an asset to their organisation. The student is given opportunities to complete and take responsibility for challenging tasks, and to demonstrate leadership and teamwork. In addition they may go through a structured training and/or “personal development” program designed to supplement their professional skills. Mentoring is provided, and “buddy” programs (in which the student works with an experienced graduate who provides them with guidance and support) are also common. Depending on the industry and organisation, the program may also entail travel to remote locations. For example, vacation work in an engineering, mining or consulting firm often includes travel inter- and intra-state to visit worksites.

Vacation work is paid work – students are expected to contribute and add value to the company, and are compensated accordingly. The median pro rata salary for vacation programs in 2014 was $53 000 (which means for 12 weeks’ work a student can earn around $12 230). Because vacationers are so sought-after for graduate programs, (with two-thirds of companies offering graduate programs also offer vacation work), this payment is also designed to give a favourable impression of the company to the student, so that they will want to work there again after they graduate.

Vacation programs typically cost more to run than other, less structured kinds of internships, and hence are only offered by big corporations and government departments. Because there are less vacation positions available overall (with most companies offering five or fewer positions) and because they are highly regarded by future employers, competition for vacation programs is high, with most companies receiving hundreds of applications each year. Only the very best candidates will be selected as worthy of the company’s investment.

Recruiters for vacation programs look for students doing a relevant degree, a deep interest in the industry and a passion for the type of work they do. Although usually anyone with an above-credit average will be considered, high academic achievement is advantageous, since it signifies discipline and a good work ethic – both qualities that employers rate highly. Teamwork and interpersonal skills are especially important, as are strong verbal and written communication skills.

Applying for a vacation program

Most applications for summer vacation programs open in February, with deadlines occurring from March/May. Rolling recruitment is becoming more common. In rolling recruitment, candidates may apply at any time of the year, and (if found to be satisfactory) will be hired when the next vacancy occurs. This can give students more flexibility, but may make it more difficult for some to plan their study and be disadvantageous to the structure and timing of the program.

Application to a vacation program is a multi-stage process that differs among organisations in terms of exact format. The first stage is usually an online application that involves submitting a resume to the company website or email, and may also include a company-specific essay or personal justification as to why the student should be considered for the program. Those who progress to the next stages may be asked to undergo aptitude and/or psychometric testing (which may take place online or at a testing facility). The applicant may be interviewed several times – via phone or video during the earlier stages of the application – then in person for the final interview.

Affirmative action in pre-graduate work

Certain disadvantaged groups are often targeted for pre-graduate work such as vacation work or internships. Among these groups women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are particularly targeted, in an attempt to redress inequalities currently existing in the workplace. Despite this, out of the pre-graduate intake women only make up 40.6% and Aboriginal students 2.9%. Other minorities are even less represented, particularly LGBTQ students, students with disabilities and Torres Strait Islander students. This indicates that although organisations are making an effort, there is still a way to go in establishing true workplace diversity.

How to go about obtaining a Vacation Position

Vacation programs are highly competitive, not only because of their quality work experience but because they have a high likelihood of leading to a graduate position. Because of the significant investment these companies make in their interns, they demand students of the highest quality.Spaces are limited. Application is a rigorous, multi-stage process that in most cases involves submission of a resume, psychometric testing, checking of references, medical examinations and multiple interviews.

Successful applicants to vacation programs:

  • Are skilled and knowledgeable in the relevant engineering specialisation
  • Are interested in the industry and the company
  • Have demonstrated leadership and teamwork in extra-curricular/work situations
  • Can communicate well both in written and verbal form
  • Are honest, open and friendly
  • Dress and behave with professionalism

Make sure you mark the application dates so as not to miss out. Many applications for summer vacation programs open in February, closing in March/May. The other window is from June to August. Some firms also hire on a “rolling recruitment” basis. Check the company website for more information.

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