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Internship provides corporate experience for First Nations students

1 September 2022
Gain corporate experience at PwC Australia
The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences collaborates with PwC to offer internships for First Nations students.

Five students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences have undertaken Internships at PwC Australia during December 2021 – February 2022. Delivered in collaboration with PwC, the program offers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students within the Faculty the opportunity to gain paid industry experience related to consulting and advisory over the summer break. 

In this program, students are supported throughout the application round by staff within the Faculty, the Gadigal Centre, and with bespoke advice from Careers Counsellors. The successful applicants are provided with one-on-one mentoring support and the opportunity to contribute to meaningful projects at PwC. They can negotiate their start and end dates to align with their exams and family priorities, encouraging a 6 – 8-week duration to engage in learning and development at PwC and connect with their culture and homelife.

At PwC, we consider all the different pathways for First Nations students. By working together with the University of Sydney, we have created a pathway that provides flexibility and sets students up with the support they need to navigate the early stages of their careers.
Matt Rix, First Nations Careers, Senior Manager, PwC

This flexible and people-centred approach has proven very successful for the 2021-2022 program – with four of the participants hired by PwC at the completion of their internship to continue part-time work alongside their studies at the University, while one participant chose to take on a role at the University.

Hear from Emily Wooding, Bachelor of Arts and Law, and Jake Lewis, Bachelor of Economics and Advanced Studies, and what they have to say about their experience. 

Why did you apply for the Internship with PwC?

“One reason for applying was because I have not yet decided on the career I want to pursue, so the internship experience could help me with the direction to aim for. My second reason was to gain workplace experience - skills and experience which can’t be taught in the classroom. My final reason was because summer internship meant that there was plenty of time for me to commit to a 6–8-week internship whilst leaving time to switch off and relax.” – Jake

“I applied for the internship program with PwC because they offered a supportive work environment and interesting and thought-provoking work. I also thought that a lot of the work that PwC engages in supports social responsibility that helps improve the community.” - Emily

What were your day-to-day activities during the internship?

“I initially worked in the Workplace Law Team - I would start the day with a Zoom meeting with my team in the Melbourne office, and mostly completed research on case law and assisted anyone in the team with a project I could work on. Now I also work in the Social Impact Team where I research the new clients we accept at the firm and assess their impact on First Nations people.” - Emily

“During my internship at PwC, I was given various roles which all helped contribute to multiple projects. People were divided into teams to work on projects, where they constructed either buy-side or sell-side evaluations for multimillion dollar companies. My activities got progressively more challenging. In the beginning I was taking simple notes and summarising financial statements but soon progressed into individually constructing spreadsheets and making graphs and tables.” – Jake  

What did you find the most enjoyable/memorable in your internship?

“I think the people are absolutely great! I was so nervous going into a company like PwC, but everyone I have met have been incredibly kind and welcoming.” – Emily

“Prior to the internship, I genuinely thought my role would be closer to that of a ‘coffee boy’ with little involvement. However, I was working on real projects and contributing to the evaluations that PwC performed for companies. It was rewarding working on big companies listed on the ASX, and on multiple occasions projects we helped buy/sell would end up in the papers and on the news. To be given the responsibility of contributing to such major projects really changed my perspective of workplace structure.  

My next memorable moment was the friendships and company culture at PwC. I was the youngest in the building by 10 years, and certainly the least experienced, however, everyone was treated so equally and friendly to each other that I was not able to tell the difference between associates and managing partners until I looked at the photo board.” – Jake

What was most challenging in your internship? 

“Trying to get used to the jargon and research. It’s very different from uni!” - Emily 

“Going out of my comfort zone and the challenges that COVID had on the internship. The first half of the Internship involved lots of work from home due to the pandemic. However, everyone at PwC were very accommodating and made me more than comfortable." – Jake

How did the Faculty Undergraduate Internship Scholarship support you during the internship? 

“It was honestly such a lifesaver! It really helped me with affording accommodation during the internship.” – Emily 

“It made the process leading up to getting an internship extremely easy. The scholarship helped reducing the extra monetary pressures such as transport and clothing required for the job.” – Jake

What would you share with future students who might be interested in taking up this internship opportunity? 

“The Internship is super enjoyable, and I would hands down apply for another Internship if the opportunity was presented. You genuinely learn so much from people who are highly experienced in the industry. You will gain great experience through exposure to day-to-day work, interactions with clients and your team. There is really nothing to lose and sending an application in is the hardest part of the process!” – Jake 

“Just do it! It may be nerve racking and daunting at the beginning, but I have met so many great people from this opportunity and been exposed to work that I never would have thought of trying before this. So definitely take this opportunity with both hands!” - Emily

Banner image: Photo by Belle Co from Pexels.

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