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Internships and vacation work

Gain work experience during your vacation

The semester break is a perfect time to take on an internship or vacation work. Working within a company gives you the chance to learn the inner workings of the organisation and helps develop your professional skills.

What is an internship?

An internship is structured work experience, providing you with practical experience that complements your academic studies and sets you up for the graduate workforce.

A number of organisations offer structured vacation/internship programs usually over the summer break and occasionally over the winter break or on a part-time basis during semester. These are paid work opportunities that are directly related to your degree, and offered to penultimate-year students. 

Benefits of an internship

There are many benefits to taking on an internship or vacation work. Internships:

  • help you apply your skills and gain on-the-ground experience
  • build your networks and boost your chances of being offered a graduate position at the end of your degree
  • boost your income
  • are compulsory for some degrees like Engineering.

Occasionally, students seek unpaid work in order to develop degree-related skills. According to the Fair Work Act, some unpaid work arrangements are lawful and others are not. It is important you are aware of what constitutes a lawful unpaid work arrangement under the Fair Work Act.

Finding an internship or vacation work

Positions are generally advertised early to mid-year. Here’s how to find an internship:

1. Check job vacancies on Sydney CareerHub and sign up for the automated newsletter under 'Communication Settings'.

2. Search for Undergraduate Programs on the Graduate Opportunities website.

3. Attend the Graduate Jobs and Internships Fairs held in Autumn and Spring.

4. Target the organisations you’d like to work for by visiting the employment section of their websites. To apply, you will need to send potential employers a targeted cover letter and resume. Attend our career skills workshops for key advice on writing an effective application.

5. Don’t be afraid to be proactive and approach employers directly, asking them about vacation/internship opportunities.