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UC students selected for inaugural internship

Vanessa Lam

23 May 2017: Two University of Canberra students are completing internships at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, potentially giving them a leg-up into a job in the Australian Public Service.

It’s the first time the department has offered the internships, with final-year students Natalie van Dartel and Cassandra Mathews, working in the department’s communications branch.

Ms van Dartel is studying a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies/Bachelor of Communication in Public Relations.  She said she was excited to experience what it’s like to work in the public service.

“I heard it was very competitive to get a paid internship in the public service, so I wasn’t expecting this outcome at all,” Ms van Dartel said.

“This particular department oversees so many diverse industries, and their audience is very wide. I think the internship will help me become a better writer and help me understand how to create better content in a real-life environment.”

Ms van Dartel is working in strategic communications and the innovation and science communication team, and said it’s been great to work on variety of different projects.

“With the strategic communications team, I am currently working on the communications for the Country of Origin Label campaign, which is great because the work is very closely linked with what I do in my public relations degree,” she said.

Ms Matthews is working with the internal communications team, creating content such as articles and digital boards.

“This what I wanted to achieve in my last semester because I took a year off in 2014 and when I came back in 2015, I made myself a promise not to graduate without getting some real experience.  I didn’t want to graduate with just a degree and just have to rely on just the degree,” the advertising and marketing student said.

“The internship is amazing, not just because it is paid work, but it counts towards my degree.”

The pair started the three-month internships in February.

The students applied for the jobs after seeing it listed on Careers UC’s CareerHub, a career support service for students.

General Manager of the Communications Branch at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Virginia Cook, said the students are making a real difference to the work of the branch.

“Having Cassandra and Natalie working in the branch has been wonderful,” Ms Cook said.

“They bring a youthful enthusiasm and an awareness of emerging trends and insights into digital media and of course a fresh outlook to some of our communications challenges.

“They’re getting to work on some really meaningful communications projects and I expect the experience stands them in good stead for the job market.”

Ms Mathews has now been offered a role with the Department of Education and Training and encouraged students to apply for internship opportunities that the University has to offer.

“For students who were thinking of applying for the internship but haven’t yet, I would say to just go for it. They don’t really have anything to lose and heaps of experience to gain. Especially for students who are still deciding on where they want to be after graduation this is a great and rare way to test the water as internships like these aren’t common in the APS,” she said.

Another two internships will be offered in semester two with interested students encouraged to keep an eye on the CareerHub website.