There is a classic saying: ‘the expert in anything was once a beginner.’
There is a classic saying: ‘the expert in anything was once a beginner.’ I wholeheartedly agree and therefore am perplexed by the increasing number of job postings advertising ‘entry-level’ roles yet requiring ‘three plus years of experience in a similar role.’ It is rapidly becoming a remarkable feat to secure suitable employment after graduation; in fact, the Foundation for Young Australians has reported that 30% of graduates are currently unemployed, or underemployed. To make matters worse, employers are reporting mismatches in the skills young people are learning at university and those that industries require.
In our globally-connected, technologically enhanced world where the most prevalent jobs being advertised did not exist five years ago it begs the question: how are we preparing our young people to be successful in their adult life?
To continue supporting our girls to become leaders within our global community, the Internship Programme was introduced this year - an authentic, project-based Year 9/10 elective offering that connects our student interns with industry professionals and organisations beyond the four walls of the classroom. Unlike our work experience programme, the Internship Programme is completed onsite over an extended period and is centred around a major work project that the mentor is currently working on and is willing to share with a student intern.
After nine weeks of professional learning, which included creating résumés, cover letters, digital portfolios, user manuals and vision boards, our students were interviewed by leaders of industry to secure a six-week internship across a range of fields. Our girls secured internships as Data Scientists and Research Assistants alongside Post-Doctorate research fellows and as Graphic Designers and Quality Assurance Testers for creative studios, to name a few. Throughout the internship, our girls worked alongside industry professionals not only to complete a project but also to refine their future work skills, such as working with colleagues in a professional manner, dealing with deadlines, and how to manage workflow.
‘I was able to complete tasks that adults with university qualifications are doing. I completed a thematic analysis, a generalised linear model and presented the information to my mentor to be used in a published report …’ Zoe B, Year 9 (interned as a Data Scientist with Dr Amanda Krause supporting her work at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions.)
‘I have started to think differently because I have realised that I won’t always have a teacher to help and answer my questions and that in the real world you often have to figure things out yourself …’ Asha J, Year 9 (interned with Mr Terry Burdak supporting Beta Testing at Paperhouse Games.)
‘Internship was something I always looked forward to and will miss it as this elective has helped me discover things I didn’t know about myself. It has helped me be more open-minded and has made me really think about my future …’ Kelly N, Year 9 (interned as a Community Relations Co-ordinator with Mrs Jenni Musgrove supporting Spirit Week at Ruyton Girls’ School.)
Our Internship Programme aims to provide exposure and experience to help our girls make increasingly considered choices about their future academic and professional journeys. As Steve Jobs once said, ‘Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.’ That being said, we need your support to grow and sustain the Internship Programme; it is our links with varied workplaces that will provide the most fulfilling opportunities for our girls.
If you are interested in mentoring a student intern, or know someone who would be interested, please reach out to me or Mrs Judith Whelan, Careers and Course Counsellor, at your earliest convenience.
Mr Jake Plaskett
Director of Learning Innovation