Employment insights and diverse learning opportunities: Arts Internships
Undertaking an internship is a vital step to prepare students for the increasingly demanding and competitive job market, equipping them with the skills – at practical and theoretical levels – expertise and confidence necessary to look for work after university and successfully gain relevant positions.
The Monash WIL team – helping students find the right internship
The Work Integrated Learning (WIL) team at Monash Arts, provides various entry points for students to be placed in suitable internship positions. Students are able to source their own internship, either through their own search, or may browse the listings that are available on the WIL website.
Jo Walsh, WIL Team Leader for Arts, says to be successful in their placements, students should research their host company thoroughly before commencing their internship.
“[Students should] connect on LinkedIn with [their] supervisor. See what projects or activities the host has been doing or may be involved with in the future. [They should] email the supervisor with any questions students may have about their first day,” she said.
An internship unit: theory and practice
At Monash, students can enrol in an internship unit which counts as a credit towards their degree.
In addition to building on practical skills, a major component of an Arts internship is the unit coursework which is designed to help students make the most of their internship experience as well as enhance their future employability.
Student success and ‘work readiness’ can be attained in numerous ways, explains Dr Felix Nobis, Academic Coordinator of the Arts Internship Program.
“Students can develop strategies for dealing with nerves or stress and being at ease in the workplace and can think carefully about how this opportunity can help develop long-term employability skills,” he said.
“Thinking about time management, networking, professional behaviour, problem solving – these things can all be prepared for.”
“An internship isn’t just about learning or applying discipline specific skills, it is also about developing skills for future workplaces and future work opportunities.”
Benefits for your career progression
Jo Walsh said quite often interns are offered positions or ongoing roles within their host organisation after the completion of their placement.
More frequently though, she says, students have built up confidence, as well as a résumé and a set of examples that demonstrate their employability.
“Students have a lot more confidence in job interviews when they have experiences and instances of their work life to refer to.”
While outstanding grades are indicative of a student’s success during their internship, many students had been offered continuing roles after their internship, or even a year later, said Dr Nobis.
“[Students] have also been recommended for positions in other companies because of the impression they made on their host.”
“Having recent, relevant work experience is what is going to set a student apart at interview. The ability to draw from professional experience (rather than just University or extra-curricular activities) will also set them apart.”
Workplace experience which compliments your studies
Caitlin Thomas, who is undertaking a Bachelor of Music (Performance), interned with the Promotions Department of Mushroom Records and was in charge of sending out promotional servicing to radio stations.
“I learned a lot about promotional methods behind successful music, a lot about corporate structure, the importance of deadlines and work ethic in a large office and importance of communication,” she said.
“I think the placement has helped me develop skills in an office setting that would look favourable to a future employer.”
Bachelor of Arts (Criminology) student, Chiara Weymes self-sourced her internship at the Community Corrections Victoria, Ringwood branch where she shadowed various Case Managers, Officers and Advanced Case Managers as they supervised and managed offenders on Community Correction Orders.
Ms Weymes was able to sit in on the offenders' supervision appointments where they discussed their engagement with the Orders, their mental health, job security and relationships as well as developing pro-social behaviours to prevent re-offending.
“I assisted Corrections in some administration work such as writing up case notes from the supervision sessions, contacting offenders regarding appointments and reports for offender compliance and contravention of their Orders,” she said.
She was also able to accompany the Court Assessment and Prosecution Services team into the Magistrate's Court to watch how offenders are assessed prior to receiving their Orders as well as how the Courts manage offenders who have contravened their Orders.
“My time at Corrections was a very strong illustration of the things we had learned in class.”
Diverse learning opportunities available
Jo Walsh said: “At WIL we work hard to match the right student with the right opportunity. Even so, not all students will secure the precise internship, or enjoy the precise experience they had imagined.”
“What is important, is that students see WIL working in many ways. Discipline specific learning is valuable, but learning about organisational structures and ethics, managing a workplace and an online presence, practicing workplace skills and applying their learning are important dimensions of learning as well,” she said.
“An Arts Faculty internship seeks to provide students with as many diverse learning opportunities as possible.”