Getting ahead: Not all internships are equal

Since lockdowns ended and people slowly started returning to offices around Australia, we’ve been hearing about The Great Resignation and how employees are voting with their feet, seeking greener pastures with better conditions and opportunities.

With unemployment holding steady at a record low of 4% in Australia, it means attracting and retaining good staff has become paramount for businesses, as is finding quality replacements, and ultimately, we are often seeing companies pay a premium for it.

For graduates entering the job market, this presents both challenge and opportunity. There are opportunities everywhere – it’s a ‘candidate’s market’ if you can demonstrate the skills and expertise employers need. 

The challenge for many will be, particularly someone straight out of university, demonstrating those skills and all-important experience. It’s one thing to think you meet the pre-requisites, but it can be another to demonstrate it with tangible examples. 

This is where an internship, or Work Integrated Learning (WIL), experience can be your career leg up. A genuine internship – one with clearly defined outcomes, at a reputable host employer and that provides a dedicated mentor prepared to help you learn – can be the difference between getting the job of your dreams and ‘just a job’.

While many universities provide the opportunity to complete an internship, they aren’t always available to everyone and not all programs are necessarily geared towards generating the employment outcome. Hence, the notion that ‘not all internships equal!’

That’s where organisations and programs external to your university, like Gradability, can help you get ahead with a focus on the end outcome of being more employable.
Gradability, for example, have more than a decade’s worth of experience placing 30,000 students in genuine internships with Australian businesses. The difference? With Gradability it’s not an internship box-ticking exercise; they focus on providing real experience and learning opportunities at reputable companies who are committed to their intern programs. 

In my experience, as both someone who was once a university graduate seeking a job and now two decades later as a CEO in the education space, a genuine internship will still take your practical learnings to the next level and should only ever be viewed as an investment in your future. 

With Gradability, they use an expert team of consultants to guide you through the internship process, from reviewing and perfecting your CV to understanding your skillset and matching it to a pool of almost 10,000 host employers to secure the right internship for you.

A rigorous process guarantees both the employer & intern understand each other’s obligations and assistance is provided to both sides should any issues arise. Importantly, mentors are also supported with training & templates to ensure they can provide their interns with the experience needed to kick start their career.

In summary, an internship – or more importantly as this article suggests – the right internship, will provide you with relevant experience to complement your technical skills to secure a great job. It will help you demonstrate these skills to your prospective employer in a professional business environment, so you hit the ground running. 

Notably it will help set you apart from other graduates in a congested market – and could just be the difference between you and the next best applicant.

Remember, it’s a ‘candidates’ market’ but only if you’re the right type of candidate and can demonstrate the skills and experience employers need. Now is the time to upskill via an internship to help you get to top of the candidate pile. 

Control the Controllables,

Dave Phua 
CEO – Gradability 


As Australia’s #1 Professional Year Provider, Gradability, trading as Performance Education, has helped over 30,000 ex-international students launch their professional careers in Australia. Our program, designed by industry professionals and recruiters, ensures our graduates are workforce ready so when they go to your business, they contribute from the get-go.

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