Is this the ‘WORLD’S BEST KEPT SECRET’ for Australian Business Owners?

In an economy where resources are stretched more than ever, businesses struggle to find capable talent. With wage costs increasing, many businesses owners find themselves with far more work than available time.  Many would like to engage an intern to help, but simply can’t afford to pay them – but do they need to?

Heralded as the ‘world’s best kept secret’ for business owners, it is not only possible to have an unpaid intern, but very advantageous to do so.  So if you’re under-resourced and time poor (read: everyone!) here’s why you should consider engaging an international student intern, and how you can obtain one:

Why should I consider an international student intern?

A qualified (and possibly experienced) extra set of hands

Every business appreciates an extra set of hands for the projects that they just don’t have time to do themselves.  With interns qualified in areas such as accounting and ICT, there is a vast array of valuable and important projects you can receive assistance with.

What’s more, many international student interns also have work experience, that they obtained previously in their home country.  This means that only minimal training may be required, and you may be able to receive assistance on more senior projects.

Motivation and positivity in droves

No matter how great your business is, it can always benefit from more positive and motivated employees! International students who are at the beginning of their careers in Australia are known for their positivity, motivation and great work ethic, and as such can be a great asset to your team.

Value in diversity

Cultural diversity is so important for any business – organisations that are culturally diverse are more profitable, as well as more innovative, and all employees of culturally diverse organisations are more engaged, and happier at work. International students can also bring particular diversity benefits including the ability to talk to your customers or clients in different languages, and an in-depth understanding of overseas markets and business cultures.

It’s free (legally)

As all business owners would know, it is very difficult to (legally) hire an unpaid intern.

However, when you engage an international student intern, they complete their intern placement (usually 12 week, full-time or part-time) as part of a course called Professional Year, So, it is perfectly legal to engage them in this manner, and one of the only legal ways to do so (vocational placement according to the Fair Work Act).

How can I obtain one?

Outcome.Life is proud to be able to provide businesses with talented and motivated international student interns.  Feel free to contact me at domenic@outcome.life  , reach out via LinkedIn, or give me a call on 0410 662 393 to find out more.

Outcome.Life is a visionary portal that helps to transform the lives of international students through education, connectivity, community, and much more.

Why hiring graduates isn’t a cost to small business

New graduates are stepping out of university and finding it harder than ever to gain employment.

They often turn to the graduate programs offered by large companies, where in some industries they take on hundreds of new recruits annually. For those that aren’t successful in these initiatives, or find themselves in an industry where programs like this don’t exit, it can be cause for concern.

These graduates are particularly reliant on small businesses to fill the gaps.

LinkedIn Insights shows that 80% of small businesses hire graduates but only 12% have formal graduate recruiting programs. These stats illustrate that most small-medium enterprises (SMEs) want to hire graduates but hardly any commit to it becoming a regular aspect of the business through a dedicated system.

The number of applicants far outweighs the number of graduate jobs today and small businesses should be taking advantage of this talent pool available to them. Small businesses in Australia employ around 2.5 million people and without them, the local economy would have difficulty functioning.

So why should small businesses take on a graduate?

It’s a cycle that needs support

As many university and TAFE courses today include a work integrated learning component, students are able to gain experience while studying. This type of work is usually in the form of an internship and is undertaken unpaid.

While some students look at it negatively as they don’t have the potential to earn money, it is somewhat necessary to reduce the cost that they may have on small businesses. Being able to take on a student without the need to pay a full wage makes small business much more inclined to participate as a host company.

It’s a cycle that needs to be supported by both businesses and students to work effectively.

The cost is on the decline

As students are now graduating with more experience than previously, it means that the cost of hiring someone straight out of university is getting lower.

Graduates now usually have some experience under their belts, so when they are getting paid in a graduate or entry-level position, there is less of a cost to businesses again as they can get into regular work quicker.

The learning curve that graduates have traditionally come with is no longer as steep. This is because they will require less time training for basics and will already have an idea of what working in the industry is like.

Host companies can use student internships to their advantage as a way to ‘try before they buy’. A 12-week internship, for instance, can be seen as an extended job interview where an ongoing position can be offered based on this.

Graduates shouldn’t be seen as a cost

Graduates are young and beaming and can bring something new to an office or workplace, as they have the most up-to-date knowledge and education compared to experienced workers.

Those from overseas can prove to be particularly valuable as they have a cultural and global awareness. Graduates can offer a fresh take on things and can adapt quicker as they aren’t used to being buried in bureaucracy.

The last thing that they should be classified as is merely an expense. The view that they may leave after having time invested in their learning shouldn’t be a deterrent as, if you offer them the right conditions, they won’t want to leave at all.

The value that the can add to a business is huge and is often overlooked since it can’t be quantified with a dollar value.

While graduates may not necessarily be able to bring in new business right away, they can offer the perspective that is needed to retain and enhance existing projects.

Why internships aren’t what they used to be

There are more people doing internships now than ever before and this increase didn’t happen overnight. However, it’s not only the increase in students undertaking internships that is noteworthy. It’s the nature of the internships themselves that are different from how they once were.

Back in the day, people only undertook internships, work placements or periods of unpaid work to find out more about an industry. Placements existed to help students gain a better understanding of work in a particular field and guide them in selecting the right subjects or courses to reach their career goals.

Take the Year 10 work experience program, for instance. In theory, it is designed to give students a taste of life at work and help them select the right subjects as they enter Years 11 and 12, to match their preferred career path.

In reality, it’s not like that for all students.

Here’s why internships aren’t the way they used to be.

Internships lead to employment

The kids in Year 10 who are only 15 or 16 years old are already feeling the brunt of how hard it is to find a job, which is why they are using their work experience opportunity to gain experience in an area where they could potentially find employment in the short term.

Many of these students are desperately seeking to undertake their internships at retail stores, with the hopes that they will be hired by the company in a more permanent capacity.

While this is the case at high school, students and graduates at all levels are looking to complete an internship with the intention of it leading to employment.

Graduate Careers Australia found that in 2015, 67.4% of bachelor degree graduates were employed four months after graduating. These statistics combine full-time and part-time work and do not take into account the number of students who are working in fields not related to their area of study.

Students and graduates at all levels of education are feeling the need to intern, as they see that it not only leads to a job, but a job they want.

Internships are no longer an option

Internships are often embedded in courses, even at tertiary level. Education providers are seeing the need to give students practical experience and have introduced compulsory requirements of courses that involve internships.

These courses do not give students the option to intern. Rather, it is mandatory.

As these internships are completed by students already locked into their preferred course, they are not designed to help them discover their desired area of study, but again have a focus on obtaining experience for future employment.

This is another reason why internships aren’t fulfilling the purpose they once were designed to achieve.

Experience is expected

Employers don’t want to hire someone with only the theoretical knowledge learnt at university or TAFE.

It’s now an expectation that work experience has been completed to complement studies. Some students even actively seek courses involving a working component, over courses that do not offer such a thing.

The existence of the Professional Year program for internationals is an example of this. Designed with work experience front and centre, the course aligns with the nature of internships today, and that is, that internships are a vital pathway to gaining permanent employment.

With a shift in the role that they play, internships are now more important than they have ever been, as they’re no longer just to get an insiders look into an industry, but rather a foot in the door.

Why startups and education providers should go hand in hand

Innovation and startups are set to be the future of the Australian, and possibly even global, employment landscape.

However, educational institutions place a greater  emphasis on students and graduates obtaining employment in established companies in favour of startups.

With reports stating that the concept of automation will see five million Aussie jobs gone in the next 10 to 15 year,  Australians should be thinking about their current skill set and the changing nature of the industry they are in to ensure ongoing employment..

           The alliance between  industry, including startups and educators, has never been more important.

Australia needs to maintain and advance upon our global ranking of 7th in the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Index.

Despite this seemingly high ranking, Australia still has a relatively low rate of startup formation for a developed nation.

Education providers need to be taking this into account in not only the types of courses they offer, but also the components taught in existing courses, including more emphasis on startups.

Greater emphasis on startups in courses

Universities usually encourage their graduates to find employment at large, multi-national companies, as these are traditionally seen as employers of choice

However, there should be a push for graduates to think about joining startups and/or starting their own business from early on, ideally when they are still students and generally don’t bare financial and family responsibilities .

While financial limitations will hamper young students’ ability to start their own businesses, it should be ingrained into them that the goal is attainable, even if at a time in the future.

This can be taught in courses and experienced by partnering with the University’s local startup ecosystem; making students feel that they are equipped to commence a business of their own.

Teaching a diverse skill set of entrepreneurial skills, as well as promoting an entrepreneurial mindset,will provide immense benefits for those looking at launching their own startup and putting their ideas into action.

The right working spaces

There is a growing number of co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and small businesses, but not many are aligned with universities, nor designed with students in mind.

Co-working spaces are becoming more niche.  For instance, our Outcome-Hub in Melbourne is a co-working space designed specifically for international graduates to start their own businesses in Australia, rather than in their home country.

Universities are places where this type of co-working should commence. Regular ‘libraries’ are suited to study and research but a greater emphasis needs to be placed on the concept of co-working and the development of business at educational institutions.

Universities should create and promote dedicated spaces open to students at all levels and from all faculties to foster an entrepreneurial environment. This could have dedicated mentors available to allow for greater discussion and implementation of ideas between students.

Interns at startups

Internship opportunities at startups should be pushed so that students can see first-hand how new startup business operate.

Instead, Universities generally encourage their students to take intern roles, as part of courses, at established, long-standing companies where they become a small cog in a very large machine

While this type of experience is also important, students should be given the chance to apply their skills and knowledge in startups where, typically, they are given a greater range of roles and responsibilities.

Interns at startups can also make a greater impact on the business, especially in its infancy. Being resource poor, student interns are encouraged to do more, and think outside the box, something the Universities say they teach, but rarely implement outside the classroom.  The experience in startups for interns is real, rather than observational as it often is at major firms.

If we agree that innovation and startups are set to be the future of the Australian employment, Universities need to incorporate entrepreneurial thinking and experience into their courses.  After all, grass level learnings are always a better way to ingrain important concepts in people’s minds.

Why startups and companies should give International interns a go

Just like shoes, university courses, and Pokemon lures, not all internships are created equal.  Some are enriching, inspirational experiences, where you learn more than you ever dreamed of about the profession, organisation and people that surround you.  These types of internships categorically set you up for career success – these are the way internships should be.  However, there are other types of internships – those that do not set you up for success.  These are the ones that every intern has nightmares about.  The ones where you sit in the corner on Facebook (if you’re lucky!), incessantly watching the clock until your internship ends and then you feel like a failure.  No one wants these types of internships yet unfortunately,  they still exist.

But how do you know which one you’ll get? Fortunately, the type of internship you end up with is well within your control.  So for every international student who wants to make their internship count, here’s our advice on what you need to do:

 

Do your research

Like most things in life, thorough preparation is the key to choosing the right internship.  You’ll need to research your potential host organisation, the person who will be your direct manager (to a degree – stalking not required!), and also you’ll need to understand your potential job description in more detail (if you’ve been provided with one).  Your research to-do list should include:

    1. Research the organisation you’ll work for.  What are the company’s values? Can you garner any information on the organisational culture? How do they appear to treat their employees? Although you won’t always be able to find this information (especially for small businesses or startups who don’t yet have a big digital presence!), you might still be able to get some clues as to how your potential host organisation treat their employees, which might give you an indication of how you’ll be treated.
    2. Research the person you’ll be working for. As the saying goes, pick a boss, not a job – and for interns, that is particularly true.  Your direct supervisor has the ability to make or break your internship so you want to ensure that they also want to make your experience meaningful.  Although there is no real way to evaluate this prior to meeting the person, if you want to be a little sneaky, look up their LinkedIn profile.  Do they have any positive reviews from past colleagues or direct reports? Have they had management experience? These factors could indicate that they may be good intern managers.
      • Understand your job description.  You’ll only get the most out of your internship if you understand, enjoy, and are able to complete the tasks on your job description.  That’s why it’s important that you take the time to evaluate it, and prepare any questions you might have prior to your internship interview.

 

 

Ask the right questions in the interview

Many international students believe that an interview is a one-way street where they are assessed for the job and that’s about it – but this is untrue.  An interview is also your chance to (politely and respectfully) ask questions of your interviewer to ascertain whether the internship is right for you.

Asking the following questions will help you establish the quality of your internship:

 

  • Can you tell me a bit more about what I’ll be doing day-to-day.? Look for a somewhat detailed response to this question – if your interviewer doesn’t know, there’s a chance they haven’t got much planned for you!
  • If I run out of work, what should I do? This question is your assurance that you won’t be Facebooking all day – if the interviewer says ‘you can either approach me or XYZ person’ you know that you can, at any time, request more work.
  • I’m really keen to advance my career.  What skills do you think I’ll learn from this internship? Again, this is an assurance for you that you’ll get the experience you’ll need.
  • Feedback is so important to me.  How will that be provided throughout the internship? The one thing interns need more than anything is feedback, so they know whether or not they are doing a good job.  If your interviewer has a plan for giving you feedback, you’ll know that they’re prioritising your development.

Beyond the above questions, try to subtly assess your interviewer.  Do they seem genuinely interested in your professional development? Do they seem eager to get you involved in their team? If so, they’ll be more likely to invest the time and energy required to provide you with a good experience.

 

Choose a reputable internship provider

Try as you might, it can be very difficult to pick a good internship from a bad one.  Often, the signs just aren’t there and you might end up in a bad internship, despite your best efforts not to.

Herein lies the importance of choosing a reputable internship provider.  The best internship providers always vet their host organisations to ensure they provide students with an enriching experience.  They also put in place structures, such as learning agreements and regular catch ups, to ensure that both the student and host organisation are getting the most out of the internship.

 

Are you an international student considering an internship in the future? Contact us for a chat (gerard@outcome.life) to start planning or come and see us at our next event:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/stories-of-startup-and-career-success-with-special-guest-uber-tickets-26988333833?aff=LinkedIn

The importance of choosing the RIGHT internship, especially for international students

Just like shoes, university courses, and Pokemon lures, not all internships are created equal.  Some are enriching, inspirational experiences, where you learn more than you ever dreamed of about the profession, organisation and people that surround you.  These types of internships categorically set you up for career success – these are the way internships should be.  However, there are other types of internships – those that do not set you up for success.  These are the ones that every intern has nightmares about.  The ones where you sit in the corner on Facebook (if you’re lucky!), incessantly watching the clock until your internship ends and then you feel like a failure.  No one wants these types of internships yet unfortunately,  they still exist.

But how do you know which one you’ll get? Fortunately, the type of internship you end up with is well within your control.  So for every international student who wants to make their internship count, here’s our advice on what you need to do:

 

Do your research

Like most things in life, thorough preparation is the key to choosing the right internship.  You’ll need to research your potential host organisation, the person who will be your direct manager (to a degree – stalking not required!), and also you’ll need to understand your potential job description in more detail (if you’ve been provided with one).  Your research to-do list should include:

    1. Research the organisation you’ll work for.  What are the company’s values? Can you garner any information on the organisational culture? How do they appear to treat their employees? Although you won’t always be able to find this information (especially for small businesses or startups who don’t yet have a big digital presence!), you might still be able to get some clues as to how your potential host organisation treat their employees, which might give you an indication of how you’ll be treated.
    2. Research the person you’ll be working for. As the saying goes, pick a boss, not a job – and for interns, that is particularly true.  Your direct supervisor has the ability to make or break your internship so you want to ensure that they also want to make your experience meaningful.  Although there is no real way to evaluate this prior to meeting the person, if you want to be a little sneaky, look up their LinkedIn profile.  Do they have any positive reviews from past colleagues or direct reports? Have they had management experience? These factors could indicate that they may be good intern managers.
      • Understand your job description.  You’ll only get the most out of your internship if you understand, enjoy, and are able to complete the tasks on your job description.  That’s why it’s important that you take the time to evaluate it, and prepare any questions you might have prior to your internship interview.

 

 

Ask the right questions in the interview

Many international students believe that an interview is a one-way street where they are assessed for the job and that’s about it – but this is untrue.  An interview is also your chance to (politely and respectfully) ask questions of your interviewer to ascertain whether the internship is right for you.

Asking the following questions will help you establish the quality of your internship:

 

  • Can you tell me a bit more about what I’ll be doing day-to-day.? Look for a somewhat detailed response to this question – if your interviewer doesn’t know, there’s a chance they haven’t got much planned for you!
  • If I run out of work, what should I do? This question is your assurance that you won’t be Facebooking all day – if the interviewer says ‘you can either approach me or XYZ person’ you know that you can, at any time, request more work.
  • I’m really keen to advance my career.  What skills do you think I’ll learn from this internship? Again, this is an assurance for you that you’ll get the experience you’ll need.
  • Feedback is so important to me.  How will that be provided throughout the internship? The one thing interns need more than anything is feedback, so they know whether or not they are doing a good job.  If your interviewer has a plan for giving you feedback, you’ll know that they’re prioritising your development.

Beyond the above questions, try to subtly assess your interviewer.  Do they seem genuinely interested in your professional development? Do they seem eager to get you involved in their team? If so, they’ll be more likely to invest the time and energy required to provide you with a good experience.

 

Choose a reputable internship provider

Try as you might, it can be very difficult to pick a good internship from a bad one.  Often, the signs just aren’t there and you might end up in a bad internship, despite your best efforts not to.

Herein lies the importance of choosing a reputable internship provider.  The best internship providers always vet their host organisations to ensure they provide students with an enriching experience.  They also put in place structures, such as learning agreements and regular catch ups, to ensure that both the student and host organisation are getting the most out of the internship.

 

Are you an international student considering an internship in the future? Contact us for a chat (gerard@outcome.life) to start planning or come and see us at our next event:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/stories-of-startup-and-career-success-with-special-guest-uber-tickets-26988333833?aff=LinkedIn

International students can do it too, so why don’t we let them?

It’s not a stretch to liken international students in Australia today with women in the 1940s.Just like the ‘we can do it!’ poster that emerged during the Second World War that promoted the role of women in the workforce, a movement similar to this should be happening in Australia.

A major difference is that women were encouraged to work in manufacturing at this time and were given the opportunities to do so. Later we saw the poster image being used to promote feminism, again acting as an empowering motif.

Outcome.Life has launched a street poster campaign similar to this promoting international students in Australia and showing that they can make it here too.

Unlike the women from the old and well-known poster campaign, international students are not given the same opportunity to show what they can do.

They have barriers that prevent them from succeeding and we all aren’t giving them the same prospects to get ahead and do well.

So my question is, why don’t we let them?

They can do it

International students form a large portion of the total students in Australia and want to be doing everything just like the rest of us who were born in this beautiful country.

They account for approximately 24% of total students in the higher education sector, with the highest numbers we have ever seen flocking to our shores to gain Australian qualifications.

We can then say that international students are learning the same things as local students and in turn graduates too have the same qualifications.

On top of that, they have an eagerness to learn, work and live here that some Australians take for granted.

We take without giving much in return

Education plays a large role in Australia’s economy, not only for educating our future generations but also as one of our biggest exports.

In 2016, education was Australia’s 3rd largest export with international education being worth $22.4 billion to the Australian economy.

On saying this, Hobsons Solutions report from last year shows that only 34% of workplaces hire international graduates.

International graduates that I have known and worked with, have found that employers find hiring them a ‘risk’ if they are not a permanent resident.

Australia seems so willing to take money from these people for their own benefit particularly with the excessively high price tags put on courses and places for international students.

Yet we are reluctant to offer them jobs in return for the contribution they’ve already made to our economy.

We need to increase opportunities

Not only is it important to cast light on the challenges these people face in Australia, but we need to be creating scope for them to succeed.

I’d like to see more workplaces willing to recruit international graduates rather than disregard them compared to those that were born here.

We need to play our part in empowering them to do what they came here to do, because they so desperately want to work and live here, even if we don’t appreciate it.

They know that they can do it. All we should to be doing is offer them the courage, optimism and opportunities they need.

Why Budding Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Feel Ashamed If Their Startups Aren’t Successful

There is a stigma about having an unsuccessful startup as it can quickly go from excitedly telling others about your idea to explaining why you have moved back in with your parents. But failing a startup shouldn’t be viewed so negatively by those in the business world or by others.

Many budding entrepreneurs who decide to commence a startup are excited about potential growth while nervous about failure, but the statistics aren’t helping any fears people might have.

A report from Dun & Bradstreet shows that the startup failure rate is on the rise with a 42% increase in the number of startups ceasing operations.

While it is challenging to make it big, people should not be ashamed for opening a startup that didn’t go as planned.

Many people will look at this as a bad thing, but here’s why it is quite the opposite.

It’s not failing, it’s practice

An unsuccessful startup should be placed in the same category as practice or training. Just like you train for a marathon or study before a test, the only real way to practice running a business is to actually start one.

Startups are the best way to do practice as there’s a lot less on the line than buying an established business or franchise. Failing a business in its early stages is much more harmless than folding later down the track.

There are less staff that will become unemployed and there is likely to be less money invested.

People shouldn’t think of it as investing time and money into a business that went nowhere. If you don’t win a gold medal, does that make competing at the Olympics any less of a valuable experience? No, and it’s the same in the startup and small business world.

There’s still scope for a second, third and fourth chance

Classifying an unsuccessful startup as ‘practice’ implies that there will be another attempt at starting a business and many people that I come across are planning to do just that.

This cloud really does have a silver lining and the founders of these businesses could use what they have learnt for the better.

Things from the get-go could be done different, experts should be called in sooner or more market research undertaken.

These are the most common things I hear when talking to former startup owners that they wish they had done.

Attitudes need to change

Many people that try to start businesses in Australia can’t stand the thought of failing.

Some cultures, particularly in Asia, do not accept a failed business in such a way, and international students in Australia don’t want to go home and explain to their parents that their business was hardly able to take off the ground.

I have worked with budding entrepreneurs in Outcome.Hub, most which are international students. One international graduate had a shot at creating an app that simplifies the process of choosing a restaurant. However, the pin was pulled early when it was discovered it was too hard of an app to monetise.

While the founder feels like a disappointment and is trying to save face in front of his parents, it should be seen in a completely different light.

I know that this particular graduate has learnt so much from what has been an incredibly valuable experience but many people, and even the statistics, don’t see it that way.

Our perceptions and attitudes towards failed businesses needs to change so that it isn’t seen as a bad thing but as more of a stepping stone to startup success.

An Open Letter To Pauline Hanson About International Students Working In Australia

Pauline Hanson is back at it again, trying to strip international students of working rights in Australia. It’s disheartening that she thinks they are undeserving of the opportunity to have a job and earn money, if they are willing to do so.

She advocates that they should complete their studies here without working, a ridiculous assertion given that the two go hand-in-hand, even for Australian students.

International students are already at a disadvantage and can’t afford to be deprived of anything else, especially not their working visas.

Even if they are working in jobs not particularly relevant to their studies, the Australian workplace experience they are receiving is vital. They have moved to a country where they don’t know many people, if any at all, so need to build up their networks however possible as well as fit in society and make friends.

While Hanson claims that international students should be self-supporting, we don’t make it easy for it to be the case.

International students obtain the same qualifications from Australian universities as local students, making them equally suitable for jobs, yet their job prospects in the longer-term are a lot bleaker.

While the qualifications and certificates are identical, the course fees on the other hand are far from that. International students are paying over-inflated fees, up to 400% more than what it costs local students to study. They need working rights while studying to help make up that difference in whatever way possible and Pauline Hanson is trying to deny them of that.

International students and graduates are already faced with prejudice when seeking employment. It ranges from the obvious with job advertisements out there stating that only Australian citizens can apply, to the more discreet where employers face unwarranted concerns over accepting them into their companies and conceal the real reason for not hiring them over someone else.

If their work rights were to be entirely removed, the Australian economy would suffer. Education is one of our largest exports and not being able to work will see international student numbers, and export revenue, dramatically decline. While Hanson acknowledges the economic benefits international students afford us, she forgets that we have to offer something in return for it to be sustainable. It is wrong to assume that international students don’t deserve any rights for making such a valuable contribution to our economy. The least we can do is offer them the right to work and earn money and this can further bolster the economy by filling gaps in industries left by Australians.

Hanson is happy for international students to continue to subsidise our own kids’ education  but when it comes to work, it’s classified as taking jobs away. It makes no sense that she claims they are ‘taking’ jobs but not ‘taking’ university places. Her attitude is based on the premise that the former injects money into our economy, while the latter will be less likely to do so.

If international students are willing to work, why are we depriving them of the potential to earn money? Their earnings are likely to remain in Australia, in the form of paying tuition fees and living expenses. International students I have met are incredibly hard working and will do almost anything to find employment. They are faced with enough challenges in trying to find jobs with current visa and working arrangements that they do not need these to be stripped back any further.

Australia is known to be a migrant nation and if we really are, we need to continue to allow international students the right to work in the interests of fairness and to give them something in return for the significant contribution they are already making to our economy.

As a politician, Pauline Hanson should know that you can’t receive without giving something in return and the same applies to international students being given the right to work. The prejudice needs to stop and instead of working rights being removed from the hands of international students, we should be looking for more ways to level out the playing field and encourage them to see success in Australia whether it be finding jobs or starting their own businesses here.

Looking for your first job? Land an internship instead

Ask anyone looking to land their first great job and they’ll tell you that finding a job in their industry isn’t easy. The likelihood of getting a call back from an advertised  position on a job board is fairly low given the high number of applicants relative to a single position.Undertaking an internship prior to looking for your first permanent role may be a better choice.In industries such as investment banking, statistics show that up to 80% of positions are filled by people who have already undertaken an internship at the same firm. Statistics like these can’t be ignored. Here’s why an internship may be the best way to get a job you’ll love.Experience is vitalWhile previous employment in retail, hospitality or similar industries can demonstrate customer service skills and workplace experience, it probably won’t be enough.Experience in a relevant or similar industry to that desired is mostly favoured by employers. It is not only the experience itself that is significant but other facets of the internship that prove beneficial.Interning in the industry allows the opportunity to build contacts and expand your professional network, increasing opportunities for employment and collaboration in the future.The experience can also create positive relationships between you and others from the host organisation and ultimately lead to the perfect reference for a future job. After all, recruiters are more likely value a reference from someone you have worked for rather than someone you haven’t.For internationals, many businesses expect new recruits to already have had previous experience in Australia. But how do you get local work experience if everyone already wants you to have local work experience? An internship is the perfect way to achieve this.

Learn on the job

Older people will be able to tell you that once you would get trained on the job and prior experience or education was not required. Unfortunately, this rarely happens these days and some extent of education and previous work is expected.

I think that internships should be viewed as the modern-day version of ‘getting trained on the job’. They allow for practical learning and experience to coincide with education and existing qualifications and are a segue into further employment, possibly at the same company.

Qualifications aren’t enough

Various universities, TAFEs and other educational institutions are offering internships as part of their courses.

Educational institutions are seeking to improve graduate employability and they too are recognising that a qualification alone is no longer sufficient to land a job in certain industries.

For those currently completing courses where an internship is only optional, I think you’re crazy not to be doing it.

Prove yourself in person and not on a piece of a paper

You have 12 weeks to show the value that you can bring to your host organisation during your internship. Make yourself indispensable and ensure that by the end of the internship, everyone in the organisation knows who you are and how you have benefited the company.

Internships also allow for networking. You meet customers, other staff members, suppliers and even friends of colleagues. There is no choice but to network with people from different ages, demographics and cultures, which ultimately gives you the opportunity to prove yourself to an even broader spectrum of people.