Frequently Asked Questions - Students

1. What is the difference between an Internship, Project, Work Experience and Volunteering?

For all four types of industry experience: internships, projects, work experience or volunteering, students must notify the School of Communication International Studies and Languages and obtain an insurance form. 

ALL students must contact cilplacements@unisa.edu.au to ensure you are covered and protected by the University’s insurance policy.

Internships and Projects in the School of Communication, International Studies & Languages form part of the compulsory Internship or Project course (COMM 3063) offered to third year students enrolled in the following programs:

- Bachelor of Journalism & Professional Writing (including its associated double degree)
- Bachelor of Communication & Media
- Bachelor of Media Arts
- Bachelor of Arts (Sociology major only)

Internships consist of students working on-site as part of an organisation during a minimum of 80 hours. Internships are generally unpaid and are formally assessed. Students are expected to be supervised by and have a mentoring-style relationship with a senior person in a role related to the discipline of the particular student. The supervisor must be available to the student for guidance as well as regular feedback. Tasks given to students should be meaningful and appropriate to their level of skill. Administration and non-relevant tasks should be kept to no more than 10% of the entire duration of the internship. In order to qualify for an internship, students must have achieved a grade point average (GPA ) of 5 (equivalent to a Credit) or higher and have completed 72 units (equivalent to 16 courses) prior to commencing the course.

project is a planned body of work provided by an employer to an individual student or team of students that results in the delivery of an agreed, tangible outcome. Projects are formally assessed, and can involve either a single discipline or a collaboration of disciplines offered within the School. The project consists of students working off-site for a minimum of 80 hours (for each individual), however the employer is expected to meet with the students on at least three occasions to brief, monitor and evaluate the progress. Projects are generally unpaid. The project should be guided by a manager who is suitably experienced in the relevant discipline area/s. Tasks within the project should be meaningful and appropriate to the student’s level of skills. There is no minimum GPA requirement for this component of the course, however, students must have completed 72 units (equivalent to 16 courses) prior to commencing the course.

Work experience and Volunteering are any not-for-credit opportunities that fall outside the Internship or Project course within the School, and be completed in any year of the student’s program. Work experience is generally related to the discipline the student is studying, whilst volunteering can be any opportunity not directly related to a student’s discipline. Both are generally unpaid and non-assessed.  Further information can be found here.

2. What are the benefits of completing an internship, project, work experience or volunteering opportunity?

Industry experience, which includes internships, projects and work experience opportunities will expose you to your chosen industry and help you to build important networks by introducing you to professional practitioners working in your field. It is an important element of your studies and career development, and will help you put what you have been learning into context. It will also help you to work out the areas of your chosen field of in which you would like to specialise during your professional career after university.

Additionally, industry experience as well as volunteering opportunities will contribute to your personal development by helping you build on your confidence, inter-personal, communication and organisational skills.  It be a valuable addition to your CV as you draw closer to completing your studies.

3. Am I eligible to complete the Internship or Project course (COMM 3063)?

Students enrolled in the programs listed below and have completed 72 units (equivalent to 16 courses), prior to commencing their internship or project are eligible to complete the course:

- Bachelor of Journalism & Professional Writing (including its associated double degree)
- Bachelor of Communication & Media
- Bachelor of Media Arts
- Bachelor of Arts (Sociology major only)

Students with a grade point average (GPA) of 5 (Credit), are eligible to complete the internship component of the course. Students who do not meet this requirement or are unable to undertake an internship, are required to undertake an industry-based project. Both internships and projects must be approved by the Course Coordinator before their commencement. 

Please note, if you are enrolled in a legacy degree*, please consult with your Program Director for eligibility prior to enrolment.

4. When can I do my internship or project?

Ideally, the 80 hours (minimum) of internship or project will be completed in the study period in which you are enrolled in COMM 3063 Internship or Project.

However, you may commence in the study break immediately prior to study period in which you are enrolled. Please contact cilplacements@unisa.edu.au for approval.

If you start an industry experience before this (ie in the previous study period) then those hours will not count for credit within COMM 3063. In that case, you may complete an additional 80 hours at that organisation during the Study Period, or elect to use it as not-for-credit work experience and find another internship or project to use for COMM 3063 credit.

5. Am I responsible for finding my own internships, projects, work experience and volunteering opportunities?

Yes, students are ultimately responsible for finding their own opportunities.  Having said that, organisations can sometimes be inundated with student internship requests. If you plan to approach an Adelaide news outlet or creative industries agency (e.g. PR, advertising or marketing firms or film and media organisations) please consult CILplacements@unisa.edu.au prior to making contact with any organisation. 

You will be required to complete either an internship or project Registration Form that lists the potential organisations you would like to work for and approach, as well as your goals and objectives.

Concurrent to your own research into opportunities, the School conducts constant industry engagement activities, seeking out opportunities for internships and projects. Depending on whether it is an internship or project opportunity, these positions will be advised through the COMM 3063 course site on your online student portal.

Work Experience and Volunteering opportunities are advertised either through Career Hub or on occasions via email to all students. 

6. Am I covered by the University’s Insurance policy?

Yes, if you are currently enrolled as a UniSA student, you are covered by the University’s Insurance policy. This applies to internships, projects, work experience, volunteering opportunities and any type of field work. The FS23 Insurance is an important legal document required for all placements, with the only exception relating to students who will be getting paid for their work. In this instance, the host organisation should be covering you. 

Please contact CILplacements@unisa.edu.au well before commencing your industry experience to begin organising the insurance process for you.

7. What should I do prior to searching for internships, projects, work experience or volunteering opportunities?

It is important that you set your goals and objectives first. What type of experience are you looking for? What type of organisation/ working environment would you like to work in? What would you like to gain from your experience? What do you hope to achieve? It's important that you take the time to prepare yourself for industry experience. As a student of the School of CIL, you can undertake our Industry Experience preparation module at this link.

Once you have determined these goals and objectives, you will then need to prepare/ update your CV, and if applicable, your LinkedIn account. There are many online resources and workshops run by Career Services that can help you market yourself in the best way possible. You should also do as much research as possible on the organisations you want to work for, as well as speaking with people and building your networks to help you gain the right type of experience.

8. How do I find a suitable host organisation?

Firstly, try to identify an organisation that offers the best opportunity for you to experience the professional skills development and personal qualities that you would like to gain. You are not limited to South Australia when undertaking your internship, project, work experience or volunteering opportunity, although there are some implications. Please contact CILplacements@unisa.edu.au if you find yourself in this situation. 

Students may nominate their own host organisations, or select from those advertised on this course website. If you are nominating your own, you must first gain approval from CIL Placements before approaching them. Please complete either the internship or Project Registration form, and wait for a response from the CIL Placements office.

Students seeking to approach organisations for work experience opportunities, should still seek approval from CIL Placements to prevent clashes with assessed internship and project students. No approval from CIL Placements is necessary for work experience and volunteer opportunities advertised on the Career Services website.

9. I’ve secured an internship/ project/ work experience/ volunteering opportunity, what now?

Please advise CILplacements@unisa.edu.au immediately with the following details of your opportunity:

1: Host organisation name and supervisor’s phone number and email address.

2: Start and end dates of your placement.

We also require your full name, student ID and program code. This will kick-start the insurance process, which is taken care of by CIL Placements. For internship and project students, you will also need to organise your Learning Agreement forms as well as your timesheets. CIL Placements will prompt you with what you need to do once you email them confirming that you have secured your opportunity.

10. What is expected of me during my time as an intern/ project/ work experience student or volunteer?

While host organisations will not be expecting you to be experts in your field, or understand their organisation in any great depth, awareness of the issues surrounding the industry will help you assimilate into the organisation at a faster rate, making your time with them more valuable, both for them, and yourself.

Whether it is a formal internship or project you are completing or simply a volunteering experience, hosts will expect you to be professional in the way in which you conduct your work and relate to others. This includes arriving on time, dressing appropriately and following any procedures and rules outlined by the organisation. If you are unsure of your host’s expectations, please clarify this with them beforehand.  

11. What should I do if I experience any problems during my time as an intern/ project/ work experience student or volunteer?

If you have problems during your time with an organisation, address them quickly, directly, and politely, with your supervisor. That is how problems are addressed and resolved in the workplace. If you cannot sort problems out in this way, raise them with the CIL Placements office, sooner rather than later. The problem may be minor, however a quick resolution will make your experience far more valuable. Please contact CILplacements@unisa.edu.au for any questions or concerns.

12. Can I be paid for my internship or project?

Most internships and projects will not be paid, however you may receive payment for the work if the organisation wishes to do so. 

Be aware that this will void the insurance cover your receive from the University and you MUST notify CILPlacements@unisa.edu.au if your internship or project will be a paid opportunity.

If you are paid you will be in an 'employment relationship' with the organisation.  You should therefore speak with your supervisor and check to see that you are covered by the organisation's insurance policies.

 

*enrolled in a School of Communication, International Studies and Languages degree prior to 2015 and did not transition to a new program.

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