Research Project Proposal: Internships

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Hands up if you want an internship?!

Coming into my final semester at UOW, now more than ever the concept of internships and gaining experience prior to graduating is being pushed like crazy. Luckily enough, I’ve completed three internships thus far and I start another three-month internship next week (bringing my grand total to four internships in three years)! Despite my eagerness to ‘bolster my skills and beef up my resume’ it seems the debate FOR and AGAINST internships is very strong and leaves everyone wondering whether the experience is worthwhile or simply just employers and companies seizing an opportunity to get free workers.

Given I’m still at university, the topic aims to gather further information on a highly prevalent topic that I can properly address within the timeframe and achieve a well-rounded response. As such, I’m interested in gaining further insight into how students feel about internships, are they worth our time or just about the coffee runs and unpaid office help? The research topic I’ve selected is: ‘Are internships worth our time and effort, or are they just a way of ‘using and abusing’ students and wasting their time?’

Background Research Sources 

Having completed background research, it is abundantly clear that my internships topic addresses an issue worth exploring. I’ve been able to find numerous source outlining differing critical viewpoints:

Source 1: 

Facebook post with attached article, which generated high levels of attention and a massive chat about internships (for reference) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10214881235959846&set=gm.1725050140884747&type=3&theater&ifg=1

Attached article link https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/fair-work-ombudsman-to-investigate-1000-unpaid-internships-after-serious-questions-raised-20180316-p4z4of.html

After seeing a snippet of this article posted on ‘UOW Commerce Students Buy and Sell’ and more importantly after reading the massive scroll of comments, my mind was set on a research topic. The comments being written by students demonstrated that the topic was one worth further research and insight. Sure, unpaid internships are happening every day, but apparently, students are actually paying money to gain unpaid work experience! The director of Melbourne based company Future Squared, Zakk Goodsell has told Fairfax Media the internships was a form of “recruitment process in order to weed out the better workers and that unpaid internships are necessary to prepare people for the real world of work.” Therefore, this source alone showcases the massive debate involving internships and there value for students, mostly in a negative light.

Source 2: 


The aspect of this article that I loved the most, was how it delved into both sides of the argument and showed both the positive and negative aspects that come from internships and unpaid work for students. As suggested by the author, they are a way of employers taking advantage as demonstrated by the court case involving Crocmedia where internships involved working night shifts for seven days out of ten, for six months unpaid. However, conversely, it also states that “a good internship is priceless and an excellent way to get your foot in the door for a graduate position”. There’s always a catch 22 “of voting the internship system, but that kind of employment (and experience) is hard to ignore.”

Source 3: 


Lastly, I found an extremely negative article further adding ‘fuel to the fire’ so to speak with the author Maureen Henderson listing four reasons the internship era needs to end. The author completely opens the lid on why university students are so quick to assume internships are the best way to launch their careers? Maureen argues that internships “don’t help you build useful skills, your wellbeing doesn’t matter to employers, students generally can’t afford it and internships don’t lead to a job with the company in most cases!

So naturally, after reading these articles I was even further intrigued! I think this is going to be a highly relevant and on-point topic based on where I’m at within my degree. I can’t wait to delve further into this area and I feel many students would love to help me out with information and share their experiences with me.



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