Students undertaking the Science Work Placement course gain a genuine experience of working in a science or technology-related workplace. It is the core of a subject credited to their degree. The students are supervised and monitored by the Course Convenor.
From February 2019, UNSW is launching UNSW3+, a new academic calendar which will enable students to build experiences into their degree in any term, giving them access to placements all year round. UNSW3+ allows students more flexibility to increase or decrease their study load depending on the circumstances, and with the right planning an entire term in their degree can be made available to focus on gaining relevant industrial experience whilst maintaining full time student status and gaining credit toward their degree.
What happens in the internship?
The internship involves a placement of a minimum of 105 hours (three weeks full-time or spread out part-time across a semester) in a single organisation, working as an intern while gaining experience of the science and technology-related work conducted in that organisation. Students build on their existing skills, with guidance, and are expected to contribute productively to a project or series of activities set up by the organisation for their placement.
Participating in the internship will also enable students to observe the nature of the organisation more generally – its structure, how different components of the organisation interact, how projects and teams are organised to achieve their goals, and the different ways in which those with a science background apply this in the workplace.
What is expected of the internship host?
Internship hosts will provide a meaningful experience of their workplace for students. They will provide experienced staff to induct, supervise and mentor their intern and to provide a brief student evaluation report at the conclusion of the internship, comprising 10% of the students assessment. The host organisation will provide a safe working environment for the intern.
What sort of work do interns do?
The nature of the work conducted by the intern will clearly depend on the organisation.
Interns may spend time shadowing members of staff in science-related roles, contributing in an assisting capacity to a range of activities. Interns may be asked to be a team member on a project for the duration of the internship – an ongoing project, or one that is completed during the internship. Interns may be assigned to an individual project that can be completed within the hours of the placement. Alternatively, the placement may be a combination of these. Specific tasks may be largely office-based and include data entry, literature searches, or preparation of figures for presentation/marketing materials. Alternatively, depending upon the organisation and project, there may be opportunities for hands on laboratory or field-based activities.
Before embarking on their placement interns will participate in compulsory induction online module that will prepare them for the placement.
What are the benefits for the host organisation?
The internship program offers organisations the opportunity to interact with students close to graduation. Students undertaking this subject have demonstrated the initiative to explore the different career pathways that particularly interest them. Even if you are unlikely to be recruiting in the immediate future, offering internship placements provides you with an opportunity to excite the next generation in your areas of activity, increasing the likelihood that high quality employees will be available to your organisation into the future.
If you are a student and are interested in learning more, please submit your enquiry via the Ask a Question form.