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Building a pipeline for workforce readiness in social work graduates

What is the internship?

The Centre is implementing new workforce initiatives to explore ways to attract new workers and strengthen the sector. The Paid Internship Program is one such initiative. Preliminary data from the 2020 pilot program is showing positive outcomes for both interns and community service organisations.

Through the program, students entering the final year of their social work course from a participating university complete their Field Education placement and are concurrently employed with a local organisation. The length of the internship is determined by the individual service agency (e.g. 30, 40, 45 weeks).* The security of a set weekly income helps to alleviate financial burden for students, and their exposure to different teams within the organisation offers valuable breadth of experience.

Interns are provided:

  • Paid employment for 2 days per week, remunerated at a minimum rate of SCHADS Award Grade 2 Paypoint 1
  • Guaranteed Field Education experience within the same organisation. To ensure compliance with the Australian Social Work Education & Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS), this component will be undertaken in another program separate to their paid work role.
  • Access to individual supervision within their agency of employment.
  • Opportunity to network and gain knowledge within the family and community service sector.
  • A supportive environment for integrating classroom learning with opportunities for practical field application for ready workforce transition. 

* There is no guarantee of ongoing employment beyond this time.

Information for Universities and Community Service Organisations (CSOs)

Application process

Students entering their final year of a social work course with a participating university will be invited to apply via their Field Education Coordinator. Applications will be assessed by a panel including universities, CSOs,and other project staff.

Role of organisations

Interested CSOs provide opportunity for students to be engaged in part-time paid work (0.4 EFT), and guaranteed Field Education experience for 70 days. Organisations will be supported by project staff throughout the recruitment process, and then undertake their usual onboarding procedures with the successful applicant (e.g. employment contract, Crimchecks, WWCC, workplace induction etc.)

Role of universities

Universities will facilitate the process by distributing and collating applications, confirming that applicants meet the requirements of the internship and providing usual ongoing support regarding Field Education to ensure compliance with the ASWEAS.


It has been a real-world experience. The students have been embedded in an agency as new staff and they have been expected to be the same as any other staff member. The students have said it has improved their confidence. What was all theory before has been put into practice.

The advantages start at the beginning of the process. [Interns] have to prepare for an interview, write a resume and attend the interview. It was treated as a job and there was a rigorous process.

[Interns] know they have the skills and experience to fully pick up a case load because they have done the work prior...There is also a level of upskilling in the agency. Having the interns come in with recent social work [training] is a bonus and they are teaching the others.


See our FAQs or download our flyer for more information about the project.

If you work in a community service organisation and would like to know more about hosting an intern, please get in touch.

Contact: Michele Lonsdale at or (03) 9614 1577


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