Caitlin Galpin

Winter 2015

Based in Canberra and owned and operated by Indigenous Australians, the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC) empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through the provision of accredited courses in Indigenous Leadership and Business (Governance). Where education is power, the AILC brings this gift to those in society who feel anything but, implanting skills in life and in leadership. While some speak of giving a man a fish, and others of teaching this man to fish, the AILC do not stop there; they are intent on changing not just one person, nor one group of people – the AILC are intent on changing the fabric of Australian society, bridging the gap and improving the quality of life for Indigenous Australians, through a grass roots education movement. 

I spent five weeks with the AILC as an intern via the Aurora Internship Program, during the winter break, where my tasks were varied and challenging. I appreciated the unwavering faith shown by my supervisor, who trusted me with the creation of concept designs, research and analysis and business proposals. I was particularly struck by the freedom I was allowed in my projects – the organisation supported me, even and especially where my work took me somewhere unexpected, to things beyond the scope of what we had jointly imagined. Some of these included the determination of how the organisation could fit into an existing global research proposal, for which I was encouraged to contact renowned Australian academics and wholly supported in independently drafting proposals for international boards. I was able to immerse myself in leadership literature, and become well-versed through meetings with researchers, academics and departments with whom the organisation provided services. I also became involved in data analysis and reporting, which allowed me to see firsthand the effects that the AILC has had on individuals. Overarching this all, I was treated as a member of the team and invited to NAIDOC Week events, such as the Canberra NAIDOC ball, and a departmental celebration of the week at which a colleague was the key note speaker. 

Nelson Mandela believed that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. I learnt more than I had hoped, more than I could have expected through my work at the AILC. While much of what I learnt came directly from the work that I was involved with and engaged in, more came from the people I came into contact with. As an Aurora intern, I met some of the most passionate, engaging and committed individuals I have ever known. It was from these people that I learnt about fearlessness and unwavering commitment. 

I recommend the Aurora Internship Program to law and some social science students and graduates who value hard work, are empathetic and enthusiastic about social change. Apply for an internship online at: