This past summer I was privileged enough to have taken part in the Aurora Internship Program. The Program places students, or recent graduates like myself, with native title or other Indigenous sector organisations across Australia for 4-6 weeks. The purpose of the Program is to provide opportunities for interns to gain professional work experience and improve their career opportunities while also providing assistance to many under-resourced host organisations.
I was placed with the First Peoples Health Unit (FPHU) at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. The Unit was only recently established and works to implement the universities’ First Peoples Health Plan to close the gap between Australia’s First Peoples’ and other Australians’ health outcomes. Their key focus areas to achieving this include Learning and Teaching, Research, Engagement, Sustainability and Internationalisation.
I began my placement in mid-January however I had already met the team before then because there was another intern with the FPHU before the new year and I was invited to attend the NHMRCs First Peoples Health Research Symposium along with them. My supervisors and the unit as a whole were very friendly and supportive and made great effort to find interesting work and other experiences for me. I have gained so much from just 6 weeks with them including practical skills I can use within work settings. My tasks involved learning new skills however they were also simple enough to understand quickly. They included desktopping and compiling a spreadsheet and report of all alternative entry pathways for Indigenous students in universities around Australia, mapping frameworks and guidelines relating to Indigenous matters, generating reports on Indigenous student enrolment and content at the university and some reviewing and evaluating tasks among others. I was also able to attend many different events and meetings including the unit’s planning meetings, conferences, Griffith’s First People’s Health Symposium for first year Med students and the Kungalunji Indigenous Student Research Conference. I am a recent Psychology graduate and so a highlight of my internship was a three-day observational placement with the psychologist at Inala Indigenous Health Service. It was such a great experience and I am so thankful to my supervisors for organising this for me.
My overall experience was extremely valuable and I would definitely consider doing another internship with Aurora. I also highly recommend for anyone else to apply for the program. To find out more visit the Aurora website. I would also specifically recommend the First Peoples Health Unit at the Gold Coast as a placement preference. The work they do is extremely important and in such a great environment. To find out more about who they are and what they do visit their website.