Interview with Nathalie Ferquel, Marketing Executive
Could you tell us more about the history of Australian Internships?
Australian Internships (AI) was created in 1998. Our founder and Director, Diana van Woerkom, established AI after many years in education and training with Queensland Government. Passionate about an education that recognises the value of both the academic and technical/vocational development of students, Diana had also been actively involved in international education, which served as a catalyst for the establishment of her own business. She came to realise there was a high demand for internships coming from international students. She created AI to respond to this demand and built a bridge between overseas universities and Australian companies. AI was the first company in Australia to facilitate the placement of international students within Australian companies. In 17 years, the company has grown steadily and is now counting 25 employees. Rebekah Gilchrist, Diana’s daughter, has opened a second office in Sydney in 2012 and is now supervising a team of 6.
Diana was also a founding member of the Australian Internships Industry Association (AIIA) and is an active member of the organisation, which now regroups 15 members and competitors.
Can you describe the activities of Australian Internships?
AI manages the placement of international students for internships in Australian companies. The applicants are recent graduates or students on a Working Holiday Visa or any visa with work rights. They either seek an international work experience or a local reference as a first step into the Australian labour market. AI has partnerships with 2,000 companies welcoming interns all over Australia. Depending on its profile, the student can subscribe to 3 different programmes.
The Professional Internship Program provides an unpaid work experience matching the student’s academic field. The internship can last from 6 weeks to 6 months and cover areas such as marketing, human resources, engineering, communication, journalism or IT (medical and aeronautic fields are excluded).
Our Hospitality Internship Program is dedicated to young professionals seeking an international experience in the hospitality sector (chef/cook, food and beverage attendant or Front Office attendant). The applicants imperatively need to have a background in hospitality (at least 2 years of education and 6 months experience) and can expect a salary between $17 and $19 an hour. The program can run for 6 months, 9 months or 12 months.
Finally, our newest program, the Stipend Internship Program, offers Europeans and Americans on a Working Holiday Visa a paid work experience (monthly allowance) in the following fields: marketing, human resources, events or business. This program targets graduates who want to complete a full-time internship in Australia, from 20 weeks minimum up to 6 months. The intern can expect an allowance of $600 to $900 per month, to cover the basic costs of living.
Australian Internships teams process the applications, run interviews, match candidates and companies, welcome the student and keep in touch during the whole length of the internship. As an approved Sponsor by the Immigration Department we also are able to sponsor our candidates for obtaining certain types of visas (such as 416 - Special Program visa - or 402 – Training & Research visa)
Can you describe your personal background and your role as Marketing Executive at Autralian Internships?
I first came to Australia in 2003 to complete my Bachelor in Management & International Business in Adelaide. I was the first student from the University of Avignon, in the South of France, to come for a year of study in Australia. It was most common then (and still probably is) to do an exchange student program within the European Union. I personally always had dreamt of coming to Australia, and I just fell in love with the country.
I came back to Australia in 2010 with a Working Holiday Visa, four years of experience in the Education Industry and got lucky enough to start immediately working for Australian Internships. Having had first-hand experience as an exchange student, I am well aware of the importance of getting support when you come from overseas. I am passionate about what I do and find it very rewarding to help international student realising their dream.
As a Marketing Executive within a small structure, I am a very polyvalent person. I am responsible for negotiating partnerships with universities in all the French speaking countries. I am also in charge of the conception of the interns’ ‘Welcome Pack’. I manage the official website. In addition, I am also in charge of the Melbourne activity, as we do not have an office there yet, which implies regular travelling.
How do you envisage the future of your company and how can the French-Australian Chamber help you achieve your objectives?
The internships industry is growing, and there is more and more demand from universities, students and companies. We are quite optimistic and believe 2015 will see AI develop further, and may be open a new office in another state…
We have been a Small Business member with FACCI for just over a year and our team has participated actively into many events in 2014. Networking is essential to our business development strategy. We have already made some interesting connections and are very keen to keep developing our relationships within the corporate world. FACCI’s 2015 Industry Series are of particular interest to us as the requests from young engineers are high.
For more information, please visit Australian Internships' website: http://internships.com.au/
Interview conducted in January 2015 by Claire Dupré & Marie Lucas.
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