Education Today Logo


Education Today Cover Browse Issue

Internships boost young careers – more needed

News Image

It has been called many things over the years but giving young people work experience in their chosen field helps to launch careers. And while they are effective, internships are less common in Australia than they should be.

Degrees that have internships as a component made for graduates who were more work ready and better able to find work post study and longer courses are also associated with better employment outcomes, independent of field of study and institution.

And while work experience is good, paid career-related work is best, paid work while studying increases graduate employment outcomes by up to 40%. 

New research by CSIRO’s Data61 demonstrates that undergraduate degrees with built-in internships have statistically significantly better graduate employment outcomes.

The report, Higher Education and Employment in Australia: The Impact of Internships by Paul McCarthy and Mitchell Swayn from, Data61’s job and internship matching platform analysed 700,000 data points covering students enrolled at 40 Universities across almost 5000 undergraduate degrees spanning 21 fields of study to understand whether internships make a difference improve employment outcomes.

The study links data from two public sources — graduate employment outcomes from the annual Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) and features of degrees themselves from the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).  The CRICOS register — designed originally for overseas students — has details on Australian University and VET Qualifications including such as what awards are offered by each institution, how long they are and which ones have built-in internships or ‘Work components’.

Liz Jakubowski, Director of at CSIRO’s Data61 said, “It is well known and recognised that what you study has a big influence on your employability when you graduate and courses such as medicine, dentistry and pharmacy enjoy very high employment rates upon graduation when compared to generalist degrees in arts, science and business. Where you study also has a significant influence on employment outcomes, however the effect of other features of degrees such as whether they have built-in internship has been less clear.”

This effect of internships is more significant for generalist degrees in areas such as arts and science where internships can make a big difference to employment outcomes.

Jakubowski said “Compared to overseas nations like Germany and the US, internships are still not that widespread in Australia. If every business was to take on at least one intern each year, most students across the country would get an opportunity to gain extra skills and experience, and the nation would have a more prepared future workforce. There is no-doubt every business stands to benefit from taking on interns. Look at Australia’s fastest-growing companies like Atlassian and Canva. They are on the front foot when it comes to hiring students. The results speak for themselves.”

CEO of Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox said, “New research by CSIRO’s Data61 has confirmed what business has known for a long time: there is nothing better for graduate employability than internships and other on-the-job work-related training,” 

“Universities increasingly provide flexibility in degree work components.  As well as longer placements, students and companies can assist each other via micro-internships, projects, online consultancies, and organised student events that apply fresh ideas and knowledge to a company’s identified problem,” Mr Willox said. 

Download the report:

For more information, visit


19 Nov 2019 | National
A better future through food News Image

When you think about it, most of what we do as people centres on food, it’s essential for life and how it is produced and consumed has huge implications for our future. Read More

14 Nov 2019 | National
Still great to be a teacher when it comes to jobs News Image

Again, you will be glad that you completed that teaching degree as once again one of the areas with the healthiest job growth has been education and training.
Read More

13 Nov 2019 | International
‘Brave’ new word for children in 2019 News Image

Uncertainty is plaguing the planet and that is reflected by Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand selection of the 2019 Children’s Word of the Year: Bravery. Read More

13 Nov 2019 | National
Future proofing our response to depression in the young News Image

The Black Dog Institute is recruiting for its study Future Proofing, which is Australia’s largest-ever clinical trial into the effectiveness of mental health apps for preventing anxiety and depression in adolescents. Read More

13 Nov 2019 | National
Why we need more male teachers News Image

There are a lot of kids who are a bit light on males in their lives, the reasons are many and in a teaching environment introducing more males could be a good thing. Read More