This is your one-stop shop for understanding the how, what, where and why of your industry placement. Please read each section carefully.
Shortlist some companies where you would like to undertake your internship.
This process can seem daunting ─ sifting through company websites is time-consuming and if you aren't familiar with the industry sector, you may not know where to start. The best advice we can give you is to consider this process good practice for when you graduate! A couple of years from now, this is how you will identify those companies that you might want to work for and find opportunities for employment.
To get you started, here are some things to consider:
- What are your academic parameters?
Consult the University Handbook entry for your subject (either AGRI30041, AGRI90076, AGRI90078 or VETS30028) to determine the required hours and assessment details. Your internship must be related to your area of study, however, as 'agriculture' is a very broad term, there is quite a lot of flexibility here. Think about your major, your career aspirations and what relevant experience you currently possess.
- What are your physical and financial parameters?
'Physical parameters' may refer to where you live and whether it's possible for you to travel to your host's location. Are you in a position to spend two weeks away from home and can afford to pay for transport and accommodation for the duration of the internship? Consider any injuries or allergies that you may have and if this will prevent you from doing certain types of work.
- What are you most interested in?
Think back to first or second year ─ which subjects excited you the most? Which ones did you perform well in? At this point in time, what do you consider your ideal job? Brainstorm the jobs and the industries you are most interested in learning more about. You may wish to consult a website such as Career Harvest to understand more about different jobs within the agricultural industry.
- Are there specific activities that you would like to observe or be involved in?
You may or may not have a strong desire to perform particular tasks during your internship. You should be flexible with your requests. As an intern, you will experience tasks that you enjoy and others that you don't, but this is working life and it is all a part of the learning process. If, however, there is something that you have always wanted to do, for example investigating the shelf life of food products, or shadowing an agribusiness consultant, then write it down as this will help you further understand your own interests.
- Start your research
After asking yourself the above questions, you should have a clearer idea of what is practical for your personal situation and what it is you want to get out of this internship. Use the resources that are available to you to start researching organisations and matching them to the criteria that you have established. Your most obvious resource will be the internet, but you should talk to your academic staff, family and friends, all of whom may have some suggestions for you.
2. Email the Internship Coordinator
Send the internship coordinator your shortlist of potential hosts to confirm that there are no problems with your selection. For each shortlisted host, include details such as 'who', 'where', 'when' and 'why'.
It's important to check with the internship coordinator and your subject coordinator first as there may already be students undertaking an internship at your potential host organisation, the host may have recently indicated that they don't want to take on an intern at this time, or the organisation that you have chosen might not be appropriate for your major.
After contacting the coordinators, you will be advised if it is OK for you to contact the potential host or if the coordinator will contact them on your behalf.
3. Contact potential host organisation/s.
You will notice that some organisations list individual staff contact details on their website and others will have a general web enquiry form. If you can identify the appropriate person then you should contact them directly. If there is only a web enquiry form, it is a good idea to call the company first and ask if there is someone that you can write to directly about undertaking an internship.
Before contacting the company you need to carefully draft your email and ensure that your resume is up to date. We have prepared a sample email which you may use as a guide, or you may write your own. Please take some time and care in writing this email, and do not simply write "do you have any internships available?".
You should consider your request for an internship in the same manner as you would request information regarding a job. Your email should indicate:
- who you are
- why you are contacting them
- why you have chosen them
- what your interests are
- what you hope to obtain from an internship with their organisation; and
- you should attach your resume in a universally acceptable format (i.e. doc, PDF)
The Melbourne Careers Centre has some great resources on preparing your resume. You can access these tools online: http://careers.unimelb.edu.au/students
If a potential host organisation would like more information about your placement requirements, you can provide them with the relevant information sheet.
4. Submit your request.
Upon receiving approval from a host organisation, submit your internship placement request via the Extramurals II system (EMS).
Students planning to enrol in AGRI90078 should first complete the Placement Approval Request form.
The EMS is an online database that is used by the Faculty to manage all FVAS placement details. It is easy to use and has the ability to send automatic reminders to stakeholders at key points in the process.
Your details must be registered in the system before you will be able to log in. Depending on what course you are enrolling in, the internship coordinator may register you only when you complete step 2, or at your request.
The purpose of this placement request is twofold:
- To provide host organisation details and internship dates.
- To seek final approval from the faculty. For some subjects this determines whether you can enrol in the subject.
- Internship placement requests must be approved by the internship coordinator and/or subject coordinator prior to the internship and semester start dates.
- Students who want to enrol in AGRI90078 or who are enrolled in VETS30028 will not be given retrospective approval for an internship placement and will be required to find another placement.
- Students must submit this request at least 10 working days prior to their proposed commencement date .
- Students must complete all fields of the internship placement request in full.
- Incomplete placement requests will be declined.
5. Confirmation of your placement.
Your placement will then be approved on the EMS. Once approved, the host organisation will receive an automatic email to confirm the details and notify them of the insurance arrangement.
For this reason, you must enter the host's title, name and contact email address correctly.
All students undertaking an internship for credit are covered by the University of Melbourne's insurance for the duration of their internship in Australia. The internship coordinator will confirm the details that you provide with the host and provide them with details of the University's insurance coverage.
If you are undertaking your internship interstate or overseas, you must also complete the University's online comprehensive travel insurance application at least 7 working days prior to your departure.
If the dates of your internship change, you must notify the internship coordinator as the dates need to be recorded accurately for insurance purposes.
6. Approval of your placement.
After your placement has been approved via the EMS the appropriate subject code will be added to your study plan, if necessary.
After your placement request is approved you will receive an automatic notification from the EMS. For all subjects (excluding VETS30028) this approval is required for you to then enrol in the subject.
The internship coordinator will then add the appropriate subject code to your study plan and you will then be able to enrol directly in this subject via https://my.unimelb.edu.au/
Enrol in the appropriate subject code via My.Unimelb.
When the internship coordinator adds the subject to your study plan, it will appear with a status of 'planned'. You must log into My.Unimelb and 'enrol' in this subject as you do in the re-enrolment period each year. Only after you enrol in the subject will you have completed all necessary steps.
Sample Email for approaching a potential host organisation
You can use the sample email below or write your own. You should insert the relevant information into the appropriate spaces and delete the text in green.
Please note that this email is a SAMPLE ONLY. You should ensure that the information in the sample is relevant to your subject and the number of days required.
Students undertaking placements for VETS30028 will need to amend the second paragraph as you must complete your internships in an intensive block.
Dear (insert name of addressee),
I am a student at the University of Melbourne and I plan to enrol in an internship subject as part of my degree in (insert the name of your degree, eg. Bachelor of Agriculture; Master of Food Science, etc).
The internship subject requires that I have (insert appropriate number of days) days of placement in an industry relevant to my field of study, which can be taken (insert as relevant, eg. in a two-week block) or (insert as relevant, eg. one day per week for ten weeks). The placement is comprehensively covered by the university's insurance policy.
After researching many organisations, I found (insert the name of organisation) very interesting and I would like to ask if you would be interested in hosting me later this year. I am particularly interested in (insert your area of interest).
The internship coordinator would be happy to answer any questions and can be contacted via email:
I look forward to hearing from you.
(Insert your name & your mobile phone number)
Information Sheets for potential host organisations
Please supply the potential host organisation with the appropriate information sheet, depending on which subject you are enrolled in.