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Making the most of a policy internship

April 4, 2019 by Curtin CEL Team

Making the most of a policy internship

Emily Delks, a final year BA International Relations student, is passionate about human rights, social justice and community development. Through her studies she has advanced her knowledge of the devastating and long-lasting effects of colonisation, Australia’s role in international development, and the significance of minority representation in relation to power.

Recently, Emily sought out related work experience through the Aurora Internship Program, which places Indigenous and non-Indigenous students at Indigenous-sector organisations. Emily applied for placement within the social sciences stream of the program, and was placed with the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) as a Policy Intern last summer.

Here’s what Emily had to say about the internship experience:

What did you actually do on your internship?

The Policy and Strategy team at ACHWA is responsible for promoting important issues affecting the ACCHS Sector on behalf of its member services. As a Policy Intern, I assisted the Policy and Strategy team by performing research and developing briefing papers and other written submissions regarding the ACCHSs and the ACCHS Sector.

Notable topics that I researched and wrote about were environmental health services for Aboriginal people in WA, and prevention strategies and post-intervention programs combating the high rate of suicide and self-harm in Aboriginal youth.

My research around this involved an in-person consultation with the Principal Advisor for Aboriginal Environmental Health of the Environmental Health Directorate, and attendance at the Coronial Inquest into the Deaths of 13 Children and Young People in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia.

I really enjoyed being able to apply research and critical thinking skills and expand upon knowledge gained at university.

What about working as part of a team?

There was a degree of independence and ownership over the responsibilities that I was tasked with during the internship, but I was also supported and provided with feedback. In this, I felt that my contributions and insights were valued. The environment at ACHWA is hugely supportive and inclusive – I was certainly made to feel welcome by every member of staff.

The experiences that I gained – learning, researching, writing, developing a multilayered understanding of health, culture and identity – will absolutely impact my thought-processes, future studies and career.

And any final comments?

I am grateful to the Aurora Internship Program and the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia for accepting me as an intern. I would highly recommend both Aurora and ACHWA to any students interested in their community focus and the valuable work they do.

Don’t forget to keep a check on UniHub for internship opportunities. If you need a hand with your application, call in and see us in B102 Curtin Connect 8.45am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, or you can submit it online for feedback.

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