Chance for Singapore students to intern at top Australian companies

Up to a hundred Singaporeans studying in Australia could get a chance to intern at leading companies there.

This is among the new schemes that are part of a pact signed by Singapore and Australia this month to boost bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade and education.

Singaporeans at Australian universities have welcomed news of the pilot internship programme, although when it will start has not been announced.

"An internship in Australia would give students a chance to experience a different work culture, learn from our Australian counterparts and widen our social network," said Mr Zach Lim, 24, the president of the Singapore Students' Society at the University of Queensland.

He said that many Singapore students in Australia are keen on such internships, but it is not easy to secure one because of tough competition among international students.

Mr Thomas Jeyaseelan, 36, the president of the University of Melbourne Alumni Association (Singapore), said top universities offer resources such as internship coordinators. Still, he noted, the scheme "can greatly benefit students whose study programmes might not include an internship component or who might not have ready access to an internship coordinator or a leading Australian firm".

Ms Annabelle Tan, 22, a third-year commerce student at the University of Melbourne, noted that some internship schemes in Australia require applicants to be a local or a permanent resident. As a result, she said, Singapore students had been automatically excluded from many internship opportunities with established firms in Australia.

Mr Lim, a second-year economics student, said details such as the types of industry that will be included are needed to assess how beneficial the scheme will be.

If the pilot scheme is successful, he hopes it can be extended to more students, noting that there are more than 400 Singapore students in Brisbane, where his university is. "As much as it sounds good, 100 isn't a large number."

Yuen Sin

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2016, with the headline Chance for Singapore students to intern at top Australian companies. Subscribe