Students in the Bachelor of Accounting program spend only 2 out of their 3 years attending classes at university. The other year is made up of full-time work training with one of the many sponsor organisations. This year is split into two separate half-years or semesters, to allow each student to experience two different business environments. Internship 1 is in the second half of the first year of the course; Internship 2 is in the first half of the final year of the course.
During the first Internship students complete para-professional assignments within different accounting functions. As a first-year student you don't have a lot of learning behind you, but you stand to gain a great deal from your first exposure to the world of big business. The exact nature of your work experience will naturally vary depending on the type of organisation you work for - whether it be insurance, banking, manufacturing, communications, government or retail.
As a third-year student, in the second Internship, you can expect to be working on higher level accounting projects. Sponsor organisations will often have a special job or project in mind which they can hand to a Bachelor of Accounting student, particularly as this fits in with one of the major assignments to be completed for their final year subjects. Large tasks like this are a great challenge to an undergraduate student, and this is your chance to make a real contribution to the management of a large and well-known organisation.
How the Internships Work
Students are asked to nominate their preferred placement for an upcoming Internship. Placements are allocated by UTS based on the best fit of student to organisation, taking into account student interest and performance and the corporate environment and particular work experience offered by each sponsor.
Sponsors are asked to plan a schedule of appropriate work training for each student placed within their organisation. This may involve a rotation around different departments and/or a rotation around different work assignments within the one division. The key is planning, so that the student gets a wide variety of business experience within each 6-month placement.
Students typically work 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday for the duration of the Internship, although flexible arrangements are common to accommodate periods of high activity. An orientation / introduction to the organisation and its expected standards is provided when a student first reports for work at the start of the Internship.
Most of our current sponsors have their head offices in the CBD, with others at North Sydney, Northmead and Sydney Olympic Park. This is where students will spend much of their time during the Internship, although in many cases sponsors will try to give students some experience outside of head office at other offices or plants.
Students continue to study during the Internship, typically on one major work-integrated project and one subject studied one evening a week. The work of students in the project subjects is directly related to the work they are performing for their sponsors, and aims to add real value to those organisations involved. During their first Internship, students are given a half-day of study leave each week in order to work on these university subjects.
At the end of the Internship sponsor supervisor(s) are asked to submit a formal evaluation of the student, and each student is asked to report on their experiences during the Internship. This feedback is an important part of the continuing development and improvement of the Internships.
An important point to note is that most of our sponsors have a continual student presence at their workplace; as soon as one Internship is finished, another student (from a different year) will be starting the next Internship. This means that Bachelor of Accounting students are relied on as a permanent source of accounting talent, able to fill in for absent employees or fill a permanent student trainee role in the organisation.