By:  Eliza Brockwell
May 18th, 2018

From uni students to community trailblazers: CareerTrackers internship program

Internship and Aboriginal education program CareerTrackers is helping Indigenous uni students with one of the biggest career challenges: the transition from uni student to employed professional. The program is achieving excellent outcomes, with 89% of CareerTrackers participants graduating from university and beginning full-time professional careers. The program combines industry experience, a strong support network and professional development to support success both at university and during the students’ internships at leading employers across Australia.

Michael Combs, the founder and CEO, created the non-profit industry engagement program to boost employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians. “The aim is to create professional employment opportunities for Indigenous university students, and more importantly, create a community of individuals starting their careers together,” says Michael.

Last summer, Queensland University of Technology Maths undergraduate and CareerTrackers student Free Sobolewski took part in a three month internship at Origin Energy. Free experienced first-hand how data science is used in the oil and gas industry in the rural QLD town of Miles, where her task was to model the failure of gas wells. Free says the project was a great learning experience. “In uni, the data set will always work”, she explains. “But in the real world, that isn’t the case. You have to think on your feet and be versatile in your skill set.”

As an undergraduate, Michael took part in a similar internship program in the United States. CareerTrackers has 108 industry partners across Australia and strives to create employment opportunities in industries their students want to work in. There are internship opportunities across a broad range of industries, from engineering to professional services and government departments.

Michael emphasises that the program is not just a placement: “It’s about equipping students with the skills and tools to go into organisations and establish themselves as young professionals.” Each student is assigned a CareerTrackers advisor, and throughout the year they receive training in skills such as professional communication and networking.

“We want to create a network of students who form a community”, says Michael. He is excited about a future where CareerTrackers alumni begin to become executives and community leaders. “It’s about creating a different future for Indigenous people who’ll do business together – a future that has never existed before.”

– Larissa Fedunik-Hofman

Find out how undergrad, Free Sobolewski found her perfect internship with Origin Energy thanks to the internship and Aboriginal education program, CareerTrackers.

Free Sobolewski, Indigenous maths student study maths

“In uni, the data set will always work”, says Free Sobolewski (above). “But in the real world, that isn’t the case. You have to think on your feet and be versatile in your skill set.”

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Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.

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