In 2016 La Trobe University and Ai Group partnered to provide internship opportunities for law students. Eligible students are required to have studied employment law and to be enrolled in a relevant placement elective at La Trobe University.
Ai Group is a premier employer association in Australia. Ai Group represents the interests of more than 60,000 businesses across all areas of industry.
The organisation provides a wide-range of services including assistance and legal advice in industrial relations, workplace health and safety and human resources. The organisation further provides a range of other professional services in areas including international trade, economics, workforce development and business advisory services. Moreover, Ai Group has a major policy focus and liaises with all levels of government to advocate for change that benefits its members.
Ai Group Workplace Advice Line
Students are placed in the Ai Group Workplace Advice Line under the supervision of Nadia Stojanova, who is the Knowledge and Information Services Coordinator. Nadia is also a sessional academic and PhD candidate at the La Trobe Law School.
The Ai Group Workplace Advice Line is a leading workplace advisory service. It provides the highest quality advice across all areas of workplace relations.
The internship program provides a wonderful opportunity for students to contribute to productive, technical work and it offers outstanding networking opportunities. It also gives students the chance to develop their writing, research and presentation skills.
Case study: Lillian Campion
Lillian Campion completed the internship over semester 1 in 2016.
Lillian reflected on her experiences through the following questions and answers:
What was the best thing about the internship?
My internship at Ai Group was an extremely enjoyable and valuable experience. I was exposed to the wide variety of services Ai Group offers their members and received regular feedback to aid my learning.
The highlight of my experience was the degree of responsibility that I was given over tasks. This was particularly evident in my experience presenting on how employers can create workplace policies to assist those experiencing family violence. I was given responsibility to conduct research, draft and present this training at a team meeting. Receiving constructive feedback and being part of a project from its inception to the completion gave me an opportunity to develop an understanding of the operations of Ai Group and helped develop my practical legal skills, particularly written and oral communication skills. I found this experience to be incredibly rewarding as I felt like I made a valuable contribution to the team.
What was a standard day like in the internship?
Every day of the internship held a variety of interesting and educational opportunities. I completed a wide variety of tasks each day, so as far as a ‘typical day’ interning at Ai Group went, there was none. This made my experience continuously interesting and challenging and meant that it was a pleasure coming in to the office each day knowing I would tackle a new challenge.
Some of my favourite experiences in my internship included attending a meeting at WorkSafe Victoria which provided an excellent introduction to the collaborative environment in which workplace policies are formed.
Another highlight was discussing a complex employment law enquiry regarding the coverage of awards with the Fair Work Ombudsman’s ‘Practitioner Assist’ telephone service. This was an immensely educative experience and helped me to develop confidence to articulate the legal issues surrounding multifaceted workplace disputes.
Whilst there was no ‘typical day’ at Ai Group, there were consistent aspects during my internship. Most importantly, every day I was supported and welcomed in the Workplace Advice Line team. Each member really takes the time out to get to know interns and takes an active interest in making sure your time at Ai Group is as beneficial as possible. Weekly lunches were another highlight giving interns the opportunity to meet a variety of different Ai Group staff members and discuss what it is like to work in the area.
What advice would you give to other students taking part in the internship?
I encourage any student interested in employment law, workplace relations or human resources to apply for the Ai Group internship.
My advice for future interns is to embrace every opportunity that the internship presents. This means saying ‘yes’ to every task, as they all help develop a new skill or introduce you to a new, talented team member to learn from.
Also, it is a great idea to get to know the team you are in as they are experienced industry professionals and can provide valuable insights in to alternative career paths.
I also encourage future interns to listen to the conversations around you, as being in the midst of a collaborative team environment allows you to learn a great deal from hearing discussions on employment disputes taking place in the team.
Completing an internship at Ai Group will allow you to be part of a supportive environment, one that champions your learning and professional growth, expands your skills and knowledge in workplace relations, increases your confidence to participate professionally in a real work environment and importantly, is fun and interesting.
The experience helped solidify my passion to work in the area of employment law and workplace relations.
For more information about the internship program, please contact Nadia Stojanova on (03) 9867 0252.