Swinburne University of Technology participates in the prestigious Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program (VPIP). Established in 1990, the program has seen over 1,000 interns complete placements with members of the Victorian Parliament. It provides students with an outstanding opportunity to observe and contribute to parliamentary, political and public policy processes and debates and to develop knowledge, skills and networks directly relevant to their post-study employment. A number of former interns, including the current Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, have gone on to become MPs themselves, with many others developing careers as parliamentary officers, journalists, and public and private sector leaders. Since 2016, six students from Swinburne have taken part in the program each year, successfully completing research projects exploring issues such as youth homelessness and social entrepreneurship; the provision of education programs for primary school-aged refugees; reform options for current self-defence laws; access to drug rehabilitation services in rural Victoria; development strategies for north-western Melbourne; and the potential value of community-based anti-extremism strategies. A number of our interns have successfully found employment with the public service; with community organisations; and with their host MPs following participation in the program.
What does it involve?
Students who participate in the VPIP are placed in the office of a current member of the Victorian Parliament for the equivalent of one day per week and complete a significant research project jointly supervised by the MP and academic staff from Swinburne. The internship runs across the full semester and is equivalent to a 25-credit point unit (ie. two normal units of study). Students are required to attend induction and research seminars throughout the semester; to keep a journal; write a 2,000-word reflective essay; and submit a 6,000-word research report which, after assessment, will be filed in the Victorian Parliamentary Library.
Entry to the VPIP is highly competitive. Eligibility is normally limited to students studying at third year level in their year of placement with a Distinction average across units in their Politics and International Relations, History, Global Studies or Security and Counter Terrorism majors. Students completing their second year of studies may also be considered.
How do I apply?
Students meeting the selection criteria who are interested in completing the internship are invited to submit an Expression of Interest to the unit convener comprising a brief cover letter outlining their reasons for undertaking the placement (250 words); a transcript of their grades; a CV; and a sample of their writing (eg. an essay or paper). Applications should be emailed to Dr Damon Alexander. Short-listed applicants will then be asked to complete a brief interview as part of the selection process.
For further information on the Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program please visit the program’s website.