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From Intern to Employee

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There’s no substitute for hands-on experience, which is why JCU’s Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Program is so successful. Just ask JCU alumni who’ve gone on to achieve their dream careers as a result…

As a Supervising Solicitor at Townsville Community Law, JCU alumni Michael Murray is living his dream of defending the vulnerable.

“We represent vulnerable clients in a range of areas, including family and domestic violence law, consumer protection and insurance law, elder abuse and coronial investigations and inquests,” Michael says.

“I completed Work Integrated Learning (WIL) at Townsville Community Law through the fourth-year subject Clinical Legal Studies. My experience introduced me to the intersection between poverty and the justice system, and to areas of law I’d never considered working in, such as human rights law.

“The subject had such a profound impact on me that I now practise primarily in human rights law and, after a brief run in private practice, I returned to work at Townsville Community Law. I now also lecture at JCU and supervise the next generation of Clinical Legal Studies students.

“Students have the opportunity not only to learn legal theory around practice legal work, but also conduct interviews with real clients and perform legal work under the supervision of experienced lawyers. You see real and tangible outcomes with the clients you’re assisting and learn a range of essential legal skills, such as drafting legal or Court documents.

“While good results at university are important, in my experience as both a junior lawyer and now an employer – experience is key. Approximately 75 percent of our staff are JCU graduates.”

JCU’s Head of Law, Associate Professor Jamie Fellows, says students have a wide variety of placement opportunities available to them. These range from private law firms to Legal Aid, government departments such as Queensland Police and State/Commonwealth prosecutions, as well as legal practice in a community legal centre.

“I can’t count the number of firms
who’ve hired our graduates after
they’ve completed their WIL rogram
with them. Many of these students are now senior practitioners."

The same is true for JCU Business and Commerce students, who complete a minimum of 100 hours of work with a real-world company aligned with their future employment interests.

“We have several valued industry partners who have hosted students in recent years,” says JCU Associate Professor Laurie Murphy.

“These include PVW Partners, Carey Group, North Queensland Cowboys, GetBranded, Port of Townsville, Menninger Capital, Townsville Enterprise and the Townsville Chamber of Commerce.”

Industry partners who invest in hosting student interns appreciate the fact they have first access to emerging talent.

“Just as the opportunity provides students with the chance to explore whether they would enjoy a role in public accounting, it also allows us to see whether they may be a long-term fit for ourfirm,” says PVW Partners’ Chief Operating Officer Fiona McGill.

“We’ve uncovered some fantastic additions to our team through our WIL partnership with JCU and we hope that it opens students up to the fact they don’t need to leave North Queensland to gain a role with great opportunity for advancement.”

Local marketing and events consultants GetBranded couldn’t agree more.

“We’re proud to be local and employ local,” says GetBranded Director Madonna Simmons, who is also JCU alumni (with a Master of Business Administration degree).

“We’ve been working with JCU’s WIL program for over a decade. The opportunities are endless for the students as they get to work on real projects, make contacts in the industry and achieve joint goals.

“Our GetBranded team member Tanya Brown (Bachelor of Business, Marketing major) has been with us for seven years now, since being a part of the Townsville Fashion Festival through JCU’s WIL program. She has now basically stepped into my shoes and, for those thinking of poaching her, she’s not available!”

After completing an internship with Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Matthew was offered a position as an Events Officer and is now combining his passions for sports entertainment and events management in the role.

“So far, the highlights have been the sold-out games when the Cowboys faced the Broncos, Panthers, and Eels in the semi-final,” Matthew says.

“I also had the privilege to be invited to One SQ in Brisbane, where all the stadiums operating under Stadiums Queensland come together once a year. This was an amazing experience where I also appreciated the networking aspect.”

If, like Matthew and the other alumni featured in this story, you’d like to study Law or Business at JCU, including experiencing the WIL program, find out more about the courses offered by clicking here.

Read JCU’s recent online article – Future-Proofing Employability.



Compiled by the BDmag editorial team


Compiled by the BDmag editorial team