Quick thinking ensures COVID-19 doesn’t derail internships 

Griffith students have praised staff and organisations for their efforts ensuring a path to graduation, despite the coronavirus, which forced most teaching and learning activities online and threatened valuable industry internships.

Stephanie Cormack

On track to graduate in August, Bachelor of Public Relations / Bachelor of Business student Stephanie Cormack was set for an exciting placement in sports marketing when COVID-19’s social distancing measures came into effect.

“My first internship was unfortunately cancelled because of coronavirus and they couldn’t have anyone working at the office and given the short notice, just weren’t prepared to do it online,” Stephanie said.

“I was really lucky and was instead connected with Larissa Rose at Glowing Green Australia.

“Due to COVID, I only started in week 7 and I’ll now go right through to the end of week 12 to get my required hours, however I’m working on an exciting live project that we’re looking to launch by the end of the trimester.

“It is amazing to get the real-world experience and actually really exciting that what I’m working on right now is actually going to benefit Larissa’s business.”

Glowing Green Australia (GGA) has a strong history of supporting Griffith School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences students with internships and work experience opportunities in environmental management and climate change subjects, through to supporting media, communications and public relations study themes.

Larissa Rose, Director of Glowing Green Australia, which is based on the Gold Coast.

“We have pivoted significantly as we know internships are face-to-face engagement, so when Covid-19 kicked in we just flipped the model easily,” Director Larissa Rose said.

“We are continuing to offer internships via online methods, where we can still deliver amazing learning outcomes and project deliverables for students to be involved in with GGA”.

“It has been easy for us to manage interns, and we just ensured we could help Stephanie finish her internship.

“We had our first meeting via zoom, established a plan, a goal and developed a project that Stephanie could work on for the 7 weeks remaining of her internship.

“We have two project planning meetings every week, where we are working towards delivering an exciting project and planning to launch that at the beginning of June.”

Stephanie’s internship with Glowing Green Australia is just one example of how Griffith has pivoted during COVID-19.

School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences placement officers worked quickly to source alternative options for students in similar circumstances to Stephanie.

53 of 57 industry/journalism internships were able to continue remotely and more than half of independent internships were arranged remotely.

Griffith Business School’s internship team, led by Dr Caroline Riot, also put together an agile project management approach for the current internship program, moving 76 placements online and ensuring 80% of students continued in an internship course.

The team has been staying in touch with workplace supervisors and students, which has also helped relieve students’ stress during these unpredictable times.

“Although workplaces moving online means there is no office to go to anymore, this has opened up opportunities to our students, even when they’re working virtually,” said Dr Riot.

“We are continuing to provide virtual access to our work-integrated learning program by identifying and exploring industry partners that are hosting virtual internships, and we are encouraging all students to network and connect with alumni.”

Larissa Rose says pivoting online continues to support outcomes for her business and for students in a win-win.

“We have embedded a strong philosophy that as a company we have a role and a duty of care to build the leaders of the future,” she said.

“If we want to do strive to build strong sustainable industries, then we need to ensure that we’re building the leaders of the future to sustain our industries and sector themes”.

Stephanie Cormack in New York in 2019 on the way home from a six-month international exchange opportunity, co-ordinated by Griffith

Its an opportunity Stephanie Cormack is incredibly grateful for.

“My experience at Griffith has been awesome and I’ve similarly been so lucky with Larissa and how accommodating she has been,” she said.

“I am in my last year of a Bachelor of Business in PR and Communications, majoring in international relations and marketing and ideally after this I would love to go into operations or sports marketing.

“I think it will be interesting to see the state of the job market after I graduate in August but whatever comes I will deal with it.”