Beginning an internship can be a daunting experience.

In sport, internships are vital to teaching student’s fundamental skills while building networks that assist with attaining full-time employment following the completion of their degree.

Finding opportunities to test your mettle in a relevant professional environment while juggling the fresh intricacies of a work, life and study balance isn’t easy.  With the most comprehensive suite of sport-related courses in Australia, La Trobe University aims to aid its students in all aspects of securing and enduring their internships.

Supporting students throughout this process is integral to their professional development.  Mentors and co-ordinators can provide advice crucial to shaping positive experiences and outcomes.

La Trobe University helps to facilitate this relationship between employer and intern through their partnerships with some of Australia’s most well recognised sporting organisations.

Among these partners is the Carlton Football Club, who recently signed an exclusive deal to formalise their promise to allow La Trobe students exclusive access to placement opportunities within their football department.

Carlton CEO Steven Trigg and Director of La Trobe Sport Russell Hoye sign an exclusive university partnership.

Among the Blues’ batch of 2016 La Trobe interns is Sport Management student Rebecca Privitelli.  Rebecca seized the opportunity to become a Community Outreach Officer at the club along with nine other La Trobe students.

“The experience gained throughout my placement has significantly enhanced my communication and leadership skills,” said Rebecca.

“I have been impressed with the continual development opportunities Carlton and La Trobe have offered me such as workshops and access to club functions.  However, it is the inclusive and uniting culture that the club has exhibited throughout my time that has truly stood out to me.”

Three La Trobe students have landed full-time employment at Ikon Park over the past three years directly from their placement at the club.

The Blues join a cohort of sports partners including Melbourne City FC, the AFL Players’ Association, Bendigo Spirit, Vicsport, the Northern Football League and the Kings XI Punjab.

The Punjab – who are based in Mohali, India – give La Trobe students the chance to take their studies abroad and add another element to their internship.

La Trobe Sport Management student Aidan Pearce recently returned from India, thanking the university for giving him the chance to experience a cultural and developmental opportunity.

2016 Kings XI interns visit the famous Taj Mahal during their internship

“My time in India helped me to improve my skills further, both professionally and personally,” said Pearce.

“I especially enjoyed developing great relationships with my colleagues at Kings XI. While my focus during my time there was on my internship, I was very appreciative to also have many chances to travel and sight-see too.”

The culmination of these versatile opportunities is what differentiates La Trobe graduates from the rest. The Sport Management course requirement of 200 hours of placement immerses students into the organisations they’re working for.

The success of this practicum is clear, with over 80% of sport management students receiving a job directly from their placement in 2014.

Sport Management lecturer and placements co-ordinator Pam Kappelides said this rate of success is a credit to the partnerships with key sport organisations and alumni mentors of the Sport Management program at La Trobe.

“The University does a great job of utilising its growing network to generate meaningful industry experiences for the student body,” Kappelides said.  “By providing a good balance between knowledge and skills, La Trobe graduates are work-ready as soon as they complete their degree.”

The personal stories told through this ongoing series, Intern Diaries, will shed new insight into completing a sport-related degree at La Trobe and reveal what it takes to break into the saturated Australian Sports industry.