Lewis Jenkins - Intern Australia Director
Lewis joined the Intern Group in 2013. He brought with him an academic background in International Relations and work experiences across China, Russia, and the United States. Lewis is a strong advocate of cross cultural exchange and work or intern experiences abroad to best prepare for a career in our global world.
You’re the Director of Intern Australia, how did you originally get connected to The Intern Group?
In 2013 I had just completed my Master’s in International Relations and come to the end of a large project I had been working on for a Political Risk Consultancy. I was looking for a new international challenge. Having completed an internship at Citigroup from 2007 to 2008, I knew what it took to complete an international internship and the incredible benefits internships could bring.
I had been following The Intern Group in Hong Kong, Madrid, London, and Columbia as they expanded and grew in size and reputation. When the Australia Director role was advertised I applied immediately. I knew Australia was an incredible place to visit, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Great Ocean Road, and I had my heart set on Melbourne as a rapidly growing, friendly, vibrant centre, and according to the Economist newspaper for the last four years running, the world’s most liveable city!
What exactly does your role as Director entail on a daily basis?
I interview new applicants and discuss their future career aspirations. For those who are admitted to the program, I help them find a company that is the right fit, we have a lot of companies here in all sectors, from Finance to Public Relations. I help the cohort already on the program with a regular ‘surgery’ where we conduct professional development sessions and discuss participants internships and future careers.
When I am not at the office I also try to attend the social events organised by my Social Activities Leader and my wonderful team. This can be a pool party at one of Melbourne’s famous rooftop bars, or a weekend excursion to take in some of Australia’s incredible beaches and hug a Koala or shake hands/paws with a kangaroo!
What sets Intern Australia’s programs apart from other internships in Australia?
- An internship with a leading global organisation with global opportunities.
- The best roles with local and international companies
- 24/7 staff support
- Campus style accommodation living with a pool and a gym along with other program participants
- A full social calendar. For example, a surfing trip or seats at the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam. These events are included in the program at no extra cost.
We look very carefully at our prices and our placements. Having done an international internship when I was younger, I understand that it is an investment, and that like any investment we must demonstrate value and a healthy return in terms of your career.
What are the most common types of internship placements in Melbourne?
Fashion, International Business, and Marketing are favorites here, but we have roles in all sectors.
What are the three most important characteristics you look for in applicants to Intern Australia?
The ability to work hard and learn fast combined with the spirit of adventure.
Internships abroad focus greatly on cross cultural exchange, what is the best piece of advice you given to participants before they head to their internship placement?
Australia is a safe, English speaking, prosperous and exciting country, the perfect place to start a career: get outside your comfort zone, cast aside presumptions, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
What kind of excursions or activities do you have available to interns while they’re interning in Melbourne?
These are just some of the activities we have included in the program:
- A tour of local wine regions and visits to coastal sites of outstanding natural beauty with (optional) helicopter flight around the 12 Apostles
- Learn to surf on fabulous beaches
- Visits to Healesville Sanctuary and Phillip Island to meet the Kangaroos, Wallabies, Koalas, Penguins, and other unique indigenous species
- Dinners and drinks at some of Melbourne’s great restaurants and access to some of its hidden laneway bars - with local guides to help you find the ultimate coffee and chicken parmigiana!
- The classic Australian barbecue (on the beach of course!)
- Tickets to the Australian Open, The Melbourne Cup, The Australian Grand Prix, and games of cricket and Aussie Rules football at the MCG - one of the world’s greatest stadiums
What’s the top career benefit of doing an internship in Melbourne?
Experience. In both senses of the word. You will gain the experience that will set you apart from your peers combined with the experience of a lifetime exploring the magic of Australia’s natural wonders.
Your background is in Training and Risk Management, how do you apply these skills to your job as Director of Intern Australia?
As a trainer, I conduct CV and LinkedIn workshops and organize the curriculum for each internship to maximize the benefit for each intern.
I use my risk management experience to ensure we look after our participants. The 24-hour phone line, the regular surgery hours, and on the ground support throughout the role and beyond are all informed by my background working for a leading risk consultancy. That said, I have worked and traveled in over 50 cities across the United States, Asia, and Europe, and Melbourne is the safest city I have seen; the people here are incredibly nice!
For example, a few weeks ago I was going to pay for a take out coffee and realized I had left my wallet on a tram in the middle of the city (stupid!) at the same time, my mobile phone rang. It was someone who had my found my wallet and called the number from my business card inside. I told them the name of the cafe I was at and that I would come and get it straight away, but she told me to wait there and the heroine came and dropped it to me at my table a few minutes later. All of my cards and money were inside, I offered her some money but she laughed and waved me off. I just can’t imagine that happening in London, New York, or even San Francisco - you’d be lucky to get the wallet back, but never delivery. People are incredibly friendly here.
Do you have plans of expanding the Intern Australia program in any way?
Absolutely. We have a new company register with us on average once a week and we are always looking for new adventures and excursions to add to the program.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your role as Director with The Intern Group?
I co-own this company and because of that I care deeply about every participant we have getting the most from the experience both during and after the program. A fair few of our participants have stayed on in the country to explore, and in some cases to continue their career, as the visa options here are very flexible. Others have got well paid and rewarding jobs on their return home. Through our alumni network they are able to keep in touch, identify opportunities, and tell us how they are getting on. This transformational aspect, the pathway to a career, is the most satisfying aspect and is definitely worth our hard work.