Internship Program

Youth Leadership

The Sydney Alliance offers a volunteer internship program to engage young people in community organising and civic participation. The program draws young people, generally (but not exclusively) under the age of 26, from universities across Sydney and from within member organisations.

There are two options of participation:

  • Internships that vary from 4 to 6 months and are generally structured to fit into the student’s current schedule of work and study. 8 Hours a week. 
  • Placements as part of university coursework, 400-500 hours total.

The next intake is August-December 2019, contact for more information. 

Applicants are interviewed by our organisers to ensure they are motivated and prepared to commit time to the program.  The project that each intern works on is organised around their interests, skills and community background, in consultation with the Intern Coordinator, senior staff at the Alliance, leaders from our partner organisations and with input from other interns.



The program teaches 4 stages:

  • Induction & Training
    Interns learn about the history of organising, processes, underlying values and self-reflection as a group.
  • Project Allocation
    After learning more about the campaigns of the Sydney Alliance interns begin to identify their interest and start refining their project plans
  • Community Organising
    The project implementation commences; the intern is exposed to ideas and methods of social work, social justice traditions and traditional political engagement. Ongoing refinement of the project may occur based on real life experiences.
  • Interns will organise around refugees, people seeking asylum, affordable housing and may participate in action supporting penalty rates and action on climate change. 
  • Evaluation
    Interns will have an opportunity to come together as a group to reflect and evaluate their experience and explore next steps of their development in terms of career path, ongoing leadership development, job opportunities, etc. At the end of the internship, the interns team organise their own graduation as a Sydney Alliance action.

Each intern is mentored through the program with regular meetings both with the Alliance organisers and their fellow interns.

Organising projects typically look like organising table talks on one or more of the issues, training, organising events, power analysis, attending and evaluating actions, sharing stories in public and much more.



For the Young Person:

  • Interns work with Sydneysiders of extremely diverse backgrounds, often challenging them as individuals and forcing them as individuals and forcing them to think critically about their own background, values and assumptions;
  • Leadership skills are developed as interns must manage their own projects, whilst learning to work in different types of teams across a multitude of tasks;
  • Mentoring by professional staff and the development of life skills that can be applied both to an interns professional and personal life;
  • Builds confidence and a sense of community and affirms them as an agent for change in the community;
  • Develops potential future job pathways with organisations within the Sydney Alliance partnership.


For the community:

  • The development of community social capital that can benefit diverse communities across Sydney, many of which do not have access to such resources and assistance;
  • The development of a civically engaged next generation;
  • Providing a new and growing organisation with a meaningful contribution through the project the intern develops and works on.



  • Over 150 interns have completed the program in the past 6 years.
  • Interns have come from a variety of faiths, Sunni, Shiite, Catholic, Uniting, Anglican, Baptist, Jewish, Hindu & Buddhist and others from non-faith based backgrounds.
  • 70% of Interns have come from ethnically diverse cultures, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Filipino, Fijian, Korean, Tamil, Bosnian, Turkish, Tongan-Australian, Nigerian, Iranian, Indian backgrounds.
  • 30% have come from highly disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • These interns have contacted, trained or up-skilled a further 2500 other young people during their internships.
  • Many Alliance interns have gone on to work in their chosen field of work engaging with the community. 



There are always more applicants for the interns program than there are places available due to funding constraints. Currently interns volunteer their time and the Sydney Alliance covers some of the costs associated with the program (such a transport and training).  Additional funding would allow for more young people to be placed in the program as well as being able to improve conditions for those undertaking an internship by providing better support.

  • $15,000 would support the Intern Coordinator for  2 days per week over a year to administer the interns program, train interns and supervise and mentor them;
  • $3,000 would support a young intern financially over a 4-5 month period whilst undertaking the internship;
  • $1,100 would sponsor an intern attending a residential 6 day Training and Leadership course;
  • $1,000 would provide a one off support payment to a young intern to assist them financially during the project;
  • $500 would assist with costs associated with implementing the project such as transport costs for interns, consumables.

If you would like to learn more about the program or provide support for our intern program, please contact David Barrow via email or on 0416 028 001.



Interns are tasked with expanding and deepening the relationships, listening and power of the Sydney Alliance through supporting campaign and district teams.

They will do this through range of activities that may include administration, research, recruitment, organising, writing, media, campaigning, small group facilitation, assembly preparation and execution and research-action meetings.

For the duration of the internship, interns will be full members of their relevant campaign, district and table talks team and are encouraged to contribute to discussions and put themselves forward. Once oriented, interns are expected to contribute independently and need less and less guidance as the internship goes on.

The interns will be supervised by the intern coordinator and maybe by volunteer leaders from the campaign teams. There will be a set of reflection group meetings for support and guidance.

Interns are oriented and trained at the beginning of the program, working together in a team throughout the program and graduate as a cohort in an action they put together as a team. 

How do I apply?

Contact to find out about the latest intake.

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