Internship Program


Sydney Alliance Placements & Internships 2020

Duration: January 18th- May 28th

Internship: 8 hours a week OR
Placement: (as part of university social work coursework) 400-500 hours

Sydney Alliance is very flexible with what hours are worked per week as well as shifting hours around during the period Jan-May to take into account working, family commitments and assessment periods.

Lead Organiser: Diana Olmos

Supported by: Sydney Alliance Organisers  


"I used to introduce myself as an Indian student in Australia, today I am a Colombian, a Nepalese and a Chinese, today I am part of the community of international students ready to take action in the issues that affect us most," Amit Vikram Singh, one of our inspiring assistant community organisers.

As an assistant organiser in the Alliance you will be mentored by the lead organiser and thrown into new opportunities to organise for the common good of international students. The current agenda includes social isolation, work rights, education providers regulation, housing and evictions, welfare and issues relating to international student’s wellbeing. The Alliance has been supporting the creation of Oz International Student Chapter, created by international student leaders from different backgrounds to provide a Welcome, Support and Justice space.

Your experience will vary widely and you will work in a team with the other interns of diverse cultural backgrounds and with others members in the Alliance network. You will learn about advocacy strategy, politics and put into practice the power of community organising during the recovery period of one of the most challenging crises of recent global history.

If you care about power and inequality, human rights and social justice come and learn how to build and exercise cooperative power.


  • Interns are tasked with expanding and deepening the relationships, listening and power of the Sydney Alliance.
  • The Alliance internship is unique and will push you in your understanding of relational power, leadership, self-interest and action. You will be asked to put into practice what we reflect and learn in trainings.
  • You will do a range of activities that may include administration, research, recruitment, organising, public speaking, writing, media, campaigning, small group facilitation, assembly preparation and execution and research-action meetings with academics, experts, government institutions, private sector and civil society organisations. 

For the duration of the internship, you will be encouraged to contribute to discussions and put yourself forward as other leaders in the Sydney Alliance would- except where organisers have explicitly asked you to observe. In those situations, interns are encouraged to think about raising questions and comments in rigorous evaluation of what they have just observed. (Learning the nature of listening)

Once oriented, placements are expected to contribute independently and need less and less guidance as the placement goes on, you will be required an active participation and engagement in your own community. The interns group will be guided through reflections for the first weeks of the placement.

You will be supervised by the Organiser and will consult closely with colleagues about different projects.  Interns will be exposed to a wide range of leaders from various faith, union and community sector backgrounds and will be active in neighbourhoods across different parts of Sydney.

Can I participate in this internship as an international student or temporary worker visa?

Yes. The Sydney Alliance has designed this voluntary leadership and education experience within the frameworks of all visa categories. You will be supported by Sydney Alliance’s public liability insurance while acting as a volunteer for the Alliance. The Sydney Alliance is an extremely well recognised civil society organisation working for the common good of all Sydneysiders.

Placement responsibilities and expectations

Punctual to all agreed meetings.
Wear professional dress at all Sydney Alliance meetings.
Email report activities and hours once a fortnight to the Lead Organiser.
Activities will be completed in a timely manner.  Where issues arise, the intern will speak first with the Organiser or the appropriate staff member.
Placements are in charge of their own work load, and communicating effectively when they are at or near their capacities. Placements should be aware of deadlines and be active planners and action takers.
Readings are to be completed before reflection meetings.
Placements will, in conjunction with Sydney Alliance staff and team leaders, be proactive in advancing the work of the Sydney Alliance in the empowerment of international students.

At the end of the internship, placements will:

  • Be competent at relational meeting
  • Be competent at facilitating listening campaigns and online meetings
  • Be able to speak publicly about their story
  • Be able to manage a small team of volunteers
  • Have made a significant contribution to the power and leadership of Sydney Alliance
  • Have a set of professional relationships with fellow interns, volunteer leaders and staff and leaders across Sydney.
  • Understand mid-range community organising theory and practice and be skilled in explaining how it connects to social work theory and practice.
  • Made a significant difference in the future of international education in Australia
  • Graduate and be an alumnus of the Sydney Alliance Internship program.

Campaigns and projects you may be involved in:

Compulsory Activities:

  • Interns Induction, Friday Jan 22nd. 9:30am-2:00pm
  • Sydney Alliance Council Meeting: Wednesday March 3rd, evening
  • Sydney Alliance Leaders retreat: Monday Feb 15th (Zoom)- one session Face to Face between Feb 16th- Feb 25th 2021.
  • Foundations Training: 2 Day Training in April, Date to be confirmed
  • Group Meetings: Weekly/then Fortnightly check-in’s with Lead Organiser Diana Olmos. Zoom online meetings and face to face depending on COVID19 restrictions
  • Colleagues: Reflection meetings with other interns
  • Taste of organising: Each intern will be asked to demonstrate participation in a team, effort or initiative related to one of the issue areas.
  • Graduation: Interns work as a team to organise their own graduation as an “action” supported by Sydney Alliance and Sydney Community Forum

Examples of reflection group readings (Readings to be sent):

  • Roots for Radicals, Chapter 1: World as it is, World as it should be. Ed Chambers.
  • Roots for Radicals Chapter 2: The Relational meeting. Ed Chambers
  • What is Public Narrative? Marshall Ganz
  • Origins of Organising, Luke Bretherton
  • Tactics, Saul Alinksy
  • Assembling in Solidarity, Austen Ivereigh

Next steps:

Please send your CV and cover letter to [email protected] by COB Sunday the 3rd of January 2021.





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 170 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, Nepalese, Sinhalese, Columbian, Peruvian, 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 [email protected] to find out about the latest intake.

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