The Aurora Project

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Anthropology can be a difficult area to break into, so to have the opportunity to prove myself and establish links with such a fantastic organisation was truly invaluable.

Jacinta Perry,
placed at Native Title Services Victoria Ltd (NTSV)

About the Aurora Internship Program

The Internship Program commenced in 2004 with the placement of legal interns at a limited number of NTRBs and other organisations working in Indigenous affairs more generally. To address the needs of anthropology and research staff at NTRBs and PBCs, the Program expanded to include anthropology students and graduates in 2006 and other social science students and graduates in 2007. Rio Tinto, who partially funded the Program since inception, is no longer supporting the Program. as of December 2014. Further to our recent Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) funding application, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has agreed to a 6 month extension of our existing funding agreement for the ‘Aurora Internship Program for Native Title Organisations’ through December 2016. This became necessary due to the lack of time to negotiate a longer term arrangement given the caretaker period which is expected to commence shortly. Depending on the outcome of the election on 2 July, it is PM&C’s current intention to enter into a longer term arrangement with Aurora later in the year.


Aurora winter 2015 intern placed at CAALAS, Alice Springs

The legal Internship Program has since expanded to include anthropology and some social science (archaeology, cultural heritage, environmental management, human geography, history and sociology) students and graduates, now placed at the 15 NTRBs, 10 PBCs and at over 100 other Indigenous corporations, government bodies, community groups and other policy organisations Australia-wide.

In 2009, Aurora piloted the placement of business interns at NTRBs and other organisations.

The Internship Program, combined with Aurora’s training and professional development program, support the recruitment and retention of staff at NTRBs and PBCs in particular, in addition to the broader Indigenous sector.

Internship Program now

Over 1,900 internship placements have been arranged as at summer 2015/16.

The Program continues to attract enthusiastic participation by students and graduates from universities across Australia as well as overseas, with over 5,000 applications received and over 1,900 internship placements arranged, as at the summer 2015/16 round.





Internship Program - making a difference

  • 62 legal alumni have taken up full-time positions at NTRBs as a result of the Internship Program, which is around 80% of the number of full-time lawyers in the NTRB system at the time of our April 2005 Report (76)
  • 35 anthropology alumni have taken up full-time positions at NTRBs which is over 45% of the number of full-time anthropologists (74) in the NTRB system at the time of a recent survey, Collaborative connections: In-house and consultant anthropologists, conducted by Cameo Dalley, Research Fellow, Centre for Native Title Anthropology, ANU
  • Four social science (one archaeology, two researchers and one communications officer) alumni have taken up full-time positions at NTRBs
  • One legal and one anthro alum have taken up full-time positions at a 2 PBCs
  • 35 legal alumni have taken up full-time positions at 20 organisations working in the Indigenous sector
  • 10 anthropology alumni have taken up full-time positions at 7 organisations working in the Indigenous sector
  • 17 social science alumni have taken up full-time positions at 13 organisations working in the Indigenous sector
  • The Program has arranged 68 Australian Indigenous internship placements (51 legal, 6 anthropology and 11 other social science), 5 of which have led to full-time positions in the NTRB system.  An additional two Canadian Aboriginal placements were arranged
  • Around 20% of our alumni are working or have worked in paid positions in native title or the broader Indigenous sector
  • Over 20% of ATSI interns who have participated in the Program are working or have worked for NTRBs, PBCs and/or in the broader Indigenous sector
  • Around 80% of internship alumni have expressed an interest in working in native title or the broader Indigenous sector in the future.
  • The Program has led to over 350 alumni going on to work in a full-time or part-time capacity in organisations working in native title and the broader Indigenous sector.