Planning students make their mark in Queensland Government internship program

2nd September 2020

A group of QUT Urban and Regional Planning students is spending Semester 2, 2020 solving real industry projects with members of Queensland Parliament as part of an innovative internship program.

The students were selected for the Queensland Parliament Research Internship program, which gives students first-hand experience working with government and industry partners—important experience for their future careers.

Through the internship, students work on a planning project set up by a member of parliament—projects could include land use zoning issues, traffic problems or affordable housing.

The students meet with the member of parliament throughout the internship to define the program of research and track the students’ progress.

“This experience gives students an insight into the political processes within Queensland’s state government,” said Professor Douglas Baker, who coordinates the QUT interns.

“They can also build an understanding of how parliament members work with and for their constituents, as well as being exposed to the workings of parliament.”

Most importantly, the students develop experience working on emerging issues that have a real impact on Queensland communities—a key part of QUT’s real-world learning.

Students produce a research paper during the internship, exploring the issues they discover while working on their project.

“We looked for high-achieving students from our Community Planning unit—a final-year honours unit for planning students—who we think will benefit from the experience,” said Baker.

“QUT students have been participating in the program since 2002. The internships exceed their expectations, broaden their learning and set them up well for future careers.”

Samuel Laing is currently involved in the internship program after looking for an interesting alternative to traditional classroom-based learning.

“I work at the Moreton Bay Regional Council with a QUT graduate who participated in the program, and he recommended it as a really positive learning experience,” said Laing.

“I’ve learned so much about how the Queensland Parliament operates, and its roles and processes.

“Not only will this experience be a great addition to my resume, but I’ve also learned new things, made important networks, and built important experience in collaborative, professional environment.”

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