Why are the internships unpaid?

Understanding Unpaid Internships

Internships Down Under specialises in facilitating internships for students and young professionals exclusively in Australia. While we offer a variety of internship opportunities, it’s important to understand why many of these internships may be unpaid. Below are the key factors contributing to this arrangement:

Legal and Regulatory Framework in Australia:

Australia has specific labor laws governing internships. To be considered legal, an internship must meet certain criteria. If an internship primarily benefits the intern and does not create an employment relationship, it may be classified as unpaid.

Educational Focus:

Unpaid internships in Australia often prioritise educational and learning experiences. They provide interns with the chance to gain practical skills, industry-specific knowledge, and the opportunity to apply their academic learning in a real-world context.


Unpaid internships can be viewed as an extension of formal education. Just as students invest in their education at universities or colleges, participating in an unpaid internship is a strategic investment in gaining practical skills, industry knowledge, and professional networks. It provides a unique hands-on learning experience that complements and enhances traditional classroom education. This investment in practical education contributes to a more well-rounded and job-ready professional upon graduation.

Limited Contribution to Revenue Generation:

Unpaid internships typically involve tasks that do not directly contribute to a company’s revenue. Interns often work on projects, research, or support tasks that are considered complementary to the core business operations.

Mentorship and Supervision:

Companies offering unpaid internships often invest additional resources in mentorship and supervision to ensure that interns receive meaningful guidance and feedback during their temporary placement.

Industry Norms:

In Australia, unpaid internships are common in certain industries due to budget constraints. These industries often balance the lack of monetary compensation with the educational benefits and networking opportunities they provide.

Intern’s Academic Status:

Unpaid internships in Australia are typically undertaken by students or recent graduates seeking practical experience to enhance their academic qualifications and improve their employability.

Flexibility for Learning and Exploration:

Unpaid internships in Australia often offer greater flexibility for interns to explore different aspects of an industry or organisation, which can help them make informed career choices and develop a well-rounded skill set.

Networking Opportunities:

Interns in unpaid positions in Australia have additional opportunities to build professional networks, interact with industry experts, and establish valuable contacts for future career growth.

Potential for Future Employment:

An unpaid internship in Australia can lead to future job offers or recommendations for paid positions within the industry of choice. An internship on a CV will make a participant more employable and standout from other applicants.


Unpaid internships arranged by Internships Down Under in Australia are designed to provide interns with valuable educational experiences. These opportunities are intended to complement academic studies and support personal and professional development. Understanding the legal and industry-specific reasons behind unpaid internships can help interns make informed decisions about their career development within the Australian context.