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USP Seals Deal for Pacific Internship Programme

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(From L-R): Dr Bibhya Sharma, Acting Dean of FSTE, Ms Diana Van Woerkom, Managing Director of AI, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Ms Jenny Salonen, Strategic Engagement Director at AI and Ms Oliana Nayago, Industry Liaison Officer at FSTE.

The University of the South Pacific signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Australian Internships Pty Limited, an Australian based global internship provider with over 20 years experience offering internships in almost all academic disciplines for candidates from over 80 countries around the world.

The University is currently working with Australian Internships to introduce the “Pacific Internship Programme” - a “buddy system” whereby local USP students will be paired with an international university student and attached to a local host organisation for the duration of their internship. 

The buddy system would see the international and Fijian intern being placed with a host organisation at the same time and would share tasks, knowledge and learnings.

This will also provide an opportunity for cultural exchange and awareness of industry challenges specific to the Pacific region.

AI and USP will work together to develop a schedule for the internship and align this to the needs of the host organisation. 

The internship programme can vary in length from 6 weeks to 26 weeks and aligns to the student’s area of study.

USP reached out to its local industry partners to be host organisations for the scheme.  Local corporate firm – Fijian Holdings Limited and two Engineering firms – NRW Macallan (Fiji) Limited and Civil Works Solutions (Pte) Limited have also signed MOUs with AI. 

The local host organisations will play a crucial role in bringing the Pacific Internship Programme to life. 

The host organisations gain quality interns based on internal assessments allowing for cost-effective way to fill short terms staffing needs whilst interns receive a unique form of education which blends training and academic credit with a unique practical work experience here in the Pacific.

AI develops a very structured training agreement in consultation with the host organisation. This ensures the experience is beneficial to both the intern and the host organisation.

In signing the MOU with AI, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP welcomed AI on board, and remarked that the programme through the MOU brings in a win-win situation for both institutions.

Ms Diana van Woerkom, Managing Director of AI shared that Universities in other countries want their students to be globally prepared, adding that globally-prepared students need to look at all destinations and South Pacific is a critical one, which the rest of world need to recognise.

She thanked Ms Oliana Nayago, Industry & Community Liaison Coordinator at FSTE for organising the arrangement between USP and AI.

This news item was published on 11 Apr 2019 01:27:44 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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