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The Aurora Project

October 24, 2014 by Curtin CEL Team

The Aurora Project

The Aurora Project was established in 2006 as a result of a report into the professional development needs of lawyers at Native Title Representative Bodies. Over the years it has grown to encompass other projects in the broader area of Indigenous education and Indigenous affairs generally. Aurora has, to date, placed 1400 students in internships stemming from Anthropology, Social Sciences and Law.

The Aurora Project offers incredible opportunities and dynamic work experience. However, internships are unpaid and it is likely that you will need to cover travel, accommodation and living expenses – so you will need to be financially prepared. Many students have gained graduate employment  the program, so if you’re really keen – consider it an investment in your future!

In addition to studying the matching degree to the internship, all applicants need to possess:

  • Strong academic record
  • Interest in the area of native title, social justice and Indigenous affairs more generally
  • Strong cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills

Interested? Former intern, Fiona Walsh shares her experience:

“Having come to the end of my three year Bachelor of Arts degree, I like many, felt very unsure of what my future held. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to work in a field that allowed me to work with people and that hopefully, eventually I would become a primary school teacher.

After deciding to take a year off to work, travel and ‘find myself’, I quickly realised that taking time off from study was not as enjoyable as I thought it would be. I missed studying and felt that I wanted to learn more, so I decided to look into undertaking an internship. My major in Indigenous Australian Cultural Studies was very specific and I really had no idea where or what sort of company would take me. After doing a bit of research I stumbled across the Aurora Native Title Internship Program.

The Internship Program places law, anthropology and some social science students and graduates in Native Title Representative Body’s (NTRBs) as well as other Indigenous corporations, government bodies, community groups and policy organisations all over Australia. I was lucky enough to be placed at the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC) in Perth. WDLAC is the Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) for the Martu people of the Western Desert. WDLAC holds native title determination on trust for the Martu people, which recognises their exclusive rights of access to the land parcel, analogous to free-hold title.

While university had given me an abundance of knowledge and information, I was hoping an Aurora internship would offer me practical insight into working in the area of Indigenous affairs in the real world, and this is exactly what I got. During the interview process prior to receiving my placement, I mentioned that I was interested in and hoping to undertake a Diploma of Primary Education. While WDLAC mainly exists to protect the native title rights of Martu people, it also works with communities to increase general standards of living and levels of education. WDLAC gave me the opportunity to combine my degree, as well as my interest in education, and gave me first hand insight into the work being undertaken in the area of Indigenous affairs, as well as the work still to be done.

Working at WDLAC has not only confirmed my interest in education but inspired me to really want to work with Indigenous communities.”

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