Eleven legal interns from the University of Newcastle in Sydney Australia commenced a three-week internship programme within government agencies yesterday. The group led by their law school lecturer Dr Kevin Sobel-Read, were hosted by the Office of the Public Service Commissioner to a Public Service induction programme on their first day.
Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas said “this is a wonderful opportunity for these students to work alongside our public servants and contribute to the work we do, while gaining insight into how we operate. Internships have been beneficial to the people of the Cook Islands for many years, explained Thomas. Undergraduate students from Germany have worked in our public health dental service for decades and teachers from Monash University in Australia have worked in our schools for many years, often bringing resources for our children.”
The interns have come in under the New Colombo Plan, an Australian Government initiative that enables Australian undergraduate students to study and undertake internships in participating Indo-Pacific countries, to gain more knowledge on the residents of these countries.
The New Colombo Plan was launched for the Cook Islands in April 2015 during the visit to Rarotonga of Australia’s Foreign Minister Julia Bishop. The current batch of law students are the second intake for the Cook Islands. Last year, 20 music and film students from the University of Melbourne completed a mobility project, working with the local community to explore issues of sustainability, climate change, history and community through the creation of unique sound and vision artworks
The final-year law students will be working at the ministries of justice, health, foreign affairs and immigration, police, infrastructure, finance and office of the public service commissioner. Dr Sobel-Read is grateful for the work opportunities availed to these students and hopes the experience will lead to a continuing fruitful partnership between the university and government agencies here in the Cook Islands.
For more information on the New Colombo Plan, see http://dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/new-colombo-plan/about/Pages/about.aspx