Tim Olliver

Native Title
Summer 2014

During the summer 13/14 round of the Aurora Native Title Internship Program, I completed two internships in both Perth and Melbourne.

Towards the end of my Bachelor of Archaeology at La Trobe University I came across The Program. I was straight away interested in undertaking an internship in an area of great importance and social value. I applied for the Program and after an initial interview was placed at Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) in Perth. This was a social science internship and I was assigned to work within the spatial team there on various tasks including mapping.

When I arrived in Perth to undertake my internship I was not sure what to expect after reading about the under resourced and time poor Native Title Representative Bodies (NTRBs). It was a quiet time of year being the first Monday after New Years, and while initially quiet this was not the case for long. It was soon very busy, with both the legal and research teams returning from the Christmas break. In the spatial team I gained invaluable experience using mapping software and seeing how this is used to assist native title claims. The working relationships between legal and research staff was great to be part of and taught me enormously about dealing with different stakeholders in a diverse and demanding workplace.

After my experience with YMAC I offered to undertake a second internship closer to home. I was lucky to have NTSV take me on during a busy period. This was a truly great and invaluable experience as it meant minimal supervision during my time there. I was given varied tasks, and many times thrown in the deep end to produce reports and maps for use by the researchers on claims. It was great to be given tasks that needed completion by a projects’ deadline, as it helped develop important project management skills for  future careers.

The experience of an Aurora internship is something I would highly recommend to students or recent graduates as you learn on the job experience not gained through tertiary education. While gaining new and valuable skills, you always are able to put in practice university knowledge and understanding, further developing your education after studying.