Student Intern Program

About the Local Government Finance Student Internship Grants

The Local Government Finance Authority (LGFA) has partnered with the South Australian Local Government Financial Management Group (FMG) to provide South Australian Councils the opportunity to apply for a one-off grant to assist in the attraction of finance graduate placements by subsidising the costs of student accommodation, travel and other barriers, particularly faced among regional councils.

The primary aim of the program is to attract high performing students to the local government sector to improve the strategic capabilities within local government across all council business areas.

The program is initially aimed at finance internships so that program overheads are minimised, learnings can be documented and the successes can easily be shared throughout the existing FMG network. If successful and with enough demand the program can later expand to other disciplines and with it, further resources to coordinate and promote the program.

Whilst the grant is available to any student placement program, FMG has found UniSA offers a range of managed student placement options that are adaptable at each intake to the needs of council business units.

The Internships Division of UniSA Business meets with councils as part of their regular workforce planning activities to identify requirements for student intakes and then works across portfolios within the university to develop packaged offerings student intake programs for each business unit to match the workforce planning and work type requirements. The UniSA model can be built around a project or business need and can be tailored for students to experience a number of areas of council operations. UniSA undertake program positions itself in the market as a free, one-stop-shop for tailored student and graduate entry programs.

Duration of placements are flexible ranging from 15 to 45 days. Most Commerce  students are required to undertake a 15 day placement. Students are not paid, as placement is considered part of course accreditation. Internal HR requirements would be managed within Council. 

Hosting student placements may bring about additional costs to the host council particularly in regional areas. At a minimum it is expected that host Council’s in regional areas provide the student with accommodation as well as covering transport costs to/from the location (could be fuel or flights). Some host Council’s may wish to go beyond this requirement and provide local transport and meals, but that is not an expectation, although it does help draw students there to the regional area.

This grant program will support councils by subsidising the costs incurred to host student internships.

pdf Funding Guidelines for SALGFMG Student Intern Program (310 KB)

FMG Student Intern Grant FAQs.pdf

How much grant funding is available?

  • The total funding pool is $25,000 (GST exclusive); and
  • Up to $5,000 of funding is available for individual councils (GST exclusive); and
  • GST will apply on placements funded by the grant program. Applicants will be requested to provide estimated placement cost exclusive of GST (i.e., do not include GST in the costs provided). However, when a project is approved, the amount paid to the applicant will be grossed-up to include GST. An invoice (which must comply with the specifications for a tax invoice) will need to be raised by the recipient for the total amount of the grant, including the GST. This tax invoice must be provided before the grant is paid. 

Examples of graduate projects

Examples of finance specific projects that could be allocated to graduate students during placements are provided below:

Projects

  • Account mapping – Chart of account exercises / Grants commission alignment
  • Accounts Payable Payment terms review
  • Finance induction review
  • Financial delegations review
  • Internal Finance query review
  • Review EOM  process and suggestions for streamlining to develop EOM reporting on a page for presentation to council 
  • Sample testing of internal controls and review
  • Address recommendations from internal audit reviews
  • Annual Business Plan – review our plan against other councils and come up with a new template that addresses legislation and simplified 
  • Review fees and charges register and check compliance within organisation that we are charging fees as per register (and GST correct treatment)

‘Business As Usual’ Tasks

Assisting in:

  • Reconciliations
  • Accounts Payable / receivables
  • Journals
  • Preparation and distribution of monthly financial reports / variance analysis & performance analysis and commentary
  • Fixed Assets & Capital Project database Management 
  • Cashflow Reporting
  • Preparation and audit of annual financial statements and external reports to stakeholders
  • Policy research

Eligibility

Who can apply?

South Australia’s 68 councils.

What applications will be supported?

Applications are required to:

  • Provide a new short-term graduate placement for a Commerce related student (Accounting, Finance, Economics, Finance & Trade and Financial Planning).
  • Expected to incur additional expenses such as accommodation, travel, training, meals and other incentives required to attract a student placement.
  • Be willing to share the learnings and successes from the placement across the local government sector.

What applications will not be supported?

The following items or activities will not be supported:

  • retrospective costs (any money spent before a grant is approved);
  • funds to distribute to individuals - sponsorships, scholarships, donations, reimbursements, uniforms; 
  • individual debt payments;
  • grant writer, auspice or auditor fees;
  • ongoing operating costs of the organisation or costs not directly related to the placement; 
  • items, projects, programs or equipment that are already funded, or are the core responsibility of other state and commonwealth government departments; 
  • existing staff wages; or
  • the cost of prizes or gifts;

Key dates and timing

The grant program timelines as described below are indicative and will align with the academic calendar of given year.

Semester Cohort Internship start date

March

June

August

November

Grant round opens 

January

April

June

September

Grant round closes 

2 weeks from round opening

Approval of grant recipients

February

May

July

October

Agreement signed and expected costs / invoices finalised

February

May

July

October

Placement start date 

March

June

August

November

Placement completion date

June

September

November

February

Projects completion report and receipts and financial statement submitted (non-negotiable) 

August

November

January

April

Learnings and successes shared with FMG

September

December

February

May

How to apply?

To apply for the grant fill out and submit the form below.

Questions about the grants application can be directed to Michele Bennetts, Managing Director lgiQ at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Program Eligibility


Graduate Placement Project Details


Costs

How are applications assessed?

Applications must meet eligibility criteria to be assessed.

All eligible applications will then be assessed by the Financial Management Group’s Student Placement Program Working group.

The assessment panel will evaluate the applications on a competitive basis against the assessment criteria. 

These include:

  1. Project Eligibility
  2. Graduate Placement Project Details
  3. Placement Support
  4. Costs

A recommendation will be provided to the President of the Executive committee of the FMG for approval and notification.

Assessment criteria

Each application will be assessed against the criteria and weightings outlined below. Applicants should aim to address each criterion through the information they provide in their application.

 

Criteria

Weighting

1.

Program Eligibility

Is it satisfactorily completed?

Nil

2.

Graduate Placement Project Details

Placement Project Brief :

  • Does the application set out an agreed placement project brief?
  • Does the brief set out clear deliverables?
  • What is the length of the placement?
  • How much will the placement benefit both the student and the host Council?

40%

3. 

Placement Support

What will the level of support be provided to the graduate to ensure a successful placement? 

  • Level of Student supervision and mentoring/coached to undertake the activities as outlined in the Project Brief.
  • Have a safe working environment.
  • Student be afforded flexibility to balance their other study, work and life commitments.

35%

4.

Costs

Does the proposed placement:

  • represent value for money?
  • present a reasonable estimate of costs and a breakdown of how the grant will be utilised?
  • Is the host council providing additional financial or in-kind support?

Applicants will be required to provide an approximate cost breakdown

25%

Notification process

All applying councils – successful or unsuccessful – will receive written notification from the FMG.

Successful applicants

Successful applicants will be asked to sign an agreement and comply with its conditions, which will include requirements to:

  • Submit a final report accounting for how the applicant spent the funding (basic financial acquittal); 
  • Provide a short report detailing the learnings and successes of the placement that will be shared with FMG and the LGFA.

Reporting requirements

On completion of the placement, the host Council will need to complete a basic financial acquittal in the pre-approved format with any unused funding to be returned to the FMG.

Grant recipients will be required to provide a short one-page summary about the details of the placement including the projects/work that was undertaken, learnings and successes of the placement including proposed improvements to future placements.

Further information

For further information contact: 

Michele Bennetts
Managing Director, lgiQ
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.       
Tel: 0404 467 766

Luke Harris
Manager Finance & Rates
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 8372 8833

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PO Box 255 Smithfield SA 5114 
Tel: 0408 801 026 
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