HAYLEY Paku, a Bachelor of Arts student majoring in law and society and political science and international relations, recently put the skills and knowledge gained through her study to use supporting social policy development with the Shire of Mundaring.
Hayley contributed 100 hours working with the shire through a McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship, assisting with community resources and shire policies addressing homelessness, as well as drafting a diversity and inclusion strategy.
“The tasks I completed will contribute to the support provided to people affected by homelessness across the district, and hopefully, will also increase awareness of homelessness in the wider community,” Hayley said.
“The internship opened my eyes to the unique and critical work done by local governments, as well as the challenges they face. More often than not, LGA’s are not discussed when we look at policy, law or politics – the focus lies heavily at the federal level, which can result in less understanding of local actions taken to address issues and build community.”
Shire community engagement facilitator Karen White said that Hayley’s internship efforts had far exceeded expectations.
“Hayley was dedicated to gaining the best possible outcome for the Shire of Mundaring and the local community,” Ms White said.
“She developed a draft homelessness policy and a resource guide for use by shire staff and community members supporting people experiencing homelessness,” she said.
Hayley said that the highlight of her internship was learning about the processes involved in policy development in a practical setting.
“This internship provided me with a wealth of new knowledge, as well as networking opportunities and a chance to develop my skills further.
“The experience equipped me with a practical understanding of local government and the different levels involved in decision making, and the exposure to the office environment will definitely be useful.
“I gained far more than I anticipated, and I would 100 per cent encourage other students to consider opportunities like this.”