Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

WTO Internships

Internship Opportunities


World Trade Organization/Aid for Trade Internship

In 2016, there is an opportunity for an Australian to undertake a self-funded internship at the Australian Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.

The Mission seeks applicants interested in trade, development and their intersection.

The internship will take place between 21 October and 19 December 2016.

Applications will be open between 11 and 28 August. Applications received outside this time will not be considered.

The position

The Australian Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization in Geneva is responsible for negotiating on Australia’s behalf in the multilateral trading system, managing Australia’s Geneva based aid for trade investments, and representing Australia’s interests in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

This position will primarily provide support to Australian negotiators working to conclude the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), advance negotiations on Agriculture and promote Australia’s interests in the aid for trade space in Geneva.

The work is highly varied but often challenging, requiring adaptability, clarity of thought and expression, and a capacity to develop an understanding of diplomacy, trade and development.

In addition to supporting negotiations, the successful applicant will assist with all aspects of the aid management process. This could include the monitoring and evaluation of existing investments, negotiations around jointly managed funds and the shepherding of ideas into project proposals.

Under the guidance of experienced officers, the interns may be required to represent the Australian Government in a formal capacity – for example, in discussions with other governments.

The World Trade Organization

Representing Australia at the World Trade Organization is the defining role of the Mission. The WTO is the only global body for multilateral negotiations on everything from tariff reduction to subsidies. Australia is an active player across the gamut of WTO issues. The WTO is also the primary arbiter of global trade disputes, through the Dispute Settlement Body. Australia is a participant in a number of proceedings, either as a party or as a third party.

Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)

The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is a services-only trade agreement Australia is jointly leading with the European Union and the United States. The TiSA will set a new standard in services trade commitments in a multilateral setting.  It aims to capture the progress that has been made through unilateral liberalisation and in free trade agreements outside the multilateral system. The TiSA negotiations also provide an opportunity to develop new disciplines (or trade rules) in areas where there have been significant developments since the WTO Uruguay Round negotiations.

The successful applicant will be expected to do much of their training “on-the-job”. You will learn first-hand how the foreign service functions and gain a useful understanding of diplomatic protocol. You will be expected to quickly get across complex issues around trade and development, the positions of key players and how Australia’s positions are being advanced. You may be asked to undertake research or evaluation tasks on a self-taught, but guided basis so as to feed into the broader work of the Mission.

Who we are looking for

We are particularly interested in candidates with academic qualifications in disciplines relating specifically to trade, development and legal issues.

The candidates we are looking for are:

•talented, highly motivated and committed to the goals of the Mission;

•good communicators with excellent oral and written communication skills;

•self-motivated and innovative

•strategic thinkers and practical problem-solvers;

•team players with good organisational skills;

•very flexible, adaptable and resourceful;

•sensitive to, and appreciative of diversity; and

•ability to work under pressure with limited guidance.

Minimum Requirements

Before lodging an application for a position please ensure that you meet the minimum criteria for consideration listed below.


You should:

•be an Australian citizen;

•possess relevant qualifications and background with preference being given to those who have completed, or are completing, tertiary studies in areas such as political science, economics, international relations, international trade, international law or international development;

•be willing to undergo a mandatory police check; and

•be willing to re-locate to Geneva for a period of up to two months, on a self-funded basis, which includes travel, visa, accommodation, and health insurance arrangements.

Note:  If you are not an Australian citizen, you should not submit an application.

Conduct and Ethics

The Mission demands the highest standards of professional conduct from its employees. Ethical conduct by staff and interns contributes significantly to the efficiency and effectiveness of the workplace and to the standing of the Mission and its employees in Australia and internationally.

In agreeing to participate in the Mission’s Internship Program and undertake duties as directed, interns are required to comply with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Locally Engaged Staff Code of Conduct, which takes account of the particular significance of the department's representational role outside Australia.

Self-funded and voluntary

The Mission is not able to provide financial assistance to successful applicants. You are responsible for your own travel, visa, accommodation, and health insurance arrangements. Be prepared: the cost of living is high in Geneva. Be prepared for a cost of AUD$2,000-$3,000 per month in addition to your flights.

How to apply

To apply you will need to send your CV and complete the questionnaire below. Please keep your answers to a maximum of 250 words per question.

If you are a student, we particularly welcome applications that include a reference or letter of support from your University.


Applications for the Internship Program should include a CV, the completed internship questionnaire (see below) and letter from your university (if you are a student).

All applications should be emailed to  Please include the subject line "SURNAME, first name: Internship Application".

Please note that you will receive acknowledgement via email of receipt of your application. This is not an automated process so the response will not be immediate. You will be notified by email of the outcome of the selection process (whether your application is successful or not).


Applicants are asked to complete the below internship questionnaire. Responses should be no more than 250 words in length per question. The questionnaire is designed to assess your suitability to perform the duties of the position including personal qualities, experience, skills and knowledge relevant to the work of an intern at the Mission.

Internship Questionnaire

1. Why are you applying for the Internship Program in the Australian Mission to the World Trade Organization in Geneva?

2. Briefly outline a recent achievement, project or task that demonstrates your analytical and research skills and your ability to think strategically.

3. Provide some examples of how you have used your written and oral communication skills to achieve an outcome, in the workplace, or elsewhere.

4. The WTO is a set of rules, a forum for negotiation of agreements and a dispute resolution body. Which of these areas is of greatest interest to you, and why?

5. Describe an ‘aid for trade’ development project you would be interested in overseeing. Explain how it would contribute to poverty alleviation, growth and jobs.

6.  Please list any countries outside Australia in which you have lived during the past 10 years.

7. (Optional): Do you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?

8. (Optional): Do you identify as speaking English as your second language? Do you speak any languages other than English?


Short-listed candidates may be interviewed via phone or in person (in Geneva) if convenient. Successful candidates will be advised in writing (by email) after which they will need to undertake a police clearance.

Requests for further information should be emailed to:


A past intern shares their experience