The Career Mentor Program (CMP) wrapped up this week and both mentors and mentees agreed the experience was rewarding.
The program matches UTAS students with experienced professionals from the same degree background who are also alumni of the university.
For students, it’s a valuable way to gain useful career advice, through building an informal and supportive relationship with an experienced graduate.
For mentors, there’s personal satisfaction in making a difference to the career development of a student.
Mentor Richard Dowling is a Senior Advisor to Premier Lara Giddings and a UTAS graduate. This is the second time he has taken part in the program.
“The reason I got involved was thinking I would have found something like this incredibly valuable when I was a student.
“I felt I had reasonably good skills at university but I was looking for some direction and guidance around career development and professional networking- I thought that was something I could potentially give back to people who are looking for similar things.”
Mr Dowling said he found the program very satisfying.
“It’s great to track the progress and see the information and skills that you’re trying to impart are useful and help (the mentee) find guidance for their career.
“It is also refreshing to go back to your university days, reflect on your time there and renew your interest in the areas you were studying.”
Mr Dowling said the program even made him consider whether he might return to university to do further study.
Mr Dowling’s mentee Rebecca Byrnes, 21, is in the third year of her combined Economics/Law degree at UTAS.
Rebecca was emailed Richard’s profile and when their career and study interests aligned, she applied for the program.
“I’ve learnt a lot of different skills that are applicable to my future career.
“Also, it’s made me think about a lot of things I should be doing now, so I progress more and find looking for a job in the future a lot easier.”
Rebecca said she has also learnt about networking and how to successfully build connections
In 2012 there were 75 CMP participants, a big growth on last year’s program which had 40.
There are plans for 2013 to further increase levels of engagement, including incorporating small groups, English conversation mentors for international students, employer info sessions and network events.
There are also plans to further extend access to CMP for distance students and include internationally-based mentors.