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MWC launches mentoring programme

17 September 2019

The MWC Early Career Steering Committee (ECSC) have implemented a mentoring programme within the MWC with the overall aim of providing career and/or personal development across different areas of research.

Early this year the committee put a call out to MWC investigators to find out who would like to be involved in a mentoring programme. After gaining a large number of responses, the committee launched a pilot programme made up of 9 mentor and mentee pairings in May 2019, with the aim of refining a successful programme that can be rolled out to a larger group within the MWC network in early 2020.

Members of the ECSC working on the pilot put together a set of guidelines for participants to help facilitate their first meeting and establish an effective mentor/mentee relationship. A unique aspect of the programme is that it involves researchers at various levels in their career participating as both mentors and mentees, from different institutions and locations around New Zealand.

We recently caught up with some participants of the pilot group to see how things are progressing.  Mentor Jodie Johnston is a lecturer in the College of Science at the University of Canterbury and mentee Tamsin Robb is a PhD student in the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Auckland.

“It’s been really valuable to get a different perspective on long term career planning and things to watch out for,” says Tamsin.

“Jodie pushed me to look for training courses that may solve some of my road blocks. From a birds eye view, sometimes it’s easier for an outside person to see what the really simple solutions are.”

Jodie And Tamsin Cropped (1) 

As a mentor, Jodie can see a number of benefits of being involved in the programme and thinks this could have great potential in benefiting MWC investigators.

“It’s good for me to see what is concerning to a student so that I’m aware of what’s going on for my own students from a different perspective. It’s good to have insights from Tamsin so I know what’s at play for them, and this can help me be more proactive as a supervisor. I think this will make me a better supervisor” says Jodie.

“This mentoring programme could be a great way for MWC to help create a more level playing field for people by creating a network of mentors that can help and provide advice to students and early career researchers. A strength of the programme will be bringing researchers from across the country together,” says Jodie.

Tamsin says she is very grateful for this opportunity. “I’ve really gained a lot out of this so far so thank you to Jodie and to the MWC.”

The ECSC will use feedback and insight from the pilot group to design and implement a larger mentoring programme across the wider MWC network next year.