Industry mentoring

Mentor and Mente in a meeting

In our industry mentoring stream, we pair a highly motivated PhD student with an industry leader with similar interests to meet up at regular intervals for a period of twelve months, for around two hours per month.

We offer industry mentoring programs to PhD students in our two Colleges – College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce, and College of Science, Health and Engineering. Our mentors come from a wide range of industry sectors and backgrounds, including private sector, government and not-for-profit, from Australia and overseas. Mentoring programs in the STEM sector (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are offered through collaboration with IMNIS – Industry Mentoring Network in STEM.

Industry mentoring aims to enhance the mentee’s industry knowledge, professional skills and career readiness, and to provide industry mentors with the opportunity to share their expertise and experience, and shape future leaders.

Mentoring is a voluntary activity, and mentors act in their personal capacity.

Mentoring for candidates/mentees

Whether you stay in research and will collaborate with industry, or you go directly to work in industry upon your graduation, mentoring is a powerful way to help you make your decision and create your career path.

Why you should consider getting an industry mentor:

  • Acquire first-hand industry information relevant to your area of expertise
  • Develop capabilities that enable you to work successfully with industry
  • Become aware of your available skills and strengths
  • Identify skill gaps and build up your professional skills
  • Develop ideas for possible career pathways
  • Expand your professional networks in industry.

How to get involved

If you are a PhD candidate enrolled at La Trobe, you may be eligible for PhD industry mentoring.Check your eligibility by filling in the form below.

Apply for the mentoring program

Contact us

Taina Jara
Senior Project Coordinator
T: 03 9479 2265

Testimonials from previous participants in mentoring

Clayton Harris, La Trobe PhD candidate

“My time in the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) program has been invaluable towards understanding the options available to me after completing my PhD and in solidifying what will be the best career path for me to follow. Before entering the program I had always been interested in an industry career, to me it was a career where I could utilize communication and interpersonal skills along with my technical knowledge, to enable the transition of good research to market and into the public eye. But with zero industry contacts and extremely limited knowledge of IP and the general functioning of an industrial company this seemed to be a career that I might need further qualifications for or that wasn’t applicable to me at all.

During the program I was lucky enough to be paired with Dr Anna Lavelle (CEO, AusBiotech). We held regular face to face meetings in which we discussed a wide array of topics that are often not addressed at university. Just some of the topics we spoke about included; understanding different personality types, how to network effectively, how to follow up a networking session, answering interview questions effectively, different types of companies within scientific industry and how to set up a CV for an industry position. Last year I also had the opportunity to attend both the AusBiotech Agricultural Biosciences International Conference (ABIC) and the AusBiotech National Life Sciences Conference. This was an opportunity to hone my networking skills and speak to some of the biggest names in Industry, an initially intimidating but very rewarding experience. I was given the opportunity to act as Dr Anna Lavelle’s personal assistant for a day at the Life Sciences conference which gave me an insight into how meetings are run, appointments are made, how often schedules can change throughout the day and the roles and responsibilities of a CEO.

I was offered tremendous support from my mentor, her network of contacts, the entire AusBiotech team and the founders and directors of IMNIS when I had questions about different industry fields and roles. I attended fantastic workshops and networking evenings organised through AusBiotech and IMNIS on topics such as “patents and commercialising research” and “how to engage effectively in an industry environment”. These workshops were run by industry professionals and covered the fundamentals of patenting, developing a value proposition, establishing rapport with a client and best practices in regards to working within industry, topics I had very little knowledge of before the program.

I could not recommend the IMNIS mentor program enough to those who are considering a career outside of research. Coming to the end of the program I have a stronger understanding of industry, I have made some fantastic contacts and I have set solid career goals for both the end of my studies and many years to follow.”

Kathy Parisi, La Trobe PhD candidate

“I found the IMNIS program to be quite valuable. I was partnered with Bronwyn Le Grice who at the time was the Head of Commercial Development for Adherium Limited, a global leader in digital health solutions for chronic respiratory disease. Bronwyn has held a number of senior executive positions within the life sciences industry over the past 12 years. She is the former CEO of NZBIO, and has been and Investment Director and now Special Adviser to the BioScience Managers funds since 2012. Most recently she project managed the reverse acquisition of Rex Bionics by Union Medtech and its subsequent GBP10m listing on the AIM Market. I believe I was privileged to have had such an experienced mentor. We met twice and discussed roles that I may like to pursue once I complete my PhD that I had not previously considered and she helped me mature as an employee. We are continuing our mentor/mentee relationship.

IMNIS provided a number of sessions which I attended that provided valuable information regarding products developed in the lab and how to successfully get them to market. I would recommend all PhD students be part of a mentoring program like IMNIS. The key component of the program was developing networking skills and how to successfully approach people we would otherwise avoid. The program took us out of our comfort zone and gave us the opportunity to network with important people in industry.”

Mwilye Sikanyika, La Trobe PhD candidate

“IMNIS is one of the most important programs I have signed up for during my PhD. It gave me insight into life outside academia, providing me with information on alternative career pathways in industry. My IMNIS mentor gave me valuable recommendations regarding careers. Throughout the program, I met senior people in industry, listened to their stories and was able to discuss with them. I now have a much better idea about what I want to do when I graduate. I would highly recommend IMNIS to anyone who would like to broaden their perspective and get new ideas for the time after their PhD.”