Testing times prove the power of La Trobe’s partnership with Dorevitch Pathology
Partnership at a glance
- Dorevitch Pathology and La Trobe University kicked off their collaboration in 2018, with a lab field trip to introduce biomedical students from the Albury–Wodonga campus to the potential for a career in pathology.
- The program blossomed into an industry placement program in which students are “hands on”, assisting with a wide range of tests and learning from Dorevitch’s experienced, supportive workforce.
- The program reflects the reality that, for La Trobe students, professional opportunity is available close to home, not just in the big city.
- Not only does the partnership allow Dorevitch Pathology to contribute to student development, it also helps build a future workforce.
- While the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed many educational programs, the Dorevitch’s–La Trobe partnership went from strength to strength, enabling students to work, grow and contribute to meeting vital community need.
It’s not for the squeamish: La Trobe biomedical students know that during their internship with Dorevitch Pathology they’ll be working with blood and tissue. But they’ll also be getting exciting real-world experience to set up their career.
In turn, Dorevitch Pathology is helping to develop the industry and reminding locals that valuable employment opportunities are right on their doorstep.
Rachael Puddephatt, Senior Engagement Coordinator at La Trobe’s Albury–Wodonga campus, is thrilled at the way the partnership with Dorevitch Pathology has unfolded since the university team suggested a collaboration back in 2018. What began slowly, with a student field trip, has grown into a mutually beneficial industry placement program that places one or two students each semester.
For two days a week, students join the Dorevitch team: they might assist with any of the 1500 different tests the company offers, from anatomical pathology such as skin lesions to assessing samples alongside microbiologists. Where possible, they visit the 24-hour hospital labs and have even hit the road with couriers to pick up pathology samples.
The partnership benefits students, obviously, by broadening their understanding of the job opportunities locally after completing a Bachelor of Biomedical Science. But it also provides the Dorevitch team with an understanding of the types of students and future workers La Trobe is producing,
The collaboration reflects La Trobe’s strong commitment to keeping skilled people in the regions.
“We're increasingly looking to embed education in our communities and create awareness of the robustness of our presence here. Sometimes students don’t realise what a rich, fulfilled student experience they can have locally,” says Rachael.
And while the COVID-19 pandemic suspended in-person teaching and many educational programs, the collaboration went from strength to strength. Michael Ribstein, Laboratory Manager at Dorevitch’s West Albury branch, says La Trobe’s enthusiastic students provided a morale boost during the COVID-19 lockdowns, when demand went “through the roof”.
“You do something every day, but when you’ve got to explain it to somebody that makes you understand it in a new way,” Ribstein reflects. “It makes you appreciate what you do, too. Especially during the grind of COVID, when these guys came in and were enthusiastic and happy to be here.”
Ribstein, admits that, for many reasons – time pressures, occupational health and safety concerns, for example – the industry has traditionally invested less in educational programs like the one he nurtures with La Trobe. But the pandemic has been a powerful reminder that skilled and committed staff, and not just technology, is at the heart of the business.
“We’ve now realised that as an industry we need to reconnect with the places that produce employees if we want them to listen to our advice, concerns and needs,” he says.
“It’s been a big learning curve, not just for the students but for us as well, but it is a mutually beneficial experience.”
To find out more on our partnerships, please contact us.