Mentors help Griffith grads kickstart their careers

Industry Mentor Program mentee Kaitlin Weekes

Griffith University’s award-winning Industry Mentoring Program (IMP) is connecting students with professional role models and career coaches.

Kaitlin Weekes recently graduated with a double degree in psychology and criminology, securing a role with the Queensland Police Service after being mentored by retired Police Inspector and fellow Griffith graduate Rob McCall.

“I think I was like most students, a little bit terrified of graduating, and not really sure where I was going to go from here,” she said.

“The industry mentoring program changed my life.

“Rob was incredibly helpful. The rapport between us was very open. And I think I needed someone that helped me recognise my strengths and weaknesses to further my journey in my career.

“Being mentored gave me confidence and the positivity to move ahead.”

Rob McCall and mentee Simon Krasnoff

Rob McCall has mentored students for the past 20 years.

“I enjoy seeing them develop confidence, ask lots of questions and explore things they hadn’t considered before as career options,” he said.

“The mentoring relationship is a two-way street. You get an opportunity to share your industry knowledge and you also learn a lot.

“I was once a student at Griffith myself, and I really enjoy still having that connection with the university.

“Mentoring is a way of giving back and I get a real sense of fulfillment from working with the students.”

The IMP is designed to break down barriers to industry, creating a community of mentors who can provide students with career guidance, professional networking opportunities and build their confidence.

Nicole Graham

IMP manager Nicole Graham said Griffith was one of the first universities in Australia to recognise the importance of providing industry mentors.

“Griffith has been a leader in this space — we had the first industry mentoring program in the higher education sector and have been able to offer students a really rich array of experiences,” she said.

“There can sometimes be a disconnect between the classroom and industry, but having a mentor really boosts the students’ confidence, which means they get recruited faster after graduation and pick up better jobs.”

Simon Krasnoff is about to complete a Bachelor of Psychological Science / Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

The mature-age student signed up for a ‘Mentoring on the Move’ event at Griffith and was paired with Rob McCall. Their mentoring relationship has also led to a graduate role with the QPS.

“Working with Rob, who has over 40 years’ experience in the QPS, allowed me to tap into that wealth of knowledge and ask those burning questions about how to break into this industry, what employers were looking for in a graduate and how to put myself in the best position to get that dream job,” he said.

“Rob was able to offer me a view into his world that I would never have been able to get in any other way.”

Simon Krasnoff

Simon advised students embarking on the mentoring program to remain open and embrace every opportunity that came along.

“I think that the best mentees are the ones who are willing to take on any and all opportunities,” he said.

“For me, the future really is an open book. I’ve taken this role in the QPS to get a foothold in the industry. I guess the sky’s the limit now.”