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  • Writer's pictureJudith Graham

Career Launchpad: World Changers

Career Launchpad was twice cancelled due to COVID lockdowns before finally being delivered in July 2022.

Launchpad emerged from a period when students had few opportunities to explore career and pathway options, except via online and digital platforms.

Launchpad is a fast-paced networking format between students, industry, and academics, which enables students to investigate careers and pathways that matter to them most. Combined with a schools version of the Graeme Clark Oration, students spent the morning interviewing 44 industry and academic professionals in a face-to-face speed interview format.

The 44 partners who contributed to the morning session included representatives from multiple Monash University faculties, not-for-profit organisations, Victorian Government Departments, the private sector, R&D, and Monash University Alumni. Victoria’s Lead Scientist Dr Amanda Caples opened the event and participated in student rotations.

After interviewing professionals about their thoughts on their top tips, early influences, key skills, qualifications and what their typical working day is like, students returned to MTS to enjoy lunch whilst listening to the 2022 Graeme Clark Orator, Dr Natalia Trayanova, allowing an in-depth career investigation of a global leader in Medical Technology.

Students met academics who could talk about their qualifications and coursework in a friendly manner which allowed students intimate access to University information.

Students also met professionals who were passionate about their work and learned how it contributed to positive community change. Through the interview process, students learned about soft and hard skills and how to kickstart their own journey which generated positive social outcomes.

Lockdown had kept us local, so professionals predominantly came from the Monash Precinct - demonstrating to students that they could live, learn and work in their Monash neighbourhood.

Engaging 44 different industry professionals took careful planning, with the right mix of climate action, sustainability, science, social justice, design, public health, engineering, technical and humanities professionals in the mix. It was important to represent pathways that could be achieved via a University, TAFE or entrepreneurial pathway so that all students felt they could navigate a course or occupation that generated positive social outcomes.

The students worked in pairs and compiled their own questions as part of careers investigation pre-work at their school. Support resources were developed and on hand to enhance discussion and assist junior students and those who felt shy at the beginning of the rotation. Students had 5 minutes per rotation to ask questions, capture info and learn about the importance of networking. They enjoyed a snapshot of 14 different careers and pathways. For many students, Launchpad replaced work experience, expos and incursions that had been placed on hold during lockdowns.

Professionals were issued an MTS digital badge, reflecting their participation in a community engagement activity.

The students spent the morning rotating and meeting a suite of different professionals, all contributing to educational, technical and social positive change. Students practised their emerging human and enterprise skills in a 90-minute careers conversation ‘sprint’. By the end of the Launchpad session, they had experienced 14 different mini-interviews, where they flipped the experience by interviewing the adults. They had broadened their study, career and social skills horizons and had potentially unlocked at least some of their wonderings around 'who is making decisions and how can I make a difference.'

Career Launchpad was an ambitious program that generated 44 new industry and academic connections for MTS. Some key learnings have emerged from the pilot and we intend to continue refining and revamping the model for inclusion in our immersion offerings for 2023.

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