Prior to MIPEP, what were you doing and what inspired you to join the program?
When I left school, I was working as a teacher aide in Townsville for two years. After that, I went to University in Brisbane to study Business Management. I didn’t feel like it was for me, so I left and worked in retail. My brother actually sent me the job advertisement for MIPEP.
My sister and I were both at the point in our lives where we didn’t really know where we were going with our careers and we didn’t really like our jobs, so we thought why not just give it a go and try a new city.
I think the thing that really got us was that we could get a Diploma of Leadership and Management as well as working full time and be guaranteed study leave.
How have you felt supported by the program?
As MIPEP participants, we have access to a mentor which has been really helpful in terms of transitioning to full time work and getting used to the University. My mentor has helped me make some pretty big decisions such as starting a Bachelor of Arts. She really helped me in deciding what to study, if university was right for me and how I’d balance it with work, she was just really supportive.
Having other people in the cohort from outside Melbourne helped, as well. You could relate to each other when you’re missing home and even just being able to have a chat was nice. If there was something at work that I was unsure about – I feel comfortable getting advice from the cohort.
Is there something stand out that has shaped your experience during your time in the program?
I think being pushed out of my comfort zone has definitely shaped my experience. I’ve realised I can do things I didn’t know that I could.
The third month into the program I was asked to facilitate a panel discussion for National Reconciliation Week. I was very nervous, but the coordinator was really supportive and gave me a lot of tips about public speaking and how to calm nerves - I didn’t feel like I was doing it alone. It went well and I got really good feedback.
That experience really started my networking at the University which I’ve found helpful to grow. From that, I decided to go to more events, continued to network and found more opportunities to be a part of on campus.
What advice would you give to people looking to apply for the program?
Network, put your hand up and take as many opportunities as you can because that’s how you’re going to grow. Where I was in my life, I was very unsure about what I wanted to do with my career and by putting my hand up to do lots of things I’ve been able to discover what I like doing.
Don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re struggling. I know I struggled a bit with work, study and living in Melbourne. My manager was so supportive when I spoke up to her about how I was feeling. She gave me advice on how to balance work, life and study as well as letting me know about the best contact points for various services that the University offers – I found that really helpful.