Mentoring program celebrates its first successful year

November 14 / 148

The Access Connections Mentoring Program team: Rachael Ballamy, Alumni Careers Coordinator, Ainslee Meredith, Access Connections Program Assistant, and Sigourney Young, Community Engagement Officer.
The Access Connections Mentoring Program team: Rachael Ballamy, Alumni Careers Coordinator, Ainslee Meredith, Access Connections Program Assistant, and Sigourney Young, Community Engagement Officer.

Staff, students and alumni involved in the Access Connections Mentoring Program (ACMP) gathered for an end of year event in October to celebrate 60 successful mentorships in its first year.

The program is the first mentoring program tailored for undergraduate students who are recipients of Melbourne Access Scholarships. The scholarships support students who have experienced ongoing circumstances which adversely impacted on their preparation for university study.

The students were matched with alumni and met three or four times over a semester to get advice on professional skills and potential career paths.

Elizabeth Capp, Director of Students and Equity, spoke at the event, highlighting the importance of mentoring.

“Our own evidence tells us that mentoring is a great way to enhance and extend the student experience of university,” she said.

“Linking this with our wonderful alumni volunteers through the ACMP has been an added bonus, and really demonstrates the power of connectedness to a learning community, that we want for all our students, past and present.”

Arts student Celeste Bolte said her mentor had made her more relaxed about graduating and finding work.

“This initiative has been instrumental in generating a clear perspective on my future,” she said.

One of the mentors, Glenda Fisher, a Senior Education Officer with Catholic Education Melbourne, said she genuinely enjoyed the mentoring experience.

“What has been so exhilarating about being part of this program is the opportunity to meet the next generation of intelligent, clever and innovative young Australians and be able to share some of my knowledge and experience with them.”

Alumni Careers Coordinator Rachael Ballamy, one of the instigators of the program, said there was a 100 percent satisfaction rate among students involved in the program.

“It really is an excellent way to enhance the student experience, particularly for those who need it most,” she said. 

An Equity and Innovation Grant from the University will allow the program it to continue in 2015, and from 2016 ACMP will be looking for external partners to support its future. 

For more information on the program and to enquire about being a mentor in 2015 or supporting the program’s future, contact the ACMP team at access-connections@unimelb.edu.au.

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