Creating Opportunities For the Sector's Future Stars

Pictured: Ribit Director Liz Jakubowski, MTPConnect GM Education, Skills and Events Dr Mel Thomson, Queensland Minister for Environment and Science Leeanne Enoch and QUT pharma student Daniel Corhodzic

A collaboration between MTPConnect, CSIRO's Data61, is bringing together students and industry in the Australian life sciences sector to develop skills, broaden horizons, and deliver industry placements for the future stars of the sector.

Together with QUT Faculty of Health School of Biomedical Sciences, Life Sciences Queensland and TRI, participants including 30 businesses, 75 students, six mentors and 10 industry observers; all gathered at Queensland's Parliament House for the Brisbane Health, Medtech, Biotech, Agtech & Life Sciences Jobs 'speed networking' event. Students were invited to explore internships, projects, part-time and graduate roles - all in an enjoyable, supportive and productive format while having the opportunity to strengthen their interview skills.

Industry representatives and mentors introduced themselves with a 30-second pitch of their company and relevant project or position they were interested in recruiting, providing opportunity to promote their company to the next generation of job-ready graduates. Mentors, including MTPConnect's GM Education, Skills and Events Dr Mel Thomson, provided broad career advice as well as information for opportunities for placements to students. Students engaged the mentors with their pitches to get practice to further develop their skills with a 'pitch doctor' on hand to offer advice.

In a post event survey conducted by CSIRO's Data61, 90% of students reported having a greater understanding of how their skills are relevant to industry, and they left feeling more confident in promoting their skillset. Reports from industry have shown that 95% of industry participants have employed, interviewed or started conversations with students who participated in the event.

Stocr Founder Zaq Iqbal shared his positive takeaway from the event.

“A great opportunity for startups to meet great talent, we would love to see more events like this across more industries,” Mr Iqbal said.

Student and potential employer speed networking at Queensland Parliament House.

QUT Bachelor of Science majoring in Physics student Jordan Wallace said he "really enjoyed the event."

“It was a great change to network with people in the industry and other students, especially knowing that each company had some kind of job on offer and that they were just looking for someone that fits," Mr Wallace added.

"Even if you didn’t have the skills needed, it was good talking with them and hearing what different aspects of the industry were looking for it definitely outlined what I needed to put more focus on learning so that I am more employable in the areas I’m interest in pursuing.”

As an Australian Government Industry Growth Centre, MTPConnect has been tasked to improve management and workforce skills through addressing skills gaps, assisting the transition from research and industry, and facilitating and supporting internship and mentoring programs within the sector.

Through connecting industry and students at early stages, these 'speed networking' events provide students with an understanding of what additional relevant skills they will need to strengthen their transition to the workforce. These benefits are also reflected for industry, with the event providing an opportunity to start engaging early with their potential future workforce to highlight skills gaps in current and future areas of unmet need.