Course director update: student placement program

We are committed to ensuring all students are career-ready the minute they step into the workforce. That’s why they all get the chance to undertake Professional Experience Placements, also known as PEPs, which give them authentic workplace experiences.

Students in the program are offered a range of options, including working among industry leaders such as pharmaceutical giant GSK or Australian luxury skincare company Aesop. However, there is an increasing draw to our Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) program, where students gain insider knowledge of pharmaceutical product development and evaluation. Partners of MIPS include Pfizer and Shimadzu, who provide cutting-edge technology for research use here at Parkville.

Placements last six weeks, during which students work closely with their supervisors and develop critical skills including written and verbal communication, scientific inquiry, teamwork and collaboration, and hands-on laboratory skills. Students can also progress into a further summer scholarship program with the opportunity to complete a 16-week placement program in full.

The course has an emphasis on transferable skills, and part of the utility of the placement is that it shows the students just how transferrable their skills are. Students often assume that when they choose a major, it will define their career options from thereon in. One of the things they learn on placement is that whatever major they choose, their course will have prepared them to make a useful contribution.

Students often go on to complete their Honours year with the institute and have the opportunity to author publications, setting themselves up for career avenues in both research and academia. This is exemplified in the network of project supervisors, many of whom are former Monash University graduates.

Recently I spoke with Arthur MacArthur, a former Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences student and current PhD candidate. He credits the placement program for his career path and journey.

“Without that opportunity, I would have graduated and jumped into an unknown open job market. At MIPS, I got to choose my own adventure and learned so many skills,” he said.

“It helped me to network, how to write and how to present. Having a program that places you in a team, nurtures you and helps you become a better researcher is invaluable.”

I thank all our supervisors, researchers and students for their time, effort and commitment to providing students with the best educational experience possible.