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Career support for postgraduate students

Career support for postgraduate students

The University of Auckland has created the position of Postgraduate Careers Counsellor, the first of its kind at any Australasian university.

The new service is for research postgraduates needing guidance on likely career openings as they move through their studies.

Dr Alan McAlpine, the first appointee, counsels individual postgraduates on career decision-making as well as running workshops and seminars. He is based in the Graduate Centre which already offers a range of useful services to postgraduates.

“Providing basic and professional skills to ensure successful future employment isn’t just about getting a job,” he says, “but about getting the right job. Successfully placing graduates with higher degrees presents challenges different from those facing the bulk of graduates.

“Positions open to holders of doctorates and masters degrees tend to be more specialised. Matching someone with particular postgraduate qualifications to a suitable career is a process that should continue through their two, three or more years of study rather than starting when they are nearly finished. Otherwise they risk making the wrong choice or not knowing what options may exist.”

Dr McAlpine previously worked for a careers skills development organisation in Cambridge, England before spending four years in Brisbane as a consultant delivering support to people at all stages of their careers.

Having gained PhD in biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh Dr McAlpine understands “the highs and lows” completing a research doctorate. “I want to make a real difference to the employment prospects of all our postgraduates,” he says.

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