BENJAMIN RILEY

A new initiative to pair LGBTI students at RMIT University with LGBTI mentors in their industry has met with positive feedback from participants.

Pride Mentoring is still in its pilot phase, but program coordinator Adam Rowland has been very pleased with the feedback so far.

“We’ve had a good level of interest from industry, particularly those businesses that have strong LGBT employer networks with other businesses,” Rowland said.

Doug Johnson is one mentor involved in the program, first learning about it through an LGBTI networking group in his workplace, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“We were both quite nervous at our first meeting but now feel very comfortable discussing the things that matter,” Johnson said.

“Trust is important and we have built that quickly.”

Jason Bradley from the Department of Transport became a mentor through his involvement in LGBTI workplace program, Pride in Diversity.

“I had a particular interest in the program, mainly out of the fact that I wished something like this had existed when I was a student,” he explained.

“One of the things it has helped me realise is we need to make stronger links within the community.”

Bradley’s participation has encouraged him to push for an LGBTI mentorship program to be incorporated into his own workplace.

Marcus Lim is one of the first intake of students involved in Pride Mentoring, after discovering information about it on Facebook.

“It’s really informal, so we would catch up over coffee, but it depends on each person. For me, I visited my mentor’s workplace,” he said.

Lim explained the relationship with his mentor has developed positively over the course of the program.

“I think we’re quite close now.”

Reflecting on feedback received throughout the pilot, Rowland said the program will see some changes going into 2013.

“One of the key things we will be doing for 2013 is running it as a year-long program. Semester-based doesn’t allow mentors and students sufficient time to see growth and development,” he said.

“Certainly we’ll be hoping to broaden it and increase the number of students and mentors we can have participate in the program.”

14 students and their mentors from a wide range of industries have been involved in the pilot for RMIT’s Pride Mentoring program.

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