The FVAS Graduate Mentoring Program, in the School of Agriculture and Food, commenced as a pilot in 2016 in partnership with the Gardiner Dairy Foundation. Each year we continue to grow the program and build stronger relationships between students, staff, alumni and industry.

About the program

The program focuses on Masters students, their engagement with alumni and industry, mentoring related to their career goals and development, as well as laying a foundation for a lifelong appreciation for the value of mentoring.

Eligible students include domestic and international students studying agribusiness, agricultural sciences, food science, food packaging and innovation.

Why mentor?

Mentoring is often a rewarding experience and a chance to reflect on your own journey, skills and knowledge. Those involved in the program have said that the relationship with their mentee helped them to remember what is was like to be a student, reflect on the value of diversity in the workplace and reconnect with their own professional networks.

Some of the benefits of mentoring are:

  • Enhance your coaching and leadership skills
  • Extend your professional network
  • Help to shape the future of your profession and community
  • Connect with the next generation of graduates
  • Support your mentee to identify and achieve their career goals and develop in confidence
  • Reconnect or develop closer links with the University of Melbourne, ranked #1 in Australia

Matching process

When applying to the program, both students and mentors submit mentoring preferences that are taken into consideration when matching participants.

Program structure

  • The program runs from June to October.
  • The frequency of meetings is negotiated between the mentor and mentee in the initial meeting.
  • Participants meet at least three times over the course of the program.
  • Students are responsible for the relationship and will initiate contact.
  • Meetings can take place where and when it is convenient for you (online or in person).
  • Option to extend the relationship beyond the official end of the program.

What should I expect from my mentee?

We require mentees to demonstrate their commitment and interest in the program prior to matching them with a mentor. Students must participate in a preparation workshop where they discuss their career goals and are asked to consider topics to discuss with their mentor.


  • Take responsibility for identifying and achieving their own development goals
  • Listen, clarify and reflect back
  • Commit to the mentoring process, including agreed meetings and time commitments
  • Initiate meetings with the mentor, manage meeting dates and times and set the agenda for the partnership
  • Be open to and appreciate different perspectives
  • Learn how to find their own solutions
  • Be prepared to be challenged and take opportunities presented by mentor
  • Respect confidences

The mentor’s role

Mentors empower students to make positive changes in their lives. The role of the mentor is to work with the mentee to identify where they need greater insight and understanding. Mentors need to be open to sharing their personal experiences and knowledge


  • Support mentees in discovering and defining their own development needs
  • Share expertise and experience to help mentees develop their talents
  • Provide a safe space for mentees to raise and talk about their issues
  • Help mentees reflect on their beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • Open doors to new opportunities and relationships, providing exposure and visibility

Key dates:

Applications will open on Wednesday 12 May.

All applications must be submitted prior to 9.00am, Monday 24 May 2021, and incomplete applications will not be accepted.

All participants will be notified of the outcome of their application before 5.00pm, Tuesday 1 June 2021.

Successful student applicants will be required to attend a compulsory workshop in early June. Successful mentors can attend an optional workshop in early June. The program will run from June to October 2021.


Lisa Fairweather.