Caitlin Brandenburg – PhD student, The University of Queensland
Gaining additional skills and strengthening employment prospects are just some of the benefits Caitlin Brandenburg, a speech pathology PhD student at The University of Queensland, gained through the Queensland Government’s Employment Experience Program.
The program—now renamed PhD Industry Experience Program, an Advance Queensland support program—saw Caitlin placed with the State Library of Queensland (SLQ). It was a good opportunity for her as the program was flexible, did not impact on her PhD data collection, and gave her the opportunity to experience research outside academia, and work with people outside her supervisory team.
Academic research is centred around innovation and collaboration, and Caitlin’s involvement SLQ enabled a cross-pollination of ideas. She was able to gain insight into how people with disabilities are accommodated in public spaces through involvement in SLQ’s Disability Action Plan, and her new knowledge of formal project management frameworks has allowed her to manage her own research in a different way.
Caitlin’s supervisor and postgraduate coordinator, Professor Worrall from the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Science, believes The University of Queensland’s RHD students have skills to offer which extend beyond traditional academic research. Programs like the PhD Industry Experience Program allow students to demonstrate skills such as writing, presenting, gathering data, time management, independence, working with a team and project management. Using these skills outside the area of academic research benefits both the student and the organisation, as well as their PhD and area of research itself.