Emotional intelligence a key focus at second PhD students’ forum

On March 7-8, 35 of the Rail Manufacturing CRC’s PhD students came together for the second annual PhD Students’ Forum, held in Melbourne
With students flying in from Sydney, Brisbane and Rockhampton to join our Melbourne student base, the forum provided two full days to continue building relationships, learn more about Australia’s rail industry and to participate in personal development activities to help the students as much personally as professionally.

Day 1 involved updates about projects underway and details regarding the CRC’s closure in 2020, followed by an introduction to Intellectual Property law, and how this relates to researchers. A 90-minute session about mental health wellbeing followed, delivered by clinical psychologist Dr Dominique Kazan. Dom shared many tips and tricks about how to maintain a healthy life balance, especially important for our students when undergoing the potentially intense pressures of completing a PhD.

Day 1 wrapped up with a tour of Downer Rail’s High Capacity Metro Trains manufacturing depot in Newport, providing insight into the work underway to develop a site that can efficiently deliver a new set of trains for Melbourne – thanks to Felicity and the team at Downer for opening up the factories.

Day 2 focused entirely on training, with the students participating in the first session for the Centre’s 2019 Grow Your Career program. Prior to the forum, the students completed a Myers Briggs type assessment to identify their personality preferences. Using this detail on Day 2, students were able to identify their strengths and opportunities for improvement, taking this one step further by also identifying their Career Drivers and Values.

Coming later in 2019, the students will participate in three training webinars, focused on developing career readiness skills right now to prepare for next steps post the completion of their PhDs. The first webinar will focus on their own online brand, and how to use tools such as networking and LinkedIn to connect. Following this, the next Grow Your Career sessions will be about resume and cover letters preparation, and interview preparation and techniques.

Big thanks to our students for their active participation, openness and collaboration during the two days, it’s always invigorating to be surrounded by a group of engaged people wanting to make a difference!

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