A selection of Australia's top companies have provided mentors for a program aimed at helping female students break through the glass ceiling in the corporate world.
The 2010 UNSW Lucy Mentoring Program was launched this week by the NSW Minister for Community Services Linda Burney.
"I am so passionate about mentoring and the role it plays in helping women into senior roles," Ms Burney said. "Mentoring for me is about shoulders that can lift you up, shoulders that you can lean on when you need guidance and support."
The Lucy program began at UNSW in 2007 focusing on students in business, finance, economics, accounting and law. Two new areas have been added this year: planning and technology.
Third-year commerce/software engineering student Abigail Holman is one of the 41 students meeting her mentor for the first time.
"There's a heavy male presence in my course and I'm looking for a female role model to help guide me into a career. I feel very excited and privileged to part of this program."
Abigail's mentor is Niamh McPherson, a Director in Technology Consulting at Deloitte, one of the most generous supporters of the program, providing between 15 and 20 mentors each year.
"I am really passionate about recruiting for Deloitte, particularly women in technology areas, which are traditionally dominated by men," Niamh said.
"When I was at university I didn't really know what I wanted to do and it took me a while to find my way into technology. I wish I had the opportunity to be part of a program like this."
Under the Lucy program, students are paired with female mentors in senior management roles and offered work experience at their mentor's workplace. This year 55 mentors are taking part, representing the executive level of high profile organisations including Deloitte, Westpac, JP Morgan and the Attorney-General's Department.
The program is coordinated by UNSW Careers and Employment and is a partnership between the NSW Office for Women and Women Chiefs of Enterprises International.
UNSW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Fred Hilmer, was a guest speaker at the event, along with former students and mentors.