Consumer: Les Leckie provides insights

Expanding Australia’s clinical trial activity calls for a highly trained workforce. The VCCC, with the Parkville Cancer Clinical Trials Unit has created a clinical trial pipeline to train Clinical Trial Assistants and Study Coordinators giving them the ability to immediately step into key roles.

Involving a consumer in the selection of candidates – and on the interview panel - for the annual program provides benefits for the candidates and future employers of clinical trials staff.

Les Leckie
Consumer, retired public and private sector professional

A lot of of talented candidates apply for the VCCC SKILLED: Clinical Trial Internships…for good reason. A month after the inaugural program completed, 100 per cent of the interns had gained employment in the clinical trial sector in Victoria. It’s a great success story and I feel privileged to play a role in selecting these emerging professionals.

Getting involved

I am the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre representative on the VCCC Cancer Community Advisory Committee, and it is in this capacity that I was invited to be on the interview selection panel. I have had a long association with private and public sector organisations and have personal experience of cancer. I think for a lot of us that have enjoyed stimulating and successful careers, being involved in getting innovative programs underway and developing young talent is hugely gratifying.

The right person for the job

I have a sense of health and medical culture established during my working life and in various committee roles since. I’ve assessed grant applications and I’m aware of the drug discovery journey. Having been a patient myself, I’m motivated to maintain a connectivity to patient perspectives which I have managed to achieve through an association with Cancer Connect at Cancer Council Victoria. I believe these are important attributes to being able to identify the best candidates.


I take my role seriously. I was provided information in advance and took time to understand the experience and aspirations of prospective interns. I did some research and prepared questions. During the process I gained an awareness of the sheer number of clinical trials in progress across the VCCC as well as the complexity and demands of clinical trial management.

It was terrific to work with Marian Lieschke. Applying for an internship can be a stressful and emotional experience and it was great to work alongside a leader in the field to build trust and give candidates the very best opportunity to display their talents.   

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