The Mentoring Programme
The Career and Employability Services Mentoring Programme is an opportunity for you to gain insight and knowledge into a specific sector from an experienced professional.
You will be partnered with a suitable mentor and over the course of the programme you will be able to:
- Meet one-on-one with your mentor to discuss your career plans, CV, etc.
- Visit their workplace
- Communicate regularly via phone and email
- Gain access to networking events
It is a non-judgemental partnership, based on mutual trust and confidentiality, which encourages you and your mentor to learn from each other’s experiences, and ultimately aims to give you the confidence and knowledge to thrive in your chosen role after you graduate.
The programme is aimed at UK domiciled University of Bradford undergraduates, preferably in their penultimate year of study, although it is open to all undergraduate levels.
We are looking for applicants who would benefit from the support of a professional mentor. To assess your commitment and motivation levels we will look closely at your mentee application form
How will mentoring help me?
Do you want to know more about the reality of working within a particular profession? Working with a mentor, and understanding what it is really like in the workplace, can help you to make an informed decision as to whether a particular career area is right for you.
Often the quickest way to succeed is to learn from people who have been successful. Various studies have confirmed that being mentored is linked with achievement. Over the last 14 years the Career Mentoring Scheme has offered insight into various professions and provided mentees with the opportunity to develop their competitive edge.
Our scheme has been designed for you to gain valuable experience and support in your career planning and transition into the world of work.
These are just some of the rewards that the Career Mentoring Scheme can offer you:
- Insight into your chosen industry or career - You will gain a deeper understanding of the type of work involved, what skills are required and an insider's view of what real success means within the industry. Your mentor is also likely to have useful tips of how to break into and succeed in your chosen career.
- New perspective - A mentor is an independent voice, outside of education, family or work and is a great person to chat through your ideas with, in a confidential and non-judgemental way.
- Personal development and reflection - Mentoring can help you to recognise your own abilities and limitations in relation to your career ideas and highlight areas for development. You may find yourself taking time to consider what you really want out of a career, what your goals are, and how you will achieve them.
- Development of specialist skills - You will be matched to a mentor from your chosen career area or with someone who has specialist skills or interests that reflect your needs. This is an opportunity to gain an understanding of the specialist skills that are needed for that job role and consider how you will develop these skills for your future career.
- Development of employability skills - Mentees regularly comment that they have developed skills in communication, listening, negotiation, time management and commercial awareness as well as their overall confidence. Additionally, a mentor can provide practical support in other essential areas such as interview preparation, professional behaviour or developing strong leadership skills.
- Opportunity to network - Mentors often introduce their mentees to a network of individuals and organisations that ordinarily you wouldn’t have access to. This can prove invaluable when developing knowledge about your career ideas and, in the past, has led to real career opportunities for mentees.
- Confidence - Your mentor will aim to give you the personal support you need to face your job search with confidence. With regular, constructive feedback the mentoring process will enable you to become more self-aware and to know your strengths, your aspirations and your areas for improvement.
How it works
Career and Employability Services will provide you with initial training, and a resources pack, to assist you to set goals prior to meeting your mentor for the first time. Each mentoring partnership will differ depending on your needs and the background of your mentor, so you are encouraged to take a lead in deciding what support you require.
Below are some example activities that you may wish to suggest to your mentor, but be aware that these will be dependent on your mentor's availability, workplace limitations and working regulations.
- Discussion of mentor’s career progression - to gain some background information on how they got to where they are now. How did they develop, progress and make career decisions?
- Reflection and discussion around your career choices – to consider how you might research your ideas further in a wider context.
- Help with your CV – advice and tips on how to improve the overall presentation and impact of your CV. It is extremely useful to get an employer and industry perspective.
- Mock interview - a practice session is a useful tool for enhancing your abilities at interview. This might be with your mentor or one of their colleagues.
- Advice and information via email – this can be useful if you are unable to meet on a one-to-one basis.
- Tour of the organisation along with work shadowing of the mentor and their colleagues – to increase understanding of specific roles along with the politics of the organisation, and how departments work in collaboration.
- Meetings with mentor’s colleagues - leading to potential networking opportunities, sharing of ideas, develop understanding of good working practice and new perspectives.
- Meetings with external clients – to develop business awareness and networking skills.
- Involvement in presentations to colleagues – enhances professional presentation techniques and experience.
- Business lunches and networking events – chance to further develop business awareness.
- Involvement in selection process/assessment centres - enhances understanding of recruitment process.
- Working on developing confidence and assertiveness.
Please note that the above is intended to provide a guide to help you consider how you might work together and is NOT intended to form a prescriptive list of activities.
Throughout the process you will also have the full support of Career and Employability Services should you need any further assistance.
How to apply
If you’d like to be considered for the Mentoring Programme please be aware that there is a minimum commitment level which includes:
- Attendance at an Induction Training event where you will set individual objectives and priorities
- A minimum of four, one-hour meetings with your mentor during a period of four to six months. (Please note this is flexible as you and your mentor may choose to communicate electronically, through Skype or over the telephone)
- Attendance at a ‘Reflection and Evaluation’ event to recognise progress and achievement
- A short reflective report (roughly one side of A4) detailing your development, what you have gained from the programme and your next steps.
And here’s how of the application process works:
- Complete the application form (see our application form tips below). Email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Interview – If you meet the application criteria, you will be invited for interview where the team will consider your application further.
- Attend Induction Training – to enable you to clarify your aims and objectives, and access resources to assist you in starting, and developing, your mentoring partnership
- Matching you with a mentor - If successful at interview (and a suitable mentor can be sourced) you will be matched as soon as possible (Please note: there will always be those students who we are unable to match. In these circumstances we aim to provide the individual student with constructive feedback, and there is the opportunity to reapply).
- Your mentoring partnership commences - you will be provided with your mentors details and vice versa so you can introduce yourself and schedule a first meeting
- Feedback and updates – The team will be in contact to see how things are progressing over the 4-6 month period, but you are encouraged to update us to let us know how you are getting on.
Tips for completing the application form
There are a limited amount of mentoring partnerships available so the application form is your opportunity to convince the team of why you are particularly suited to the scheme. Below are some tips to help you complete the form.
- Take time to look carefully at the form and draft your answers before completing your final copy.
- Remember we are looking for commitment and motivation to take part in the scheme, not prior experience. You should consider how best you can evidence this.
- Consider why you are an ideal candidate, for example is this down to your commitment, interest, availability etc?
- Think about how you intend to use the experience of mentoring to move your career ideas forward – is there a way you can evidence this on the form?
- If given the option, it is always advisable to attach your CV to demonstrate your background, skills and work history.
- Be specific in saying what areas you are keen to have a mentor from i.e. focus on the job role i.e. Accountant is preferable to Financial Services roles (unless you really are flexible).
- Provide as much information as possible to make it clear what you hope to achieve and to enable the team to match you to the right mentor.
- Check grammar and spelling to ensure you are creating the most positive impression and demonstrate that you have paid attention to detail!
- Keep a copy of the form. There is an informal interview process and your application form will be referred to at this stage.
Frequently asked questions
I have never been a mentee before, how would I get started?
You will be provided with training and a full resources pack which includes useful information and guidance to help you manage your mentoring partnership from start to finish.
We have delivered the mentoring scheme for over 14 years so understand that you might need additional guidance when you are first matched with a mentor, and Career Development Services are here to support you. You will also be able to communicate with other mentees who have been selected to take part, which has proven to be a great way to make new friends and seek ideas on how to use your mentoring partnership.
What is a typical mentor like?
This is a difficult question to answer as we have mentors from all backgrounds and from both the private and public sector. In recent years we have had mentors who are: Genetic Counsellors, Solicitors, IT Managers, Human Resource Managers, Management Consultants, Physiotherapists, Environmental Consultants, Finance Managers, Accountants, Counsellors and Barristers (to name a few!)
There is a growing list of mentors who offer their support to the scheme and these come from a wide range of local, national and international organisations.
What do the mentors get out of being involved? Are they paid?
We do not pay mentors so your mentor will have applied to the scheme for one of many reasons, but not for financial reimbursement. Mentors often comment that they gain as much as their mentee from the partnership. They comment on benefits such as: skills development, career progression, learning about undergraduates needs and seeing their own role from a fresh perspective. As many mentors are graduates themselves they also recognise this as an opportunity to ‘give something back’ to the university community.
Whose responsibility is it to arrange meetings?
It is primarily your responsibility as a mentee. By taking the lead in arranging your meetings you will enhance your confidence in working within a professional setting. We understand that you have other commitments outside of mentoring, but please note that your ability to organise and time manage are essential skills within the mentoring partnership
How many times would I meet with my mentor?
The commitment is to meet with your mentor for four, one-hour meetings, however this is flexible, and negotiable with your mentor. For example, you may feel that it is more constructive to meet for two, two-hour meetings or a day of work shadowing, or even to conduct a meeting over Skype. The commitment level is provided as a guide to ensure that both mentee and mentor are given the opportunity to benefit from and develop the mentoring partnership.
When would I contact my mentor?
Initially it is good practice to contact your mentor during business hours, until you have agreed the best contact ‘times’ for each other. Agreeing time boundaries, at the start of the mentoring partnership, ensures that you both feel comfortable in contacting each other. There is guidance on this in the training and resources pack, alongside support with how to structure your meetings and make best use of the time.
Where would I meet my mentor?
You should aim to arrange at least one meeting at your mentors workplace, as this will help you to gain a greater understanding of your mentor’s business area. For the other meetings, try to arrange these at a mutually convenient place for you both, but take into consideration travel time and expenses incurred for both of you!
What if I don’t get on with my mentor?
Remember this is a new partnership, which can take a while to establish so be persistent and try to resolve issues effectively between you and your mentor. If you are finding this difficult and need further advice, please contact Career Development Services so we can offer you our support
What if my mentor is not from my chosen career area?
We aim to match partnerships based on career interests, however we have found that partnerships can be equally productive and successful with matches from different career areas. Careful consideration is given to each partnership match and this may include additional information that you have provided, alongside your career choice. The objective of mentoring is to enable you to gain awareness and develop new skills and we have found that this can be developed through many types of mentoring partnerships.
What do others say about mentoring?
Many mentees comment on how mentoring has:
- enhanced their understanding of job roles
- helped them consider their next steps and how to get in and get on! A recent mentee commented that mentoring gives you "an honest insight into the job, the good and the bad!"
- taught them how versatile their degrees are and this has built confidence when looking for graduate roles.
- helped them consider how they will stand out from the crowd
- assisted in preparing students for interviews.
Below are additional comments from mentees who have recently participated:
“Through mentoring I began to understand the reality of working in a professional setting and developed my confidence in networking with other employers. Consequently I secured myself a graduate job with a major engineering firm and truly believe that without the support of my mentor this would not have been possible” (KC)
“The biggest benefit was feeling more and more confident after every meeting. It was a great feeling to have someone to turn to whenever I came across a problem” (BA)
“Mentoring gets you thinking about possible career paths and it gives you the opportunity to discuss your ideas with someone who has experience in that field” (VE)
“I developed in confidence and knowledge and getting different opinions from my mentor and his colleagues really helped. I gained a real insight into the job role and the skills that employers are looking for” (MA)
“Mentoring is an ideal way to get your questions answered and for me it was also the way to get some work shadowing!” (AJ)