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Mentoring information for employers and professionals

The Career Mentoring Scheme is a voluntary partnership where a mentor (employer/professional) offers to share their expertise with a student mentee in order to provide practical support and encouragement. It is a non-judgemental partnership, based on mutual trust and confidentiality, which encourages both parties to benefit and learn from each other’s experiences.

Mentoring is a powerful development tool where as a mentor you will offer support and encourage your mentee to manage their learning by setting personal goals and working towards achieving positive change. You can assist your mentee to develop employability skills by helping them understand the workplace, thus giving them a competitive edge in the graduate labour market.

Previous mentees and mentors have confirmed that involvement is mutually rewarding as it offers real scope for personal and professional development.

Here you will find out all the information you need about becoming a mentor.

The benefits of getting involved

Since we developed our scheme in 2001 we have been committed to supporting our mentees and mentors to benefit from the scheme, and these benefits can be far reaching.      

Mentoring is a two-way learning process and is popular as a development tool, within education and employment. The rewards of mentoring are numerous and below are some of the more obvious reasons why individuals chose to take part in the Career Mentoring Scheme:

  • Training - Mentors receive training and a comprehensive resources pack which encourages the development of mentoring and coaching skills. This training can be easily applied to other areas of business and mentors regularly use their learning to develop in-house mentoring schemes, within their respective organisations.
  • Development of Transferable Skills - Mentors regularly comment that by working with their mentee they develop stronger skills in communication, listening, coaching, time management, leadership and negotiation (amongst others).
  • Making a Difference - Did anybody help you when you were considering your career options?  Developing the potential of a mentee enables the mentor to really make an impact on an individual’s life and career.
  • Insight into the Undergraduate Community - A mentee from a different generation, gender, social or ethnic background can help improve your knowledge and understanding of some of the different perspectives of future candidates.  Mentees offer an honest, and real, insight into what is happening within the undergraduate community. 
  • New Perspective - The opportunity to see your role through fresh eyes can encourage you to view challenges in a new way, which can also stimulate a renewed focus on your career development.
  • Personal Development & Reflection - Mentors can benefit from increased self-awareness as they are often required to ‘dig deep’ into their own backgrounds, which consequently encourages them to reflect on personal development and the potential to move their own career forward.
  • Professional Development - Participating in the scheme demonstrates your commitment to your personal and professional development and can be a useful tool when seeking promotion and career advancement.
  • Opportunity to Network - Mentors come from a diverse range of backgrounds and career areas.  The opportunity to network with likeminded individuals encourages mentors to share good practice on a professional level and creates new support networks and business links.
  • Raising the Profile of Your Organisation - Mentoring can provide an opportunity for employers to raise their profile on campus and target the right students or employees of the future.  This positive publicity also encourages access to a diverse range of motivated students of graduate calibre, and can be a useful way to identify future graduate talent.
  • Community Engagement - By offering your support as a mentor you are investing in the success of the local community and its future graduates.
  • Job Satisfaction - Mentors frequently feedback on the satisfaction gained from helping another person to grow and develop their ideas, which often leads to a sense of renewed enthusiasm for their own role.

What is my commitment?

Your role as a mentor will be to use your skills, experience and knowledge to support a student as they make key decisions about their life and career. This may include offering advice, support, answering questions and working with your mentee on specific tasks related to their employability.

What to expect

After completing the mentor profile form we will contact you to discuss your participation. We will create an anonymous Mentor Profile to enable students to view your background and areas of expertise. Training and a comprehensive resources pack are provided, prior to matching you with a mentee, to build your knowledge of the programme.  

We will look to match you with a mentee who has career interests either directly in the field in which you are working or where the mentee may benefit from your knowledge and experience.

Career Development Services will also support your mentee to enable them to enter the mentoring partnership with clear objectives and ideas of how they hope to benefit from the scheme. You will be able to agree with your mentee the different ways in which you may help them achieve these objectives.

For example, this may be in the form of talking to them about your career progression, current responsibilities, insights into your industry and advice on how to prepare for the world of work. Although not guaranteed, past mentors have occasionally offered 'work shadowing' or introduced their mentee to a network of useful contacts.

Your commitment

The commitment level is intentionally NOT onerous and we simply ask that as a mentor you commit to the following:

  1. Attendance at an Induction Training Session which will cover an introduction to the scheme, skills for mentors and experiences of past mentors. This will be delivered in a group or one-to-one setting, appropriate to your needs.
  2. A minimum of four, one-hour meetings with your mentee during a period of four-six months. (Please note this is flexible. You and your mentee may choose to communicate electronically, over Skype or over the phone).
  3. Attendance at a “Reflection and Evaluation” event to recognise progress and achievement and to consider future recommendations for the scheme.

Support is available for mentors via Career Development Services and you will be given a lead contact for any queries or support needs that you have throughout the mentoring partnership.

What are the benefits?

Since we developed our scheme in 2001 we have been committed to supporting our mentees to benefit from the scheme, and the testimonials below demonstrate that these benefits can be wide ranging.    

The mentoring scheme also proves to be a fantastic opportunity for our students to develop their employability capabilities and maximise their potential within the graduate labour market. 

Aimed primarily at penultimate year, UK domiciled undergraduates; we also regularly get applications from students from a diverse range of backgrounds. We are confident that our inclusive approach encourages students that feel they would benefit from the expertise of a mentor, to apply for the programme.

How do I apply to become a mentor?

If you'd like to apply to be a Mentor, please complete the mentor profile form.

We do not have fixed eligibility criteria for mentors wishing to apply to the Career Mentoring Scheme. Our current mentors come from a range of backgrounds and are employed across the private, public and voluntary sectors. We look for a range of individuals, from a variety of job roles, as mentees often want to gain insight into a diverse range of work areas.  

We welcome applications to the Career Mentoring Scheme throughout the year and would encourage those that are interested, to return their completed mentor profile to mentoring@bradford.ac.uk.  Although we cannot guarantee that we will find you a suitable mentee match, we will do our best to make use of your kind offer of support! 

Tips for completing the Mentor Profile Form

We look closely at each prospective mentor profile to assess how we might match you with the right mentee, so we would recommend that you:       

  • Explain why you are an ideal candidate i.e. is this down to your commitment, interest, network of colleagues, availability etc?
  • Consider attaching your CV to demonstrate your background and skills and support the matching process. (All detail will be held confidentially, in line with the Data Protection Act).
  • Be specific in stating what areas you are able to offer support in. This will assist us to match partnerships based on your interests and motivations, as much as the mentees preferences 
  • Provide as much information as possible on past experience as this can be as important to the matching process as your current role and responsibilities.

If you have any questions relating to your application, or want to know more about the scheme, please contact Linda Holdsworth, Career Development Adviser on 01274 235507 or email l.holdsworth4@bradford.ac.uk

What happens when I meet my mentee?

Each mentoring relationship will differ depending on the background of the mentor and the needs of the individual mentee.  The regulations and work practice of your organisation may also have an impact on what type of support you are able to offer.   

Below are some suggestions of activities that you could engage your mentee in, drawn from recent experiences of mentees and mentors:

  • Discussion of mentor’s career progression/development – Background information on how you got to where you are.  How did you develop? What choices did you make?
  • Discussion and reflection on mentees career choice – to encourage your mentee to research further, and in a wider context
  • Help with applications or CV enhancement – advice and tips on how to develop and improve the presentation etc.
  • Mock interview - a practice session is often a useful tool for enhancing future ability 
  • Email advice and information – useful when unable to meet on a one-to-one basis
  • Tour of organisation – increases understanding of the politics of the organisation and how departments work in collaboration
  • Work shadowing of mentor (and colleagues) – in order to expand mentees knowledge of associated roles
  • Work experience placement – encourages in-depth research into career choice(s) and realities of job role(s)
  • Meetings with colleagues - potential networking opportunities, sharing of ideas, develop good working practice and new perspectives
  • Meetings with external clients – opportunity to develop business acumen and networking skills 
  • Involvement in presentations to colleagues – enhances professional presentation techniques and experience
  • Business lunches / networking events – chance to further develop business awareness
  • Involvement in selection process / assessment centres - enhance understanding of recruitment process
  • Working on developing confidence and assertiveness of the mentee 

Please note that the above is intended as a guide to help you consider how you might work with your mentee and is NOT intended to form a prescriptive list of things to do.   

Mentor testimonials

It has been identified that mentoring assists mentors to “gain a better insight into the student world”, “develop a greater focus on diversity” and to “raise awareness of issues facing unrepresented groups”. Other mentors have commented on the chance to “raise the company profile”, and their increased ability to “develop strategies for success”.

Below are additional comments from mentors who have recently participated:

“I really appreciated participating in the Mentoring Scheme. Without a shadow of a doubt it developed my confidence and communication skills in mentoring a keen student. I was very lucky to have my first mentoring experience with xxx who was positive and enthusiastic!" (MD)

 “I have enjoyed meeting the mentees and have found it refreshing to see how enthusiastic and ambitious they are to join the legal profession”. (RW)

“Very satisfying to be able to impart your knowledge and help students to develop and thrive”. (TW)

“I have always wanted to assist those who wish to enter my profession and ensure, as far as I can, that they do not have to face the obstacles I faced when I was in their position. It was pleasing to be able to relate my experiences to another person’s”. (PS)

“ I have found the scheme to be very well co-ordinated and very useful in inspiring students to focus their minds with regards to their career aspirations” (AB)