The UEA’s Mentoring Programme is an excellent opportunity for mentees to discover just how varied and broad the world of work can be. In my experience, students have been surprised at the number of opportunities their degree will provide, many of which may be outside their core area of study. The programme is a chance to reassure them that employers are looking for enthusiasm, reliability and a keenness to learn. The support I’ve provided is very much focused on career development, from CVs and interview practice to understanding the similarities and differences of various career paths. Being able to speak to professionals gives the mentees a chance to ask all the questions that textbooks or case studies simply can’t provide, and the programme allows this via one off conversations or over longer term relationships.
In return, mentors have the opportunity to work with a range of people from different backgrounds, all of whom have valuable perspectives on the world of work. Almost by definition, these are the students that will be successful and effective in their careers. To meet and work with them is a privilege, and hugely rewarding. One can easily see the differences that the programme delivers. Not only that, but employers remain in touch with the aspirations and motivations of potential employees and of course understand the trends established in different demographics from one’s own, which is essential for good business.
I’ve been mentoring for around four years now and continue to do so. It’s a great way to share one’s experience in a useful manner and to help those that are seeking that guidance or insight. It’s fantastically rewarding and hugely refreshing to be part of the programme.