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Student Futures

Being mentored by an employer

Student Futures and Teesside University Alumni are offering an e-mentoring scheme, which is open to all students to connect with alumni and others who are willing to offer advice and support.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a system of semi-structured guidance where one person (the employer mentor) shares their knowledge, skills and experience to assist others (mentees, ie you) to progress in their own lives and careers.

Mentoring tends to focus on the future and broader skills and career development, whereas a coaching relationship tend to focus on more specific skills and the here-and-now.

Mentoring can also be more than giving advice, or passing on experience. Mentors will also motivate and empower you to identify your issues and goals and help you to find ways of resolving or reaching them - not by doing it for you, or expecting you to ‘do it the way they did it’, but by understanding and respecting different ways of working.

Why get involved?

If you are undecided about your career options or need help to decide if a particular industry sector is right for you, if you need to learn more about a specific job role, or simply want to develop and extend your professional support network, then a mentor can help.

Mentoring is an opportunity for you to connect with someone who potentially has a similar course background to you, is working in a job or career sector in which you may be interested or who is simply available and willing to provide general support, irrespective of their background and yours.

A mentoring relationship provides an opportunity for you to learn and develop necessary professional insights and skills.

How does it work and how long does it last?

Initial contact will be via email, and for many mentoring relationships the focus will be on email, not least because mentors can be located a distance away from Teesside. Should both parties wish it and where it is geographically possible, some interactions may be face–to–face. Where a meeting is possible, on campus or at a mentor’s workplace, this can be a good way of really getting to know your mentor.

There is no set time limits for mentoring relationships, though we would expect these to last for at least 3 - 4 months. Some successful relationships developed through University have been carried forward beyond graduation and into professional lives in the future.

The Student Futures Team will provide you with a list of topics that you can discuss with you mentor. These could include CV support, advice on what is needed for different careers, how the mentor gained access to their careers, how to prepare for interviews etc.

The early days of a mentoring relationship will be about getting to know each other and deciding how and when e-communication is likely to take place. In the first few weeks as you get going this may be an email or two each week – again there are no rules and it will depend on how much time the mentor has and their availability. The key thing is that mentors are giving up their time to support you and you should be committed to developing the relationship, responding to communication in a polite and professional way and playing an active part in what should be a two-way relationship.

How do I apply and what happens next?

If you wish to join the mentoring scheme you will need to attend an information session where Student Futures staff will tell you what you need to know, and try and match you to an appropriate mentor.