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Mentoring Pathways

Mentoring Pathways is a collaborative programme between Birkbeck, University of London, and corporate partners from the worlds of business, law and beyond.

A combination of Birkbeck alumni mentors alongside corporate volunteers has enabled us to develop a talented, energetic and well-networked mentoring team that supports current students to realise their career aspirations, build their confidence and give them exposure to professional environments.

What is mentoring?

  • Mentoring is a professional relationship between the student (the mentee) and the mentor whereby the mentee benefits from the experience, skills and networks of the mentor. It operates for a specific period of time and has clear objectives.
  • Your role as a mentor is to develop essential skills by asking the mentee to reflect on their experiences and abilities, using your experiences to give contextual examples and facilitate progress towards goals.
  • The Mentoring Pathways programme is focused on personal development and career development.

Why should I become a mentor?

  • Becoming a mentor can be a truly rewarding experience. You can gain the following benefits from participating in the programme:
    • take part in a training session to develop your mentoring skills (one evening session of three hours) that can complement your CPD and enhance your CV
    • broaden your networks with the student and wider Birkbeck community
    • share your knowledge and experience to support students to achieve their goals
    • develop soft skills such as listening, communication, influencing and negotiation skills
    • have the opportunity to meet and share your experiences with other alumni and corporate mentors
    • gain a sense of achievement and for alumni mentors, giving something back to Birkbeck.

What do we expect from a mentor?

  • As a mentor you should:
    • display role model behaviour in terms of good communication skills, punctuality and commitment
    • encourage your mentee to reflect regularly on their objectives and development areas
    • offer support and encouragement but let your mentee take responsibility for action
    • challenge your mentee to consider different perspectives and solutions
    • maintain confidentiality at all times
    • be prepared to share good practice and expertise within the workplace
    • show a willingness to expose your mentee to your professional networks
    • commit to meeting once a month and keep in touch by phone and email between times
    • keep in touch with Birkbeck if there are any issues and contribute to the evaluation practices of the programme.

What do we expect from a mentee?

  • As a mentee you should:
    • be proactive and arrange meetings with your mentor. They may be located as far as Zone 6 and we would expect you to travel to the mentor's place of work (unless they are happy to make alternative arrangements).
    • take the meetings seriously by being prompt and attending them in appropriate attire
    • arrive at each meeting with clear objectives, ready to take notes, while participating openly
    • provide us with feedback during mid-term and final evaluation
    • bear in mind that our mentors do this voluntarily and they will hopefully continue to do it if they have a good experience. We are relying on you to keep in touch with them, turn up on time, and be clear about what you want to achieve.
    • tell us if your circumstances change and you cannot continue with the relationship. We may be able to give a student who didn't succeed in getting a place a chance.
    • make the most of it. This is your chance to really use the experience of a seasoned professional to support the next steps of your journey.
  • If you are unsuccessful, there is a whole host of careers support available from the Careers and Employability team.

How are mentees matched to a mentor?

  • Mentees are matched with a mentor who can best facilitate the objectives of the mentee and, if possible, is employed in a sector or discipline to which the mentee aspires. However, we have a finite number of mentors, so matching sectors and job roles is not always possible.

How often do the meetings take place?

  • Usually, you will meet your mentor once a month and each meeting should last for sixty to ninety minutes. You should agree the most convenient form of communication between meetings, so that you maximise the benefit of face-to-face meetings and the mentee can come to each meeting having made progress on previous, agreed objectives.

How long does the mentoring last?

  • Mentoring Pathways runs during the academic year, starting in November and ending in June. We encourage mentors and mentees to meet once a month face-to-face, either at the mentor’s place of work or at a mutually convenient location.

How do I apply?

  • Applications for Mentoring Pathways 2018-19 is now closed.
  • Please to register your interest in the 2019-20 programme. 

What makes a good mentee application?

  • When writing your application, focus on the following objectives, which were the top five areas previous mentees said that their mentor helped them with:
    • career planning and goal setting
    • development of soft skills
    • insight into profession
    • career transitioning
    • continuous professional development.
  • Try not to be too specific about who you would like to be matched with. Not only are there a finite number of mentors, but there is evidence to suggest that working with someone who is different to you in terms of experience and personality can result in a great learning experience.
  • Question 17 - 'What are your key reasons for applying to the mentoring scheme?' - is the most important question on the application form, so take time to answer it in as much detail as possible.

Who runs the programme?