"The University is committed to ensuring that all of our students graduate equipped to take the first steps on long, successful and enriching careers, as enquiring professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs. This underpins our learning and teaching strategy “Transforming Lives” informing how we are moving to design our programmes, and encourage students to develop their confidence and skills through placements, internships and volunteering opportunities. It is also shapes some of the targets we have set in our Access and Participation Plan, looking to reduce inequalities in successful progression to future study or highly skilled employment between some of our students.
But we want to do more, to offer our students more. Helping our students to understand how to navigate uncertainty, and perceived barriers; helping our students understand their potential and how to achieve their goals is something that that we feel is best done by those who have lived those same experiences. Having access to successful role models and mentors is critical to this, and we think our alumni are best placed to undertake this role.
I hope you will consider joining our Alumni Mentoring Scheme, and help make our strategy to transform lives a truly lived experience."
Dr Ellen Buck, Director of Learning and Teaching
Mentoring is a unique relationship between a mentor and a mentee. It is a great way for current students to link with alumni who have volunteered to act as mentors in order to gain valuable insight, experience and skills over a specific period of time. At University of Suffolk we want to give as much support as possible to our students to enhance their employability skills and ensure they are ready for the world of work.
Mentoring handbook for students and mentors
Mentoring is a flexible model which can be adapted to the individual and broad in focus. It is an opportunity for a student to be provided with a positive role model and a knowledgable contact. The mentor/mentee relationship will be driven by the student, agreeing the desired goals and timeframes between the two parties.
Mentoring is not the same as training, teaching or coaching. It is not a social friendship, counselling or therapy and the mentor does not need to be a qualified trainer or expert.
As a University of Suffolk student, you have access to a wide range of knowledge and experience from your fellow students and alumni. We can match you with a mentor who has lots of experience in your field of interest and can help you with the following:
- Provide advice and support
- Help you find the right direction
- Help you with study or exam pressure
- Help you to identify your skills and expertise
- Help you identify your strengths
- Help you realise your full potential
- Gain some professional insight into your chosen career
- To commit to the mentoring process
- To be open to learning, feedback and new ideas
- To attend all meetings and complete the actions agreed
- To prepare for the sessions
- To participate in open, honest communication with the mentor
- To ask questions and seek clarification
- To demonstrate ambition, drive and initiative
- To complete a reflective learning log
As a University of Suffolk graduate you are in a phenomenal position to share your knowledge and expertise with existing students. Mentoring is a valuable opportunity to make a difference and continue to engage with your University in a productive and mutually beneficial way, both nurturing future talent and enhancing your professional development. As a mentor you can:
- Provide advice and support
- Provide encouragement
- Improve your mentee’s self confidence
- Help your mentee find the right direction for them
- Help your mentee to realise their full potential
- Raise aspirations
- Help your mentee to recognise strengths
The role of the mentor is voluntary and as such you will gain the following:
- Personal satisfaction and awareness
- Enhanced professional development
- Formal recognition from the University
- An opportunity to share your skills and knowledge
- To demonstrate passion and enthusiasm
- To remain professional at all times
- Be approachable, empathetic, open minded and flexible
- Provide advice, guidance and feedback in a supportive and developmental way
- Commit to meeting with your mentee on a regular basis
- Maintain a record of mentoring meetings
Our training offer is dependent on your experience and will be discussed on an individual basis.
As a mentor you will want to familiarise yourself again with the University as things may have changed since you studied with us. Signposting students to various services which are on offer to them through the University can be useful. Below is a list of links where you can find the information you need:
- You must have graduated University of Suffolk or prior Suffolk institution with an HE award and therefore classed as Alumni.
- You must be able to meet with your mentee in person or have access to the Internet and be able to converse with the mentee via phone, email and/or skype etc.
- You must adhere to all of the necessary professional boundary guidance and safeguarding regulations
- Demonstrate skills and qualities in the following ways; demonstrate active listening, negotiating and influencing, facilitation, organisation and time management, constructive and developmental feedback
The University will match students and mentors based on common areas of interest as best they can. An initial meeting will be set up, either face to face or online. The mentor and mentee will arrange between themselves the frequency of meetings and the outcomes they are trying to achieve.
The relationship will last for up to 6 months. Contact can be made online, by email or by phone. The mentor should expect to offer at least 1 hour per month, attend training should it be required and provide feedback to the University. The mentee can expect to have regular contact with the mentor and receive ongoing support from the university.
You will agree between you the goals you would like to achieve, your responsibilities, time commitment and how and where meetings and communication will take place. Advice on how to deal with confidential information and concerns which may be raised will be provided.
It is useful to keep records of the meetings. The mentor is required to complete a meeting record, which briefly outlines the time/date of the meeting, objectives set and actions agreed. The following should be included:
- Time/date of meeting
- Objectives for the session
- Key points discussed
- Actions agreed
- Date to be completed
It is important to bear in mind that the mentor/mentee relationship is a professional one. Therefore, there are a few things you should consider when developing a mentoring relationship:
- Contact between meetings – how often and how are you going to communicate
- Topics of discussion – consider what you would want to share with your mentee or mentor outside of the goals you are trying to achieve
- Location of meeting – What is an appropriate location? Will you be able to maintain a professional tone to the meeting whilst remaining informal and safe to share your thoughts?
The University of Suffolk aims to adopt the highest possible standards and take all reasonable steps in relation to the safety and welfare of children, young people, vulnerable adults and others who study at, work at and visit the University.
Safeguarding is the term used to promote the welfare and protection from harm, abuse or exploitation of children, young people or vulnerable adults. Some people are more vulnerable to abuse than others because they are less confident within society. People may be additionally vulnerable because of disability, age, impairment or illness.
Any and all concerns regarding the safeguarding of University of Suffolk students should be directed immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Officer for appropriate action to be taken. Where this is not possible, they should be directed to the Alumni Relations and Development Manager at University of Suffolk.
Designated Safeguarding Officer
Fiona Fisk, Academic Registrar – firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Safeguarding Officer
Chantelle Hawley, Head of Students Services – email@example.com