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Career Mentoring Programme

We know that as a University of Essex student you have a curiosity about the world, questions about your plans and ideas for your future. But sometimes, particularly if you’re experiencing a transition in your life and even occasionally while you’re moving steadily along, you can find yourself stalling a little. That’s where our mentoring programme can help. We know sometimes all you need is someone from outside your circle of friends and family, outside the university, who can listen to what you have to say and support you through that time.

Signing up to the mentoring programme gives you a chance to tap into the talent that’s gone before you. Kevin Spacey offers a poetic analogy: If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down. There are no right or wrong reasons to have a mentor, just opportunities for growth.

Our mentoring programme is open to all our students, whatever your year of study.

Our mentors are alumni and/or established business professionals who want to help make a difference to your future. Some are based overseas, others very local. They all have something to offer and they all want to hear from you.

  • What does mentoring cover?

    Mentoring relationships are unique between each pair, but what they all have in common is that you choose what direction they take. Early in the programme, once you and your mentor have learned a bit more about one another, you’ll discuss and agree what goals you want to work towards. These may change as your mentoring journey progresses, but deciding a focus at the start helps provide your sessions with an initial structure. Every decision made during the programme is your choice, so if you decide you’ve resolved a question you had and want to move onto a new topic, you can. You’re still driving; we’re just helping you navigate.

    If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some areas that previous students have used the mentoring programme to help with:

    • Not knowing what they want to do after their studies
    • Wanting to find out about a particular job or sector and how to apply for jobs in these areas
    • Wanting to identify and develop their skills
    • Wanting to build their professional network
    • Wanting a mentor but not knowing exactly why

    And many more besides. So whether you already know exactly where you’re going and just want to speak to someone who’s been there and done it, or you’re just starting out in thinking about your career, you’re in good hands.

  • What are the benefits of being mentored?

    Mentoring is a highly valued experience by people across the globe. Advocates include:

    Richard Branson: “If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always (say they) have had a great mentor at some point along the road”

    Indra Nooyi – CEO of PepsiCo: “If I hadn’t had mentors, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m a product of great mentoring, great coaching… Coaches or mentors are very important”

    Oprah Winfrey: “She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life… Mentors are important and I don’t think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship”.

    “I am very happy I signed up for the mentoring scheme as it has been of great help to me. James has a lovely nature and he helped me with many questions that I have had. We already met in his office in London a couple of times and I will probably see him again this month. I am taking great advantage of the scheme and I think every student should consider doing this.”
    Cristina, previous Mentee

    As a mentee you’ll experience a wide range of benefits as a result of your mentoring partnership. While there are too many to include each one here, they may include:

    • Individual feedback and guidance from an experienced professional, tailored to your needs
    • Valuable insight into your chosen area of interest
    • The opportunity to begin building your personal professional network and develop skills to become a proficient networker
    • Learning how to assess your future prospects and identify existing skills, making informed choices about areas to develop
    • The opportunity to understand how to achieve your goals and dedicated time to work towards them
    • Increased confidence in your own abilities and decision making

    Again, there are many more potential benefits: these examples are a drop in the ocean.

  • Who are your mentors?

    Our mentors come from all walks of life and all have something different to offer. Some have recently been through the graduation-to-work transition while others have run their own businesses for years. They cover a huge range of sectors and professions, from Law to Business and Entrepreneurship, Translation and Modern Languages, Psychology, Biological Sciences, Computer Sciences, History and even more!

    While many are alumni we also have a number of mentors who haven’t studied at Essex, but have chosen us as the university they want to give back to, having recognised and appreciated our unique quirkiness and the fabulous potential of our students.

    We have mentors working very locally to the university and we have mentors based thousands of miles away, in places like Columbia, India and Korea! So depending on what you want to get from the scheme you might find yourself chatting to your mentor in Zest, or even Skyping them in a new and exciting place that you’ve never seen before!

    What links all our mentors is their excitement and enthusiasm to be involved in the programme and help enable you to find your path. They’re keen to offer one-to-one advice and insight into their professions. They’re busy and accomplished people, who offer their time and expertise voluntarily, and they really care about you succeeding.

    “It really is great to meet Kristina once a month to discuss her progress and answer all her questions with regard to translation, interpreting, language teaching and administrative work at this Uni. Since I mentor her she has accepted a new internship, whilst still keeping her former nursing job. I hope we shall have new students joining the mentor scheme, because it is a great support for the undergraduates, who are seeking a career. ”
    Beatrix, Mentor
  • What does it involve?

    Mentoring is a fantastic, unique opportunity for you to receive first-hand advice and guidance about the career or industry you are interested in. As with all great opportunities, to get the best out of it it’s worth putting in your time and commitment to make sure you and your mentor have a great experience and can successfully work towards achieving your goals. As our mentors volunteer their time, it’s also vital that they feel their time is well spent with you. So make sure when you’re ready to sign up that you have the time and motivation to commit to us for the duration of your mentoring relationship.

    Mentoring lasts for six months and you’ll agree a minimum of six hours of contact with your mentor over this time. Sometimes you’ll achieve your goals before this timeframe, in which case you might choose to work on something new; other times you may be able to extend the relationship for a further couple of weeks, with your mentor’s agreement.

    Contact with your mentor can be carried out through our online software in email or instant-message style. You can also meet face to face, Skype or talk by phone, so even in busy times you can stay in active contact with your mentor.

    To make sure you get the most from your mentoring relationship you’ll be invited to attend a compulsory training session before you get started with your mentor, to understand the scheme and expectations.

Find out more

To find out more and register your interest, come and see us in the Employability and Careers Centre in Square 2 on Tuesdays, 2:30 – 4pm, attend an introductory workshop or email ementor@essex.ac.uk.

Information for mentors

If you’re an Essex alumni or local employer and are interested in getting involved we’d love to hear from you. Find out more about joining our Essex family as a mentor.

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Big Essex Award

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Join the 2,000+ students who have completed The Big Essex Award so far and get University recognition for all of your extra-curricular activities. We’ll help you identify your skills and sell your experience to employers.

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Start your job search and career development now with the new Essex CareerHub resource. Log in using your regular Essex campus account details to access the jobs board and book on to our events.