What is the time commitment?
We expect you to spend time going through the online training modules, attending Induction and workshops that you feel would be of benefit to you.
You should set aside time for approximately six meetings with your mentee of at least two hours duration each. However, there is flexibility for some of these to be via email or telephone if there are time or distance constraints.
Iím not sure I have the knowledge to be a mentor. What happens if I get into difficulty?
The University scheme manager will be there to help and advise you. For careers information and guidance you will have the full support of the University of Derby Career Development Centre. If your student has problems of a more personal nature, then various student support services are there for your student to access (you will be given a list of names and contact details). You only have to point your mentee in the right direction for professional help and support. The mentoring workshops and other events will give you opportunities to network with other mentors and to give each other support.
Iím very busy and often work long hours. What would happen if I couldnít make it to any of the workshops?
We will try to organise dates and times to suit everyone, even if it means repeating certain workshops.
We would strongly advise you to come along to the workshops and meet your fellow mentors. This is free training and will prove useful for your own professional development.
Will my mentee receive any form of training?
Your mentee will have received face-to-face induction before you meet in order to help him/her gain the maximum amount of benefit from the scheme.
They will be given the same information as you have in the Aims and Objectives section.
I sometimes have to go away on business. Will this make any difference?
It shouldnít if you schedule your meetings well in advance. However, if you think you might be away for significant periods of time during the academic year, just let the scheme manager know and she will try to pair you up with a student who can be flexible.
Because of business commitments I might not be able to start in the autumn at the beginning of the academic year. Does this mean I canít be a mentor?
No. Although the majority of mentors and students start in October, we now operate a flexible scheme with smaller groups starting in the Spring Semester. Let the scheme manager know when you will be available and she will do her best to accommodate your needs.
What happens if we donít get on?
We arenít asking you to be best friends. Remember this is a professional relationship. Iím sure youíve worked with people who you wouldnít choose to socialise with. If you feel there may be problems of this nature you will have to take responsibility for tackling it Ė your mentee may never have had to face this sort of issue before.
I didnít go to university. Does this mean I canít be a mentor?
No. We are looking for you to work with your mentee and share your experiences, good and bad, of working life. We want you to help your mentee through the jungle. Your life experiences are what are most important, not your academic qualifications.
You hear terrible stories about students and drink / drugs. Will I be faced with these issues?
Of course some people have problems with drink or drugs but not the majority. Your mentee is unlikely to be overusing such things. We have interviewed them and tested their commitment and they are motivated and focussed. However, induction for new mentors will give you all the information you will need to signpost your student to the appropriate university support area should the need arise.
This relationship is supposedly confidential Ė what do I do if they tell me something dreadful?
It is a confidential relationship. If there are areas such as drink and drugs which would go against your moral / ethical code then make that clear at the beginning of the relationship. What you donít know canít affect you. Equally, if you work in the law enforcement world you may feel honour bound to report such things but, as above, make this clear to your mentee so that they can decide what to disclose. The Mentor Handbook contains information on confidentiality.
I have volunteered to be a mentor. What happens if friends or colleagues could provide my mentee with better answers to particular issues?
Providing your contact is willing and able, why not get them involved? The object of the relationship is to make the mentee more employable Ė any help is greatly appreciated.
What happens if I donít know anything about my menteeís field of study or the career they are looking at?
Our research has shown that this is usually unimportant. Generally we are looking at transferable skills such as planning, organising, motivation and commitment. Indeed research has shown that if mentor and mentee are too aligned they tend to concentrate on the specifics of the job rather than the generic skills eg lawyers and law students talk about legal precedent. However, some students do need sector-specific matches and we do everything we can to pair these students appropriately.
Will it make a difference if I canít offer my mentee a job at the end of the scheme?
No. The objective is not to offer your mentee a job. This may not be possible for any number of reasons. If youíre a ďone-man bandĒ you probably wonít have any vacancies, your organisation may not employ people in the same career areas as your mentee wants, etc.
If you or your organisation can offer a temporary placement / summer job that would prove very useful, but it is not the point of the scheme.
Are there any areas I would not be expected to deal with?
Yes, we have asked you to help your mentee with their confidence and job hunting skills not to act as a surrogate parent. We do not feel you should be helping with such issues as debt, relationship or health problems.