Bristol launches new alumni mentoring scheme for students

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By Lucy Downer, Deputy News Editor

The new scheme aims to match current students up with past Bristol alumni who now have a career in their field of interest.

The University of Bristol have launched a brand-new alumni mentoring initiative, which pairs current students with an alumni mentor to give them invaluable insights, advice and opportunities to support and shape their future career ambitions.

The program is a joint venture between two University departments: the Careers Service and Development and Alumni Relations.

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Photo by: University of Bristol / Bhagesh Sachania Photography

The scheme provides students with a mentor working within an area which interests them and in which they may wish to pursue a future career. The hope is that the mentors can offer practical guidance to students, as they progress towards thinking about life after university.

The mentors for this year’s programme come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines – many working within Bristol and others based in London. All alumni mentors are past graduates from the University of Bristol, an experience which will bond mentor and student.

Over the academic year, mentors will take part in six mentoring meetings. During these meetings, they will be giving realistic insights into industries which might be of interest to this year's mentors, helping them to develop skills, set goals, identify opportunities and bolster their confidence about the often-daunting prospect of graduating from university.

Last Tuesday, a launch evening was hosted at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which gave students and alumni the chance to meet and get to know each other over food and drink.

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Photo by: University of Bristol / Bhagesh Sachania Photography

The guests also partook in a pub-style quiz, designed to get students and alumni mentors talking and working together in a fun and informal setting.

One of the managers of the scheme, Robbie Fox said about the new venture:

‘From a careers perspective we have always encouraged students to create networks whilst studying and to reach out to alumni who may have studied the same subject or who might be working in a professional area of interest. This can be daunting for some as well as being another time pressure on what is already a busy lifestyle!’

‘Our mentoring programme is designed to take this support a step further, by providing each student with a hand matched mentor who will guide that student throughout the whole of the academic year and potentially unlock some exciting opportunities. Each mentor is generously volunteering his/her time to support our students.’

Mentoring is rewarding for both parties involved and we have high hopes that many of these relationships will have a positive and long lastingimpact.

'Our hope and our aim is that having a like minded and honest role model to listen and provide guidance will be a huge confidence boost to our student mentees.'

Doug Middling, another manager of the project, said:

'Bristol has an amazing network of alumni who volunteer both their time and experience to support the University and its students. We think this is a fantastic opportunity to connect Bristol students with alumni, who as well as working in a range of exciting and interesting sectors, also have the shared experience of studying at the University.'

'The Bristol Mentors programme is just one of the many ways alumni support current students at Bristol – get in touch by emailing alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk.'

The mentor programme is currently full for 2018/19 with over 50 undergraduates from a wide range of disciplines. However, plans are in place to expand the programme going forward, with the hope that the mentoring scheme will be able to reach and benefit many more students.

For more support around networking and for information on how to contact Bristol alumni, visit the Careers Service on 5 Tyndall Avenue, or log on to the mycareer webpage.

Featured Image: University of Bristol / Bhagesh Sachania Photography


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