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Graduate E-mentoring at Aston University

What is mentoring?

“A one-to-one, non-judgemental relationship in which an individual mentor voluntarily gives his/her time to support and encourage another” Active Communities Unit, 2001

Graduate e-mentoring uses this concept to allow graduates/alumni to offer information, support and guidance to current final-year students via email. Current final-years studying at Aston are given the opportunity to discuss any issues and ask any questions with regards to life after Aston, via email with a recent Aston graduate. 


 

What benefits can I gain from having a mentor?

  • Gain practical advice, encouragement and support
  • Get a head start with life after Aston
  • Share your mentor’s knowledge and skills, learning from their experiences
  • Increase your social and career-related confidence
  • Feel better informed to make decisions
  • Develop communication  and personal skills
  • Develop strategies for dealing with both personal and work-related issues
  • Identify goals and establish a sense of direction
  • Increase your networking potential
  • Gain valuable insight into the next stage of your career

How long will it last?

 At Aston, Graduate E-mentoring is offered throughout each academic year; this year it will run from September 2011 to August 2012, and you may apply for a mentor at any time during this period. We would recommend that you allow around 30 minutes a week for mentoring, although the amount of time you will want to devote will vary from person to person, and in specific situations. We would, however, recommend maintaining regular contact in order to build up a meaningful, productive relationship with your mentor.

Will my mentor have studied the same subjects as me?

Mentor and mentee are matched as far as is possible by graduate career area and/or any other areas of interest. This may mean that mentor and mentee will have studied the same subjects, but this is not primarily how partners will be matched. You will also have the opportunity to request consideration of any other matching criteria that is important to you, for example the gender of your mentor. It must be remembered that all our mentors are volunteers and we may not be able to match you exactly by your specific requests.  It is the mentoring itself that will bring most benefits to final year students.

What will my mentor support me with?

This is an opportunity to find out more about life after Aston, and help you feel better prepared about starting your graduate career. It is a chance to ask those ‘silly questions’ that you may feel you can only ask a former student! By communicating with a graduate, you can benefit from their experience of their transition out of University and into the world of work, further study, or gap year.

Topics you might wish to discuss:

  • Your chosen career area
  • Volunteering and how to improve employability
  • Further study options
  • Gap years and travelling
  • Choices and decisions since graduating

This list is not exhaustive; your mentor will be able to offer information, advice and guidance on many aspects of life after Aston.

 

Email dos and don'ts      

DO...

  • Check your emails regularly and respond promptly
  • Use plain language, be concise and to the point
  • Use blank spaces between paragraphs – keep paragraphs short as they are easier to read
  • Re-read your email before sending to ensure that it says what you mean it to say
  • Be flexible when reading other people’s email – remember they may not have meant to say what they did in that way! If you are unclear as to what they are saying, ask for clarification (but be polite)
  • Respect other people’s views and concerns
  • Provide feedback to the co-ordinator when requested

 DON’T...

  • Put off reading and replying to your emails
  • Jump to conclusions, make assumptions or be judgemental
  • Use offensive or inappropriate language
  • Use CAPITALS as this looks like your are shouting
  • Criticise other people – other students, graduates,  or university staff
  • Gossip about your mentor/mentee to other people – this is a confidential service

Mentoring Guidelines

  • Always contact your mentor and the co-ordinator via your Aston email account or mobile phone

  • Never give out personal details such as your home address or landline phone number

  • Always inform the co-ordinator about any problems and/or changes in contact details

  • Beware of plagiarism – NEVER ask your mentor for copies of their university work

  • All discussions are confidential between mentoring partners and the coordinator, unless there is a risk to well being

  • If you feel at all uncomfortable with any part of the mentoring relationship, please contact the co-ordinator

  • If the mentor feels the mentee needs support which falls beyond the mentor role, they should encourage the mentee to seek appropriate help or contact the co-ordinator

Additional support services at Aston University  

Who do I contact if I have any problems with the Graduate E-Mentoring programme?

Please contact the co-ordinator, Baljit Gill, on b.k.gill@aston.ac.uk if there are any problems, or if you would like further information.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research