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Work placement mentors celebrated

Professional Mentoring Scheme
Pictured: Award winners Christos Orthodoxou and Lucy Taylor

13 May 2014

Aston Business School held a special celebration event to applaud the efforts of business professionals who help prepare and mentor students for their work placement year.  

The Professional Mentoring Scheme pairs second year students from across a wide range of subjects with appropriate figures from the professional community. 

Mentors meet with students on a regular basis, imparting their knowledge, experiences and skills to develop the personal and professional growth of their mentees and ready them for real-world work environments. 

Businesses involved in supporting the Scheme include BMW, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking group, Ernst & Young, Marks & Spencer, Unilever as well as a number of SMEs. 

This year’s celebration event, held earlier this week, was attended by over 100 guests, including mentees and mentors and leading Birmingham business figures. Opening speeches on the benefits on the Professional Mentoring Scheme were delivered by Aston’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Higson, and the Executive Dean of the Business School, Professor George Feiger. 

Those in attendance were asked to vote for the winners of the Most Supportive Mentor of the Year award and the Most Progressed Mentee of the Year award. 

Aston University graduate and founder of Class Careers, Christos Orthodoxou, won Most Supportive Mentor of the Year for mentoring Business and Management student, Ashley Ebanks. 

Ashley, who nominated Christos for the award, said: “Christos met me at least once a week to review my progress with tasks such as improving my CV, writing applications, and much, much more. I was given real responsibility to inform potential clients about Class Careers services and sign up any interested people. 

“Christos made me feel I had made an excellent contribution to his business. All of these things have helped to boost my communication, writing and organisation skills and I have gained real industry insights.” 

Most Progressed Mentee of the Year was awarded to Business and Management student, Lucy Taylor. She was nominated for the award by her mentor Rebecca Wassell, Head of HR Operations at Veolia Environment Services. 

Rebecca said: “Lucy has worked with maturity and diligence in considering her placement, resulting in great success. Lucy’s confidence grew and she became keen to discuss the advantages, opportunities and pitfalls of what organisations may be offering. She now has a great placement organised, in which I believe she will be very successful.”

Aston University is one of only four UK universities where over 50% of students consistently take a work placement or a year abroad. Currently, almost 70% of students go on placement or an overseas language year. Aston aims to have all its students undertake placement years by 2020. 

If you would like to relive the evening, see our Twitter Storify or our photo album. 

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For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or j.garbett@aston.ac.uk 

If you would like to know more, or are interested in joining the Scheme, please contact the Professional Mentoring Team (professionalmentor@aston.ac.uk).