More than 100 guests, including leading Birmingham business figures and representatives from Marks and Spencer, Ernst and Young and Deutsche Bank, attended the celebration event for the Scheme, which pairs second-year Aston students from across a wide range of subjects with appropriate figures from the business community.
These professional mentors meet with students on a regular basis, imparting their knowledge, experience and skills to help ready their mentees for real-world work environments.
At the event, held at Conference Aston and supported by the Scheme’s sponsor, Lloyds Banking Group, those in attendance were asked to vote for the winners of two award categories: Most Supportive Mentor of the Year and the Most Progressed Mentee of the Year.
First-time mentor, Deborah Hayes of Marks and Spencer, won the Most Supportive Mentor of the Year Award. The prize sponsors for the accolade were Hotel Du Vin and Loki Wine.
The student Deborah was mentoring, Doranne Fernandes, said: “Deborah has helped me immensely by giving me help and advice on my cover letter and CV. I was also given an opportunity to attend an insight day at M&S, where I got the chance to shadow my mentor and learn about the day to day operations.”
Most Progressed Mentee of the Year, sponsored by Independent Birmingham and Chiltern Railways, was awarded to Mathematics with Economics student, Rebecca Kimberley. She was nominated for the award by her mentor Neil Herman, General Manager at H&R ChemPharm, who has been mentoring on the scheme for four years.
After Rebecca received her prize award, sponsored by Discovery Performance, Neil commented: “I have seen a real change in Rebecca since the start of the mentoring year and she now seems more confident, more certain of her personal skill set and I am delighted that she has obtained a placement which should allow her to see at first hand the way a major International bank works.”
Chris Battye, Managing Director of Discovery Performance, said: “The ABS Mentoring Scheme is a great way of helping students to highlight and develop the skills they need to successfully secure and complete their industrial placement. We are already looking forward to being part of the scheme again next year.”
The 2014/2015 academic year marks the Professional Mentoring Scheme’s fifth year. The initiative is backed by a number of businesses and organisations, including 2 Sisters Food Group, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Ernst and Young, Marks and Spencer, VAX Ltd as well as a number of SMEs.
Aston University is one of only four UK universities where over 50% of students consistently take a work placement or a year abroad. Currently, approximately 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 the event’s Storify page here.