Thank you to our outstanding eMentors!

The eMentoring programme allows students to build professional relationships with alumni volunteers on a one-to-one basis. Led by the Careers Service, students request to be matched with University of Sheffield alumni who are working in a career area of interest to them for 8-10 weeks. The eMentoring programme launched in the 2014-15 academic year and exceeded its target of 250 matches, pairing a total of 277 alumni and students. Each student was able to gain insights into their chosen career and tailored advice on their CVs, as well as application and interview support.

98% of students who participated said that they would recommend the programme to other students, while 88% of mentors felt more engaged with the University as a result of participating. Since then, we have spoken to two award-winning participants, who shared their experiences of the scheme.

Claire Roper (BA English Language and Linguistics, 2013) won Mentor of the Year at our volunteering awards in June 2015.

Claire was nominated by her mentee for her “enthusiasm to help, from CV editing to knowledge of industry and potential job opportunities”. Here’s what Claire had to say:

I absolutely loved being in Sheffield, from the University to the people. I thought that eMentoring was a good way to try and give something back, especially because University was one of the best times of my life.

The main thing that attracted me was the feeling that I would have hugely benefitted from speaking to someone in a career of interest to me, and who’d gone through the same kind of process. I am the eldest child in my family, so at the time I didn’t really have anybody that I could talk to and ask for that kind of advice.

I currently work for GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical and healthcare company, on their Human Resources Future Leaders programme, which is one of their graduate schemes. My mentee was a Second Year Geography student called Ciara, and from the outset we seemed to be really well matched.

Ciara was a project leader for the student society, Enactus Group, which I also volunteer for as a business advisor, so we did have quite a bit in common. During the programme, we took time looking at her CV and thinking of ways of helping her to stand out in the competitive graduate market that students now find themselves in. Ciara was also interested in going into an Environment, Health and Sustainability career, for which GSK run a graduate scheme.

In the summer, Ciara travelled to London and visited GSK for the day. This isn’t an expected part of the scheme, but I was pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to my mentee. I introduced her to the Programme Manager and to different graduates from her programme of interest, which I think she found very beneficial.

I had wanted the opportunity to coach and mentor someone, but when Ciara came into GSK, I saw that her eyes had lit up and I’d sparked something in her. I’d been able to unlock that for her and that was a really great feeling!

Our mentoring partnership has officially come to a close, but we continue to talk now. Ciara knows that I’m just at the end of the phone if she ever needs me!

Claire Roper, mentor of the year 2015

There’s something very special about Sheffield and I think that we shouldn’t take that for granted. My advice would be to really appreciate what the University gave you and give something back. You might not be able to give financially, but you may be able to give your time. The time that you do spend volunteering is so enjoyable and worthwhile.

Claire Roper

Jessica Keen is now in her third year at the University of Sheffield studying English Literature. She won the award for Mentee of the Year in 2015, and was nominated by her Mentor for her “proactive” attitude, “focussed questions” and great demonstration of “intellectual curiosity”. Here’s what Jess said:

I first heard about the scheme when visiting the Careers Service. I was talking to them about how much I enjoyed working at the Open Days as an ambassador of the University and the Careers Officer recommended the eMentoring scheme. It had just been rolled out to the English Department, so I signed up.

I was looking for someone who was working in Administration at a University to help me learn about the different areas that I can go into within this sector. I selected and was matched to an alumnus based at De Montfort University, who gave me an insight into the sector and also confidence in being able to pursue a job within the industry. I tried to get the most I could from his feedback during the scheme and now feel more confident in my abilities. I’ve realised that this is definitely the sector I wanted to go into. I also gained some new communication skills by talking to a professional.

I now feel more confident when applying for jobs. Over the summer, I worked for the Clearing Helpline, dealing with applications from prospective students and I’ve started a job as a notetaker for the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service, which will run throughout the year. I’m very proud of the fact that when people ask, “What would you like to do once you graduate?”, I can now give a definite answer and this is something that had come about because of my mentoring experience.

I’ve also signed up for the eMentoring scheme again. This time I’m hoping to meet someone who is working at the University of Sheffield, so that I can talk to them about what they do and how they got into it from their degree.

Jessica Keen, mentee of the year

You’ve been in the position that students are now in and can provide advice to help students with their career path. This is an experience that I know a lot of students will benefit from and you really will be changing people’s lives.

Jessica Keen

Fancy getting involved?

We’re gradually rolling out the scheme to new departments and more students throughout the year. If you’re interested in mentoring, please ensure your business details are up to date and keep an eye out for the email invitation when we roll out to your career field. You can register your interest in volunteering here.

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