Think Ahead Mentoring

Think Ahead Mentoring has been specifically designed for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and matches an ECR with a trained, independent mentor. Think Ahead mentors offer support and mentorship around career development and progression. 

Think Ahead mentoring is open to all mentees who self-define as being an ECR (postdocs, research associates, assistants, fellows, university teachers, teaching fellows, lecturers...). The majority of Think Ahead mentors are senior academics however we recognise the importance and value of a diverse mentoring pool and welcome mentor applications from anyone who would feel comfortable mentoring and supporting an ECR discussing career development, progression and professional development.

What's involved?

We will match you with a mentor outside your own department who can help you develop your career here, or into your next position whether that is within the academic environment, or in one of the hundreds of alternative career paths.

Our 200+ mentors are predominately senior academics who have volunteered their time; they are trained and experienced in helping staff to take control of their career through established mentoring and coaching techniques.

Programme evaluation data indicates that mentoring helps:

  • to have dedicated time to focus on your professional development and career plan
  • to understand the options for your next move and make active choices
  • to find new ways to build constructive working relationships
  • to raise your profile in academia or in a new field
  • to be listened to, improve your confidence and motivation at work
  • to prioritise and find balance against multiple projects and demands

We have two intakes per year (in March & September), each welcoming around 75 mentees. See the timeline for the mentoring programme.

You will be matched with a mentor after attending an induction and mentoring skills workshop and completing a matching form where you can specify your own requirements for mentoring. We strive to pair you with a mentor of the right experience and expertise to support your aims.

Your mentor will be assigned to you for 6-months and you will be expected to meet a minimum of three times over that period. The mentee drives the relationship and is responsible for setting up meetings, and actively engaging with the mentor.

Mentoring expertise

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This programme is research-led, and was designed and developed in conjunction with staff groups.

Mentors are provided with full training and support throughout the 6-month programme. As well as attending a mandatory induction session optional mentor development workshops are held throughout the year. 

If you have any questions about the programme, about your mentee or mentor, techniques to use in mentoring, or you need to know where to look for help, guidance or support please contact esther.allen@sheffield.ac.uk.

Mentee Testamonials;

Click here to see some of the excellent work going on within programme.Participant Feedback