The mentoring programme, created to help graduating students affected by Covid-19, has started to wind-down.
At the beginning of the summer, Edinburgh Napier University launched the short-term mentoring programme, Micro Mentoring. The initiative, organised by the University’s Student Futures team with assistance from the Alumni department, provided the graduating fourth year students with an extra layer of support as they entered an uncertain job market.
All final-year undergraduate students who participated in Graduate Futures sessions were invited to sign up to the programme and a call was put out to the ENU Alumni Network to ask for volunteers to be mentors. The response from alumni was immense and almost 100 mentoring partnerships were made across the broad spectrum of disciplines taught at Edinburgh Napier.
Sharon Homan-James, Employer Engagement Partner in Student Futures said: “Micro Mentoring was a short term initiative the Employer Engagement Team set up to enhance support for our graduating students, knowing the negative impact Covid-19 was having on the graduate job market. It complimented a wide range of career support and resources already available to graduating students, such as Graduate Futures and a series of Career Development Webinars and Industry Insight events, supported by panels made up of our alumni and employer partners.
“After holding induction sessions for both parties to understand what is expected of them, the pairings were made, and it’s been wonderful to see them thrive.
“Through many a zoom call, our mentoring pairings set objectives, reviewed CVs, and prepped for job interviews. Micro Mentoring has allowed our graduating students to gain important insights into their future industry.
“Thank you to everyone who volunteered to be a mentor.”
A group of six ecology professionals put into the practice the innovative thinking that is taught at Edinburgh Napier. BSc (Hons) Animals Biology graduates, Madeleine Ambler, Murray Borthwick, Roisin McGrory, and their mentors, Sue Bell, Sue Haysom and Iain Adderton, set up their own support group.
Murray Borthwick explained more: “Beyond the individual pairing with my mentor, I have been involved in a multi-mentor/mentee collaboration with two fellow animal biology graduates. This collaboration has allowed us to meet as a group and discuss what we have been up to and exchange advice. This collaboration has also brought several opportunities to carry out fieldwork with group mentor, and Edinburgh Napier University lecturer, Iain Adderton.”
In addition to gaining experience in the field, Madeleine Ambler was given guidance when choosing her next steps. She said: “Due to the profound impact of Covid-19 on the job market, I made the decision to apply for a Masters degree. My mentor was instrumental in helping me decide which course to go for and I secured an unconditional offer to study
MSc Wildlife Biology and Conservation at Edinburgh Napier University."
As well as making a lasting impact on the newest members of their industry, the Micro Mentoring programme has allowed mentors to add a new member to their professional network.
Maria Hantova, BA (Hons) Business Management with Festivals and Events 2016, volunteered to be a mentor. She said: “When I saw the opportunity to be a mentor, I knew straight away that I wanted to take part.
“I remember how confusing it was for me when I was trying to define my first career steps after graduation. I hope that by sharing my experiences, I can give my mentee practical insight into the world of work.
“I hope that in the future my mentee will be a professional connection that I wouldn't have made otherwise. Who knows, maybe one day we could be on the same team working together.”
She was paired with Henry Evans who graduated in the summer with a BA (Hons) Marketing Management. He said: “The whole experience has been very positive. As my first ever mentor, I really see the value in having a mentor, not only to expand your professional network, but for help, support and advice when tackling challenges in the modern work environment.”
Miia MacDougall, Alumni Engagement and Relations Manager, said: “It is heart-warming to see so many of our alumni give back to the University and support the Micro Mentoring programme.
“We all remember what it was like leaving university and the apprehension we felt when entering the workforce for the first time. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to be mentor and offered encouragement and reassurance to our graduating students and newest members of the ENU Alumni Network.
“If you’re interested in giving back to the University in other ways, you can view all the exciting opportunities, here.”