Ann, Student Mentor Scheme Manager explains what it’s like to be a Mentor, how valuable their support is to other students and how to apply …
Being a Student may mean making some great new friends, having an awesome social and sporting life, having some unique experiences and of course getting a degree! However, not all students find it easy settling into University straight away. Everything is new, many students are living independently for the first time, lectures and new ways of learning can be daunting and orientation around the campus and city has its challenges. But here at Cardiff University many of our first years get to fast track this ordeal with help and insider knowledge from our Student Mentors!
Watch our new Student Mentor video to see for yourself the value of the scheme for students and Mentors.
So how does the Student Mentor Scheme work?
The scheme matches continuing undergraduate students with first years from within their own school and where possible from their own degree discipline. Training and support is provided so that the Mentors feel confident in their role and first years are given a friendly face to seek advice and guidance from. Each Mentor is assigned a small group of mentees and they meet as a group on a weekly or fortnightly basis, in an informal friendly environment.
So what topics do the Mentor meetings cover?
When we start university we often have lots of questions and sometimes we don’t know who to turn to for advice or support. Often, the best person is another student. When you ask a second or third year student for advice you are getting advice which is recent and relevant. The first years are encouraged to discuss things they may be unsure of, including:
- how to use the library
- living in halls
- making friends
As the semester progresses first years tend to ask about different sorts of things.
Obviously the Mentors will not have all of the answers all of the time but part of the training means that they will know who to signpost students to so that they get the best advice possible or the mentors will check with us at the office if they are unsure of anything.
So how does this benefit the first year students?
The scheme helps students settle into Cardiff University and allows them to become familiar with their school, the uni, the union and the city. The Mentor Scheme provides the first year students with a friendly face, someone they can contact just to confirm things with, someone to ask questions from if they don’t want to ask a member of staff or they don’t know who to ask.
So why should I volunteer to be a Mentor?
Those who do volunteer (see our Student Mentor video or Student mentor profiles) recognise that they get to give something back to the uni but that they also gain fantastic employability skills including:
- leadership skills
- time management skills
- group management skills
- communication skills
- presentation skills
Mentors also however gain an increase in confidence and this feeds through at job interviews and applications. Previous mentors have gone on to secure jobs with JP Morgan, Lloyds, Teach First and the Met Office, to name just a few. Any Student Mentor who is also doing the Cardiff Award can count their mentoring hours towards the award.
Being a student mentor has helped me immensely during my time at university. It is a fantastic opportunity, which allows you to broaden your university connections across year groups and have a lot of fun at the same time! I thought the scheme would eat into my academic studying at first, but I found meetings were not strenuous, I was able to fit them in alongside the rest of my university life easily. It’s a great way to combine doing something for yourself with helping others, my CV looks a lot better now and I’ve found when applying for jobs, it’s a great thing to write about – the transferable skills you gain are priceless. Not only that, I made some really great friends along the way, Ann and Lisa are always helpful and supportive and you do not feel as though you’re managing a group of people on your own – their office door is always open. Through my involvement in the scheme over the last two years, I have built my confidence and communication skills, and receiving positive feedback from my mentees has been great. First year is a daunting time for any new student, and for me helping others has been nothing short of a brilliant experience.
What is involved in being a Mentor?
Student Mentors are recruited through the Academic Skills and Mentoring Team. This involves students completing a brief online form. If the application form is successful, students will be invited to attend two training workshops – the first on planning and organisation and the second on communication skills. Once in the role Mentors are expected to attend a couple of group meetings throughout the year to feedback how it is going as well as giving up around one hour a week to meet with their group of first years. All of the student mentors volunteer their time but give much more than that; they are a team who are creative, dedicated and fun.
So, do you have what it takes to be a mentor?
- Take a look at the job description for further information about the role and the skills required
- Complete the Online Application to become a Mentor
- Apply by the 26th February
- Any questions please email email@example.com
We look forward to receiving your applications!
Ann, Student Mentor Scheme Manager
Careers & Employability Team
Your Student Life, Supported.
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