When mentoring still means 'better business'

Published: 11 June 2009 at 14:55

Anglia Ruskin University’s Employer Mentoring Scheme celebrates sixth year

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Anglia Ruskin University’s annual Mentoring Awards ceremony has taken place at the University’s East Road campus in Cambridge to mark the successful conclusion of the 2008 -2009 Employer Mentoring Scheme which was very well supported by businesses from the area despite the hugely challenging economic conditions.

At the celebratory event the Mayor of Cambridge, Councillor Russell McPherson, presented certificates to the participating students and their employer mentors, who have been working together for the last six months in a relationship of real value to both sides. His praise for the importance of the scheme was borne out when individual students and mentors came up to the microphone to express in their own words how much it had meant to them.       

The scheme, which attracted a healthy 50 business participants in this its sixth year, is designed to match students at the university with individuals who are working in a relevant job, and who make a commitment to help the student gain an understanding of their work environment, its culture, its expectations, its demands and even its frustrations.

A key concern addressed by the scheme is the lack of business awareness among so many of today's graduates when they are seeking employment. Employers nationally have repeatedly identified this factor as a significant barrier to progress.  Anglia Ruskin University’s targeted programme ensures that individual students support and mentoring from a graduate or professional from local organisations. On a one-to-one basis, these mentors are invaluable in encouraging and helping the coming generation of our graduates to understand, evaluate and enhance their personal skills and business awareness.

The region's participating employers include Cambridge University Press, Domino UK Ltd, Ridgeons, Keronite PLC, RealworldHr, Which, Stafford & Co Chartered Accountants, Cambridge to Africa, PI Consulting, Flourishing People, EF Britten, Eversheds and online security firm nCipher. Cambridge Consultants, East Cambs District Council, Cambridge City Council, Cambridge Constabulary, Cambridge County Council and a range of other organisations including Addenbrookes and Atkins.

All participants benefit at the outset from a free Anglia Ruskin University introductory training session. More importantly, the mentoring experience and the University’s ongoing support develops the skills of participating staff, providing them with a valuable developmental opportunity. The scheme is highly regarded within the sector and has Home Office recognition.

In the words of Hamish Cameron from nCipher who has been a mentor on the programme for five successive years now:

“With every year I gain a little more confidence and learn a lot more myself. It is very much a two way process.”

A further benefit for employers is, of course, their access to motivated and enthusiastic students, potentially aiding with future recruitment. 

Many trained mentors returned to the scheme this year but more are invited for next year's programme. If you are an employer and would like to find out more about taking part, please call Katie Morris on 0845 196 2541 or email katie.morris@anglia.ac.uk