9 April 2021

Over the past six months, 89 alumni have been mentoring honours undergraduate students as part of the Edinburgh Award, with huge benefits for both mentors and mentees.
A women using a laptop

First established in 2019, the Alumni Mentoring Programme is a key aspect of the Edinburgh Award for Effective and Responsible Leadership, offered to honours undergraduate students. It provides a bespoke learning experience to help them transition from university to working life, connecting them directly with the world of practice.

During its first year, 34 alumni from a variety of industries, mainly within the UK, volunteered to be mentors. Following this success, we were delighted to recruit a total of 89 alumni this academic year, who have been supporting their mentees through one-to-one conversations, as well as attending two collective events.

Additionally, a group-mentoring pilot for six students and a themed strand of the mentoring programme around climate change and sustainability practices were also launched in 2020, with the intention to further expand the scope in the 2021–22 academic year. It is clear from discussions with the alumni mentors, that they each gain a huge amount from being involved.

New to the programme was Adrian Penny (MA(Hons) 2019) who although he is a fairly recent graduate himself, was keen to offer his time to support current students.

"Being a mentor gave me an incredible sense of pride. I saw my mentee grow in confidence in part thanks to my encouragement and advice based on my own experiences from what can be a very uncertain period (transitioning into work).

"I have also become a better active listener by improving my ability to fully understand others' perspectives, to help them as best as I can. This will definitely help me at work and beyond."

Other alumni have been involved in the programme since it was first established, and each year gain something different from their involvement.

Bridget McCarthy (MSc 2016) tells us about her experience of mentoring to date:

"No mentoring relationship is ever the same. Each mentee I have supported always offers a fresh perspective and inspires me to do better and to look at things differently.

"I find that I am always intimidated (in a good way) by my mentees’ enthusiasm, drive, and willingness to take risks and leap into the void as they say.

"In a nutshell, personally, I find the mentoring programme a 'win-win' for both parties."

Student Feedback

The closing event was held in March and a sample of the quotes gathered from the students clearly highlight the many benefits they have gained from the experience, including:

You have helped me to take ownership of the work I have done and led me to be more confident in a professional workplace. You have made such a positive impact on my life and I cannot thank you enough.
My mentor helped me identify potential career paths based on my strengths and limitations, and has made me aware of the type of person I am, and what jobs would make me feel more fulfilled.
Thank you for your support and insight throughout the process. You really invested in my personal development and helped me realise a lot about myself. I will take what I have learned with me as I navigate the world of work.

Reflecting on the success of the Alumni Mentoring Programme, Student Development Officer, Flaminia Raiteria, tells us how much it means to have so many alumni involved:

"This year more than ever we have been pleased to see so many alumni contributing to Student Development activities. The global alumni mentoring community in particular has had an extraordinary impact on students’ lives and we could not be more grateful for their dedicated and enthusiastic commitment.

"We are already looking forward to further developing our plan of activities for the coming academic year and welcoming both new and existing mentors onto the programme."

Find Out More

To learn from three more alumni mentors as to what they have gained personally from their mentoring experience as well as their own career journeys, read their stories here:

Volunteer to Be a Mentor

If you are interested in being involved in the Edinburgh Award Mentoring programme in 2021/22, please register your interest with our Alumni Team:

Contact the Alumni Team