Could you help? Mentors needed to guide and inspire Sunderland’s next generation

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BUSINESSMEN and women of Wearside – your university needs you.

Today the Echo joins forces with the University of Sunderland to find those individuals who can guide and inspire the next generation.

From multi-nationals to one-man bands, we’re looking for people who can share the benefit of their experience – the good, the bad and even the ugly – to students hoping to kick-start their own paths to work.

Following a successful pilot scheme last year, the University of Sunderland is again rolling out its Professional Mentoring Scheme next month.

The scheme draws upon the good will of employers and employees to improve students’ knowledge of the world of work by helping to prepare them for life beyond their time at university.

Students are matched by career interest with employers or employees from a range of public and private sector organisations across Sunderland. The pilot scheme, which saw the university signing up more than 60 mentors, proved so successful that this year it was decided to widen the opportunity to many more students, and seek even more individuals from diverse job roles to register as mentors.

During three one-hour sessions spread over the course of an academic year, students will hear from those who have gained extensive experience in the world of work.

Louise Dixon is the university’s Professional Mentoring Scheme Manager. “These sessions will benefit our students greatly,” she said.

“Hopefully the experience will motivate them to take a pro-active approach to their own employability by taking ownership of their career planning.

“The scheme starts to roll out next month and ideally we are looking to recruit 100 mentors, but any more would even better.

“Already we’ve had interest from at least 70 per cent of those who took part last year. The feedback from them and the students has been tremendous.”

Upon registering, mentors will be provided with dates of forthcoming induction sessions. These sessions have been carefully planned to ensure mentors fully understand what to expect from their involvement and provide an excellent opportunity for networking with other mentors.

Students will also be put through an induction to ensure they understand the process to ensure that the forthcoming mentoring sessions are productive.

Louise added: “The students who engage with the Professional Mentoring Scheme could potentially be future employees for those they’re matched in the scheme with.

“It is vital that they understand the attributes required by employers if they are to make a positive contribution to the regional economic base.”

The Professional Mentoring Scheme is voluntary, and in return for signing up, the mentor or their organisation will feature as a supporter on the university’s website, including a direct link to their own website.

To register, or find out more, contact Louise Dixon by emailing standout@sunderland.ac.uk or phoning 515 3555 or >>CLICK HERE to enter your details.