Mentoring scheme helps build employability skills

Mentoring scheme helps build employability skills

Angela McQuade (centre) from the Learning Development Service pictured with mentors from the School of Mathematics and Physics

Queen’s students are taking on the role of voluntary mentors as part of a scheme to help first year students settle into university life.

Co-ordinated by Angela McQuade from the Learning Development Service, the undergraduate mentoring project, which began in 2008 with four mentors in the School of English, has almost 100 mentors in place in seven Schools and nine subject areas. The aim of the scheme is to train current students to support incoming students in the transition to university.

Angela McQuade designs and delivers training for the mentors and supports both them and school staff during the development and implementation of the schemes.  She is assisted by Saoirse McGrath who was one of the first undergraduate mentors and who is now employed by the Learning Development Service as a Peer Mentoring Assistant.

Angela said: “This is a growing project and we expect to have mentoring schemes in over 20 subject areas in 2012/13 and have almost 200 new mentors recruited. Each mentor will undertake two days training either in June or September.

“As well as helping new students settle into university life, the scheme gives the mentors vital employability skills. Many of the mentors have said the experience has greatly enhanced their CVs and opened doors for them when applying for jobs or further study.” 

Computer Science Mentor Michael Murphy said: “I found that a number of prospective employers expressed an interest in my involvement in the mentoring scheme. They were impressed at the level of support that students were voluntarily providing to their peers and how the skills we were developing could apply in industry.”

Andrew Gordon, who is a mentor in the School of Mathematics and Physics, speaks positively about the impact of mentoring on his personal development: “My year of being a mentor has greatly improved my communication skills.  Another major factor in my personal development has been an improvement in my people skills and I feel I have grown as a person in my own management skills. With the added responsibilities of my mentoring commitments, I have learned to be more organised, to prioritise and to manage interruptions more effectively. 

“I fully intend to build on the self-confidence that I have learned and hope to continue mentoring in the next academic year.”

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