Ellen Arkless, Undergraduate Programme Administrator
Newcastle University Business School
Humanities and Social Sciences
What did you do?
Introduced peer mentoring on a practice based programme with a focus on supporting students with placements.
Who is involved?
Business Accounting and Finance BA Honours students
Ellen Arkless, Programme Secretary
Tony Chapman-Wilson, University Peer Mentoring Coordinator.
How do you do it?
We set up mentoring a good few years ago for our students. There was then a successful project ensuring that mentoring was implemented across the University with support and guidance provided centrally. This was really helpful to us and we used the guidance to adapt our scheme so we were working in line with the principles and standards that were developed.
One thing that is more unique to our scheme is the strong focus on mentors helping students before and during placements. For this reason we only use students who are in Stage 3 of the programme as they have experience of placements so can give great insight to the new students. The mentors get in touch with students before they arrive and during induction, this is similar to other mentors across the University. They then get in touch when the students are starting to choose their placements to help them make the best decisions.
An important point in the scheme is when mentors check in with students during their placements and then again when they finish to share their experiences and try and alleviate any concerns that the Stage 1 students might have.
Why do you do it?
Initially we recognised the many benefits of peer support for students and mentoring is such an effective way of providing this. We started to utilise more of the central support, such as the training and resources, once this started to grow as we recognised the positive impact this would have for our mentors. We fine-tuned our scheme to have a few more specific times of contact for mentors because placement selection and support was a key time for our students.
Having the support of a mentor complimented the other support available to students. There are also a lot of benefits to our mentors. The skills mentoring develops are transferable and our students often see the benefits quickly especially if in their later placements they are involved in coaching staff; something a mentoring role prepares them well for.
Does it work?
It’s been great to see how much the mentoring scheme has developed over the years.
We get lots of positive student feedback. In 2016/17 we saw a big increase in our mentors being nominated for peer mentor of the year with one mentor being shortlisted for the HaSS award. In addition this year is the fastest we have ever recruited the number of mentors we need. I think that shows how embedded it has become in our programme. We are looking forward to seeing it continue to develop over the coming years.