Dr Carla Chivers
School of Psychology
Faculty of Medical Sciences
What did you do?
Our Forensic Psychology Professional Mentorship Scheme aims to pair our Forensic Psychology MSc students with an individual working within a role or sector of interest within the broad arena of forensic psychology. The scheme aims to provide our students with access to the experience and knowledge of a mentor which will in turn help them to get ahead and develop skills needed in the workplace after they graduate.
Within a flexible framework, students and mentors work together over the academic year with five key contact points, these can be in person or through video conferencing. Advice shared could cover anything from writing CVs for a specific industry through to searching for graduate jobs and work experience.
Who is involved?
Dr Carla Chivers (Lecturer in Forensic Psychology), Dr Darren Johnson (DPD for MSc Forensic Psychology), external partners (as mentors) and MSc Forensic Psychology Students (as mentees).
How did you do it?
We reached out to our professional networks to seek a range of external partners to act as mentors.
Why did you do it?
Our MSc in Forensic Psychology programme typically offers a range of extra-curricular opportunities for our students including voluntary placements with our external partners, for instance within the NHS, HMPPS etc. These are great opportunities for our students to get a feel for what it is like to work within forensic settings and meet other professionals working in the field. However, COVID-19 meant that we were unable to offer such enriching experiences. We were responsive to this and adapted, developing our Forensic Psychology Professional Mentorship Scheme. This was also in response to continuing positive feedback from students regarding hearing from guest speakers about their role and their career progression.
Benefits for the mentee
- One-to-one careers advice, support and guidance from an experienced professional
- Gain a realistic insight into a possible future career
- Gain practical advice, encouragement and support
- Increase social, academic and professional confidence
- Become more empowered to make decisions
- Develop communication and interpersonal skills
- Develop networking opportunities with a range of professionals
- Enhance employability skills
- Approach job applications and interviews with greater confidence
Benefits for the Mentor
- Recognised involvement in a degree programme
- Possible networking opportunities
- Develop and refine mentoring skills
- Opportunity for self-reflection
- Gain new perspectives
- Develop interpersonal skills
- Personal satisfaction
‘I always find it helpful and interesting listening to professionals about their personal career pathway and getting advice about work experience and applications so in that sense it has been really useful.’
‘I have used my learnt knowledge from these meetings and applied it to my current job and also applications for new jobs. Speaking about female offenders in detail was extremely useful as they are less spoken about.’
‘These meetings have been really helpful in getting an insight into what it is like to work as a Forensic Psychologist within the prison service. The mentor was fantastic and she would constantly send me extra information that was relevant to the recruitment process of prisons, as well as providing YouTube channels and podcasts, which were also useful resources.’
Does it work?
While our Forensic Psychology Professional Mentorship Scheme is in its infancy the quotes above would suggest that it had been of benefit to students. In addition, we have seen many students go on to successfully gain employment within the field of forensic psychology.