How Mentoring impacts mentors

Many of our mentors choose to volunteer with us because they want to support young people to develop their skills, but they often end up getting just as much out of the Mentoring programme as our young people do.

Mentoring is not just engaging, rewarding and fun, but can also lead to the development of skills such as confidence and leadership, which are crucial for any future career pathway. 

While at the centre, volunteers are encouraged and supported as part of the IntoUniversity team, and so often go above and beyond for our students, including delivering insight sessions on their degree topics to our older students and talking them through how to navigate application processes for courses such as Medicine. Because of the skills they have gained, many of our mentors have gone on to join IntoUniversity’s Graduate Scheme once they have graduated.

We spoke to two current IntoUniversity members of staff, who volunteered as University Student Mentors while at university, about what they enjoyed most and how the skills that they learnt helped them develop in their careers.

Tash heard about IntoUniversity through her university housemate who had mentored a student during the pandemic. After spending several years in and out of lockdowns, she wanted to get more involved in the city and community around her and signed up for mentoring at IntoUniversity Bristol East. 

“I remember the first time I met Sudeys, my mentee – a very energetic, happy and lively student. We hit it off very quickly and I always looked forward to our mentoring sessions. I have very fond memories of making microwave pizzas and milkshakes and playing lots of games of uno (and Sudeys always winning by making up imaginary rules!). 

“At the end of the year, we attended the annual mentoring celebration where we got to meet mentors and mentees from other centres and participate in lots of fun activities. The highlight of my mentoring experience was when Sudeys and I gave a speech about our year as a mentoring pair at the celebration – seeing how much his confidence had grown over the year made me so proud. 

“Mentoring couldn’t happen without the support of the fantastic staff at IntoUniversity! They gave me so much support before and during my mentoring experience, helping to provide resources and ideas for sessions. They also took the time to get to know the mentors which is how I found out about the graduate scheme. Mentoring a young person helped me to develop transferable skills such as communication, leadership and organisation which have been invaluable to me since starting my graduate job as an Education Worker for IntoUniversity.  

“Whilst I was sad to no longer mentor Sudeys once I’d graduated, I’ve had the pleasure of working with him during Academic Support and supporting his Mentoring journey with a new mentor!”

Hannah first got involved with the IntoUniversity Mentoring Scheme in 2022 when she signed up to be a mentor to Sonia, a Year 7 student.

“I knew we would be a great match as a mentoring pair as I saw myself in Sonia as a teenager – someone ambitious, empathetic and hardworking but who struggled to switch off after a day at school. This had clearly been something carefully considered by the staff team during the induction process.

“Mentoring never felt like it took a great deal of time to plan, as there were ideas from the staff team and online resources for each meeting. Volunteering was important to me, as I was from a similar socio-economic background to many of the young people and recognised how I would have benefitted from having a mentor as a young person. At first, I was worried that volunteering wouldn’t fit into my spare time. The staff team who would call and email me to arrange meetings were always friendly and kind, and would work the meetings around my university studies and part-time job. I felt like I was able to provide high-impact support without it taking up too much time in my already busy lifestyle!

“Sonia and I continued to meet and would do varied activities together like working on past papers, finding relaxation techniques and baking. Mentoring not only improved Sonia’s well-being but also my own, as I knew that I was doing something in my week that would positively impact someone else. The ability to decide what form the meetings take means that you can completely tailor the program to the student’s needs. Often, the young person you are matched with will have similar interests, which makes the planning process simple!

“It was important for Sonia to be able to ask questions about her future ambition, which at the time was becoming a doctor. I felt privileged knowing that I could support her in believing that this was a possibility, and researching things she could do to start developing the key skills required. Although Sonia’s career ambitions have changed since we first met, the importance of empowering a young person to feel confident that they can achieve whatever they dream and giving them the skills to do so is key to the Mentoring programme.

“Two years on, and I am in my second year of IntoUniversity’s Graduate Scheme working as a Senior Education Worker, after having completed an Internship, and a part-time role as a Programme Support Tutor. When I began mentoring, I felt as though the community space was somewhere I could build relationships with the young people and feel a sense of belonging. I could sense that the centre team were a group of people in which I would feel comfortable being myself around. These roles felt accessible to me due to the relationships I had built with staff, and I felt confident applying to all of the roles I have taken up thanks to their advice and support.

“Sonia still attends our Academic Support sessions and is now a Year 9 student who continues to be hard-working, ambitious and empathetic, but notably more confident. The relationship I have built with Sonia, and all of the young people I have met while volunteering and working at IntoUniversity, make every day enriching and enjoyable. I would urge anyone passionate about making a positive difference in their community and empowering young people to volunteer with IntoUniversity, as the impact you have could be life-changing.”

Over the last 20 years, over 5000 mentors have made a huge difference to the lives of the young people we support; we thank each and every one of them for giving up their time and energy, and can only hope that IntoUniversity and our young people have had as big an impact on the lives of our mentors.

Become a University Student Mentor

Find out more about our Graduate Scheme

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Many of our mentors choose to volunteer with us because they want to support young people to develop their skills, but they often end up getting just as much out of the Mentoring programme as our young people do.