E-mentoring: supporting our current students

All University alumni are invited to become e-mentors for our 3rd, 4th and 5th-year undergraduates and all postgraduate students. The School's Judy Hardy explains how this innovative scheme works.

One of the best ways for students to gain an insight into what a particular job is really like is to talk to someone who is doing it. The choice of careers open to physics and astronomy graduates is vast. Career destinations reported by our recent alumni range from the scientific, technical, IT and financial sectors to the environmental industry, healthcare, teaching, retail, publishing and NGOs amongst others.

While some students have very clear career aims, others can be bewildered by the wide choice and find it difficult to know where to start, or may not even be aware of the full range of options open to them. Mentoring is an excellent way to help students explore and choose their career goals by talking to someone who is already doing a particular job.

Connect.ed

The Careers Service has recently launched an alumni e-mentoring scheme, Connect.ed, which links our alumni with current students or fellow alumni who are interested in a career in a similar area. By sharing experiences, offering suggestions or simply passing on information about their chosen field, e-mentors can help students to make informed career choices and to take their first steps towards achieving their aspirations.

There are also benefits for the e-mentor, with opportunities to consider and reflect on working practices, develop communication skills in a wider setting and build professional networks, as well as the personal satisfaction that comes from supporting others.

In outline, the scheme works as follows: e-mentors register their details, including a short career profile, via the secure MyEd Alumni Portal. Students can then browse the alumni profiles, again via MyEd, to identify and contact potential e-mentors. The e-mentor can then accept the relationship, which is conducted by email. The length of the relationship is flexible and can range from a simple one-off exchange of emails to a longer-term connection. The duration of the mentoring relationship, its scope and subject matter are agreed by e-mentor and e-mentee at the outset.

All University alumni are invited to become e-mentors. For e-mentees, the scheme is currently open to 3rd, 4th and 5th year undergraduates and all postgraduate students.

Why be an e-mentor?

  • Share your experiences and insights into the realities of your job or career sector
  • Help current students explore and decide on their career goals
  • Reflect on your current role and working practice
  • Enhance your interpersonal and communication skills
  • Build links with other alumni, the School and the University.

Find out more about e-mentoring

To sign up as an e-mentor, or to find out more about the scheme, see the Connect.Ed website or Connected [at] ed.ac.uk (email the team). We are also happy to offer guidance and support for e-mentors.

The University Alumni Team

The Alumni Team provides opportunities for alumni to stay connected with the University and each other through events, reunions, clubs, networks and volunteering. It supports alumni by facilitating networking and professional development opportunities, and by providing a programme of benefits and services, including a range of publications. By highlighting and celebrating the achievements of our alumni, it aims to inspire the next generation of Edinburgh graduates.

Contact the Alumni Team

To find out more about how you can keep in touch or get involved, see the Alumni Services website or alumni [at] ed.ac.uk (email the team). You can also find them on:

This article also appeared in the School's newsletter, Enquire.