Lucy, a 4th Year Anthropology and Geography student took part in the Career Mentoring Programme in 2014/2015. Lucy was matched with Martin, an Aberdeen graduate and a Principal Teacher of Pupil Support (Behaviour and Learning), at Queen Anne High School and here’s their story...
Lucy…. "With starting my last year and with my graduation looming I sort of had an idea that I would like to pursue a career in teaching, but was unsure how to get there or approach it having done a degree unrelated to teaching. However, I couldn’t believe my luck when I heard about and was recommended the Career Mentoring Programme.
I applied to the programme because it offered an opportunity to speak to someone in a chosen employment area to find out about how to get into a particular employment field alongside a chance to discuss the skills involved and those acquired from my degree and finally an opportunity to see and experience being in a professional work environment. As a final note, I applied to the programme because you could be matched with someone who had graduated from the University of Aberdeen, who could share experience from their transition from university into their chosen career path.
An element of the mentorship that really stood out was the willingness of my mentor to help and guide me through the mentorship and their willingness and interest in wanting to continue with communication and meetings after the completion of the programme.
From completing the programme I have gained a number of new skills at the same time as developing existing ones. Throughout my mentorship I have become more aware of what teaching entails and the processes in which I have to undergo in pursuing a teaching career. Through the mentorship I have also had the chance to experience being in a school from a teacher’s perspective rather than a pupil’s which has further increased my awareness and understanding of the role and function of a school and the education sector more broadly.
In addition to these, from completing the programme I have increased my confidence in how to approach the teaching profession and its many challenges. In addition to the mentorship increasing my confidence, from the programme I have also gained and enhanced a number of my communication, organisation, time-management, interpersonal and teamwork skills.
Through the programme I was blessed with a fantastic opportunity and a committed mentor who helped me realise my aspirations, overcome my concerns and provided me with guidance in a safe and friendly environment. Through the programme I have built up a great relationship with my mentor who has given me a real eye-opener into the teaching profession and a wealth of knowledge which I had not received from anywhere else. Without the Career Mentoring Programme I would have be lost to what to do post-graduation.
I would strongly recommend and advise any student who is unsure about what do following graduation and those who would like to explore an employment area further to apply for the Career Mentoring Programme.”
Martin...."Participating in Career Mentoring Programme has been an enriching and rewarding experience for me. Mentoring Lucy has given me the opportunity share my enthusiasm and passion for learning and teaching. It has been a real privilege to be able to share with her my experience and provide some insights into joining the profession. It was also great to work with such a committed and interested student as Lucy. At the same time, I’m pleased to be able to give something back to the University. I know that I benefitted from the high standard of education I received at Aberdeen. It is good to see that the University remains committed to these high standards and to supporting its students in following their chosen careers.
Having had such a positive experience this year, I am more than willing to continue volunteering on the Career Mentoring Programme. It doesn’t require a large commitment of time, you’re well supported by the University and, best of all, you get the chance help someone start their own career. I’m happy to recommend the Programme to my fellow graduates.”
Hellen Griberg, a 4th Year Literature in a World Context and Sociology student took part in the Career Mentoring Programme in 2014/2015. Hellen was matched with Aberdeen graduate Cathy, Director of International Programmes at EMMS International, and here’s their story...
Hellen…” Joining the Career Mentoring Programme has been an amazing opportunity to get an insight into my employment area of interest and to get the chance to discuss with a person who is working in that area.
I applied to the Programme because I wanted to know if I should pursuit a career in a non-governmental organisation (NGO). I was successfully matched and was given a mentor that worked in a NGO.
She was interested in the same area as me which meant that we had a lot to talk about at every Skype-session. It was a lot of fun to have different topics to discuss at every Skype-session. We have also met each other, once, face-to-face in Aberdeen. I’m looking forward to shadowing my mentor in the summer. I really enjoyed the topics we discussed within international development. I think going to Edinburgh and seeing what she actually does on an everyday basis will be interesting to watch.
I developed skills within two of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes (www.abdn.ac.uk/graduateattributes) areas by taking part in the programme:
- Critical thinking and effective communication
- Learning and personal development.
After joining the Career Mentoring Programme, I managed to get myself an internship in India. Without my interesting discussions with my mentor, I don’t think I would dare to apply for an internship in India.
My advice to other students would be that they should go for it!”
Cathy…. “Hellen was a great match for me, as she’s keen to work in my area of work, international development.
Hellen has a particular interest in education, which gave us lots to talk about, as education is obviously a key area of international development, and I have some varied experience in education as part of my career in international development. Hellen is also a Global Youth Ambassador for A World At School, and so she taught me about some worldwide initiatives to promote education, especially for girls.
Everyone in my office enjoyed chatting with Hellen when she came to shadow me. Most people spent about half an hour with her, telling her what they do, so that Hellen was able to think what kind of job would suit her best in an NGO. This was also a chance to talk more to Hellen, face-to-face.
Other than these face-to-face meetings, we had Skype calls. These were easy for me to fit into our mentoring, and probably quite exciting for Hellen, as I called her from India, Malawi and Edinburgh!
This is the fourth year that I’ve mentored an Aberdeen University student. I get a lot out of it, as I enjoy spending time with these inspiring young people, I enjoy helping them, and I enjoy promoting the University of Aberdeen. The young people remind me of my time at Aberdeen, and I always learn from them and their life stories. Hellen herself has an international background, and has achieved a lot already. I hope my mentees learn from me too!”
Alex (MSc Petroleum, Energy Economics & Finance) took part in the Career Mentoring Programme in 2014/2015. Alex was matched with an Aberdeen graduate, a Regional Segment Manager, Oil & Gas at Dräger and here’s his story...
Alex…. “From September 2015, I will be an Energy Trader. It's all I've been chasing for 2 years now. With a background in Geology it wasn't the most straightforward way to persuade employers I was the right candidate for them but after a lot of outside work and pursuit of my Masters here in Aberdeen I started having reasonable success in obtaining interviews and interest from trading houses.
However, something still wasn't clicking as I wasn't getting any further than the interview stage. Michail observed this and the work I did with him primarily involved taking apart my interview answers and drafting together a bank of questions I knew would cover 90% or so of anything I would be asked that allowed me to present myself to employers the way I wanted to be. This in itself was invaluable and was essentially the final piece of the puzzle. Although a simple feat actually having someone sit down with you for three hours and critique every sentence of every answer is not a luxury many people have or are willing to do."
Michail….“When I was starting out in my career, there was no mentoring programme. Nevertheless, I was fortunate enough to work alongside some very experienced leaders, who gave me their time and guidance without expecting anything in return. By now, I know the oil & gas industry (and the workplace in general) quite well, and I am simply keen to pay it forward and help the next generation of professionals in their initial steps.
For any student who is willing to actively engage with it, and who can accept constructive criticism, this programme is a unique opportunity to learn about their chosen field from an insider, to understand what employers are looking for in a recruit, and to receive career coaching or interview advice.
I was lucky to be paired up with two exceptional mentees: In 2013-14 my mentee was Adam (MSc Oil & Gas Enterprise Management) and in 2014-15 it was Alex (MSc Petroleum, Energy Economics & Finance). Both Adam and Alex spent many hours with me, asking questions, taking notes, opening up about themselves, and respectfully listening to what I had to say, over many cups of coffee and even a couple of beers.
As I write this, I am extremely happy for both of them and honestly bursting with pride; because, by the end of our mentoring programme, they had both successfully graduated from their respective courses and secured the kind of job that they've always wanted, and indeed with very well-known and market leading international employers.
It's hard to put into words how fulfilled the achievements of Adam and Alex make me feel, in exchange for the small contribution that maybe I made to launching their successful careers. I hope that they are happy in their jobs and enjoy their work as much as I do, and that, a few years from now, it is them that are mentoring the next round of University of Aberdeen graduates."
Inge (MSc Subsea Engineering) took part in the Career Mentoring Programme in 2014/2015. Inge was matched with an Aberdeen graduate, a Graduate Subsea Engineer, at Chevron North Sea Ltd and here's his story...
Inge…. "This programme is really helpful to students who don’t know what opportunities they have and what positions are out there.
I applied to the Career Mentoring Programme as it seemed like an excellent chance to get more information regarding possible career opportunities. I was interested in finding out more about the oil and gas industry, and the subsea field in particular.
My mentor was a Graduate Subsea Engineer in a major oil and gas company. He works in the same field of engineering as the MSc I’m currently undertaking, which made it an extremely good match. During my mentorship I communicated with my mentor by emails, face-to-face meetings and by text messages. We had discussions on various topics and I was able to ask questions I would not easily find answers to on the web or elsewhere.
The one part of the mentorship that really stands out was the interest my mentor took in the challenges I was facing/questions I had which was really great.
I would say the programme has improved my employability by enhancing my existing skills. Also, by networking (at Career Mentoring Programme events) I have made contacts in the industry and gained knowledge regarding recruitment processes and how some of the major companies operate.
I developed the following Aberdeen Graduate Attributes (www.abdn.ac.uk/graduateattributes) by taking part in the programme:
- An awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses.
- A capacity for self-reflection, self-discovery and personal development.
- An awareness and appreciation of ethical and moral issues.
- An awareness and appreciation of social and cultural diversity.
This is an exceptional opportunity to find out about an industry of interest and getting to know people in that same industry. Don’t think, apply!"
Anna, a 4th Year LLB student took part in the Career Mentoring Programme in 2014/2015. Lucy was matched with Philip, Managing Director of Cloch Solicitors Limited and here’s her story...
Anna…. "I applied to the Career Mentoring Programme to help me gain invaluable experience for my future career within the legal sector. It is definitely worth it because you are able to develop a connection with someone in your future career field and it takes away some of the doubts and fears.
My mentor had experience in the field that I was interested in and he came from a similar background/starting point for his career. An element of the mentorship that really stood out was the willingness of my mentor to help and guide me through the mentorship and his willingness and interest in wanting to continue with communication and meetings after the completion of the programme.
I developed attributes within 3 of the 4 Aberdeen Graduate Attributes areas (www.abdn.ac.uk/graduateattributes) by taking part in the programme:
- Academic excellence.
- Critical thinking and effective communication.
- Learning and personal development.
Taking part in the Career Mentoring Programme has given me more confidence in my already existing skills and knowledge. I absolutely loved how positive Mr Hannay was in person and how motivating our conversation was."