Mentoring and why it’s important

Mentoring is important because it offers so many mutual benefits, from increased leadership skills in mentors, to the accelerated clarity and direction it offers mentees who are new to their company, profession or studies. The technology sector (and the business world at large) is increasingly complex and rapidly evolving. Mentoring is a great way for people to navigate their new career paths with more confidence and ease.

Mentoring can provide an enriching platform for sharing valuable knowledge and experience.

It can often be most useful during a time of transition, for example starting university or starting a new job.

Typically a mentor is someone with years of experience in a certain field who provides guidance or advice to someone who is newer in that field. They can do this by sharing their own experiences of similar challenges they may have faced, and offering practical and theoretical support as the mentee gains experience. The primary role of a mentor is to support their mentee’s learning and development, in a tailored and personal manner.

Mentoring with Educational Institutions

Riskaware have recently taken an active interest in external mentoring programmes for schools and university students. The mentoring programmes we’ve been involved with so far, and our brilliant engineers that have made this possible, are outlined below.

School Mentoring

Kian Momtahan was approached by the City of London Academy Islington to arrange mentoring with their students, giving them an opportunity to understand different career and research paths they can enter through the study of STEM subjects. This involved giving students examples of personal journeys through the education system and career progression, as well as informing students about what Riskaware does, and answering any questions they had.

Bristol University Mentoring Scheme

Each year the University of Bristol (UoB) runs a mentoring scheme for first-year engineering students. Students are split into groups and each is given a mentor who has completed the same degree as them. This scheme involves several meetings to discuss the students’ motivation for choosing their course and what they might like to do in the coming years. These meetings are outlined as follows:

  1. Meet and greet
  2. Introduction into company culture and projects
  3. Goal setting
  4. Final meeting with a discussion of how goals have gone

This is a valuable programme for a university to offer as many courses can cover a broad range of subject areas, often making it difficult to know where a degree is applicable in industry and therefore what career paths are available.

Hannah Wood is pleased to have been involved in this programme for the past two years after registering her interest via the Engineering Faculty. Hannah has found this to be a rewarding experience as the students always have insightful questions and are very keen to learn about how the units that they are studying can be applied to industry. After the scheme ends, the students are offered continued support as they are able to get back in touch at any time throughout their degree for advice or feedback.

Collaborative Projects With UoB

As part of the Mathematical Modelling unit for Engineering Mathematics students at UoB, companies, such as Riskaware, are invited to come in and pitch projects for the students to work on and offer guidance throughout the project duration.

Last year, the project we pitched was in the field of population dynamics where the goal was to develop a prototype population model for the Bristol urban area. Tim Culmer and Hannah Wood hosted meetings in which they provided wider context for the project and discussed possible approaches.

This year we were involved in the unit again, this time pitching a project from the MarineAware section of the company which focused on how to gain a better understanding of uncertainty in ocean current forecasts. Richard Brooke supported the students for the duration of the project, finding the experience of exploring this interesting topic with the students very rewarding.

Building workplace experience

Mentoring enables the sharing of industry experience and knowledge to help students develop outside of academic study. It provides tailored support for the mentees learning and development, both within their chosen field and with regards to possible career paths. Finally mentoring gives mentors the opportunity to help people find their way through new experiences or challenges by sharing their own experiences of similar transitions.

If you’d like to get involved in a mentoring scheme, it’s always worth asking your local university or researching mentoring outreach schemes in your area.

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