Giving your time as a mentor or hosting an internship is one of the most rewarding ways to support students. Since 2011, more than 1,770 volunteer mentors have helped Birmingham students discover the possibilities open to them, overcome challenges through shared insights, and develop their career ideas.
Meet six of our mentors and mentees
A change of direction
Yana Petrikov (BSc Psychology, 2018) was mentored by Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth (BSc Industrial Economics and Business Studies, 1981), Director of Human Resources at the BBC:
'Being mentored has changed my life. It’s been an amazing experience; Valerie has been so supportive and understanding. Through shadowing Valerie, I found out that HR might not be the best career path for me. That was equally as helpful as finding out that it was what I wanted to do.'
Time to reflect...
Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth (BSc Industrial Economics and Business Studies, 1981), Director of Human
Resources at the BBC mentored Yana Petrikov (BSc Physchology, 2018):
'We all have busy lives and many of us don’t take enough time to stand back and reflect on career decisions that we need to make. Mentoring gives time and space and a safe supportive environment in which to talk through different options.
'I think that most of us can look back on our lives and name people who have had a real influence on career decisions we have made. They are the people who have taken the time to encourage us but also challenge our thinking. Being one of those people by mentoring through the University is a great privilege. It also has the added benefit of keeping you in touch with the next generation as they move into the workplace.'
Matt Beswick (BSc Economics, 2018) was mentored by Lucy Baldwin (BSc Economics, 2004), Managing Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch:
‘Having a mentor who has had wide experience in such great roles in the sector you want to go into is unbelievably useful. I was lucky because Lucy’s career path is the exact one I want to take.
‘I’m very grateful to her for all the time she gave to me, the times she reassured me when I was uncertain, met me before I went to interviews, and checked my applications. She was constantly on hand whenever I needed advice.’
Lucy Baldwin (BSc Economics,
2004), Managing Director at Bank of
America Merrill Lynch, mentored Matt
Beswick (BSc Economics, 2018):
'I was in exactly the same position as Matt; super keen but lacking the networks and the knowledge to make informed choices when I left university. I know how it feels and how much I’d have valued having someone to give me some context and perspective.
'For me as a mentor it’s been a good way to feel like I’m giving something back to the University that set me up so well for my career, and it’s a great way to grow as a business leader myself. We all know mentoring forces you to think about the bigger picture, put things into context and make sure you know how to explain things in a straightforward way.'
Just go for it
Melissa Tindall (BSc Biological
Sciences, 2018) is receiving career
advice from Sam Decombel (BSc Biological
Sciences, 2002; PhD Biosciences,
‘One of the main things I’ve learnt from Sam is to just go for opportunities, even if they may be daunting. I also think she’s shown me how life experiences, both good and bad, help you to form your career. I’ve learnt that failing occasionally should not be seen as a setback but as something to learn from.’
Real life experience
Sam Decombel (BSc Biological
Sciences, 2002; PhD Biosciences,
2006) mentored Melissa Tindall (BSc Biological
'On the Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme (ALMP), I initially felt ‘ordinary’ next to some of the other mentors, but soon realised that you don’t have to know everything about everything. I’m matched with students who studied the same subject as me, and they want to hear your real-life experiences.'