The University of Bristol has launched its brand-new alumni mentoring initiative, which pairs current students with alumni to give them invaluable insights, advice and opportunities to support and shape their future ambitions.
The scheme aims to provide students with a relatable and relevant mentor who can offer practical guidance as they move towards life after University.
Alumni mentors come from a variety of life and career backgrounds, but all have a University of Bristol degree in common, and a wealth of experience which their student mentees will be able to draw from.
Over the course of the academic year, mentors will take part in six mentoring meetings, during which they’ll give realistic insights into industries which might be of interest and help to develop skills, set goals, identify opportunities and bolster confidence.
A reception was hosted at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and gave students and alumni the chance to meet and get to know each other over food and drink. Guests also enjoyed a pub-style quiz, designed to get students and alumni mentors talking and working together in a fun and informal setting.
A talk by former student, Liberty Oberlander, shared how mentoring helped her get her to where she is today, as well as revealing her top tips to students.
Kim Slim, Law (LLB), 2016
Having grown up and gone to school in London, Kim was originally drawn to the University because of its world-class reputation and diversity of opportunities on offer outside of academic life, all set within the beautiful city of Bristol. He now works for the Civil Service in the Grenfell Tower Response Team.
How did you end up in your current career?
When I finished studying, I wanted to work in media (having helped run Burst Radio during my degree). While searching for jobs, I came across direct appointments to the Civil Service and applied for a job as a graduate PA at the Department for Education.
After six months I was offered a job in one of the education ministers’ offices to work at delivering ministerial priorities over a number of educational policies.
I then moved to work on policy development at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, working on rehousing survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire. This August I started a new role leading our team which works directly with Grenfell survivors to support their recovery.
I hope I can make a real difference to people’s lives, as Roosevelt said, ‘to have the chance to work hard at work worth doing’.
What drew you to be a student mentor?
This was something I would have really valued when I was a student – I never had any connections, or any sort of personal advice about careers in the sector I was interested in, so I’d love to be able to help in any way I can to get students to where they want to be.
What support/guidance do you want to give to your mentor?
Explore whatever opportunities are on offer to get a real taste for what you’re interested in. Don’t settle for the first thing you think of – explore what’s out there and get a feel for what fits with you.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Make the most out of first year! I discovered all my favourite extra-curricular activities in my final year and I wish I had taken advantage of all that was on offer right from the beginning.
The mentoring scheme is a joint project between the University’s Development and Alumni Relations team and Careers Service. The University is extremely grateful to the alumni who’ve volunteered their time and experience to be part of this programme.