Bristol Mentors: helping to shape students’ futures

Lucy Downer, Final Year English BA Undergraduate, talks about her fantastic experience of having an alumni mentor with the Bristol Mentors programme.

University of Bristol Mentors
Bristol Mentors


“Starting out as a third-year student I felt incredibly daunted by the prospect of life post-graduation. Being part of the Bristol Mentors programme this year has given me invaluable experience within an industry I am considering entering after graduation.

I’m considering becoming a journalist, and so being matched with my alumni mentor – a news editor at The Guardian – felt like a dream fit straight away!

Getting to talk to someone who has come from a similar position as you and has achieved so much was incredibly inspiring. My mentor has given me great advice and contacts within the journalism industry and practical advice on how to seek and ask for work experience.

Probably the highlight has been having the opportunity to visit my mentor at her place of work in London and having an informal day’s work experience at The Guardian. Due to the competitive nature of work experience positions at the company this was an experience I might never otherwise have gained.

I was shown around The Guardian headquarters and attended the morning news meeting. I then met with a range of editors on the news team, and even had the opportunity to pitch article ideas to the section’s main editor.

I’ve since applied to a master’s programme in journalism and a scholarship programme offered by The Guardian, to encourage students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds into the industry.

The scheme helped not only to encourage me to think about my career prospects but made me feel less daunted by the prospect of doing so; with the support of my mentor and some great people at the Careers Service, planning life after university hasn’t feel like such a big leap.

I think it’s easy to feel quite lost if you don’t have a definite plan for life after university, and even though my future isn’t completely mapped out and my career choice set in stone, I have so much more knowledge and experience of how to succeed in the working world after graduation.

I can’t recommend this programme highly enough!”

To find out more about how you could become a Mentor, and to learn about our other Volunteering opportunities, please visit our dedicated online page.

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