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Self Match Mentoring scheme

“I have been feeling a bit lost in terms of future direction so just having some time set aside, some support and structure in thinking it through, and someone else's viewpoints and experience to drawn on is really helpful”

Mentee, Self-match mentoring scheme, September 2020

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a relationship in which an individual supports a colleague, by sharing their professional knowledge and experiences, and utilising key skills and personal attributes, to enable that colleague to achieve their goals.

Mentoring can help you to:

  • Progress in your professional life/career
  • Develop your skills, knowledge and capability
  • Facilitate your personal and professional development so that you are able to fulfil your potential.

Mentoring is not about giving advice, or the mentor telling you to 'do it the way I did it'.  It is about motivating and empowering you to identify your own issues and goals. 

Why we launched the scheme and why you should get involved

In the 2018 Staff Survey, you told us that you would like more mentoring opportunities, to help with your daily work and to boost your career opportunities. The benefits to the institution are also clear:  

  • Professional development 
  • Knowledge transfer 
  • Skills development 
  • Sharing of practice 
  • Breaking down silos 
  • Investing in people 
  • Supporting diversity 

The creation of more mentoring opportunities is part of the University’s People Strategy and is included in the HR Action plan, the Race Equality Action plan and the Athena Swan Action Plan. 

Being a mentor or mentee

All of the mentors on the scheme have come forward because they believe in the value of mentoring. Mentoring is not only a great opportunity for the mentee, it is also an excellent opportunity for the mentor. Mentoring develops your listening and communication skills, expands your professional network and and builds your confidence. It allows you to give something back, which can be rewarding. Click on the image above to find out more about what our mentors and mentees think about the scheme.

How the scheme works and how to join

The idea behind the self-match scheme, is that mentoring relationships often work best if you find the person yourself, without an intermediary. It is a very personal thing. You can search for possible mentors using Lookup.  All our mentors have added a short profile and tags for their areas of interest. Once you have joined the scheme, we will send you some simple instructions for how to conduct a search on Lookup.

You should review the mentors available and their profiles, including the areas in which they are available to mentor. Draw yourself up a shortlist of people who you think might be a good match and send a quick email to the first person on your list to introduce yourself and ask if you can have a chat.

If the person is no longer available or feels that they might not be the best person for you, don’t be discouraged, just contact the next person. It really is that simple.

To join the self-match scheme as either a mentee or mentor (or both) please email rebecca.shipley@admin.cam.ac.uk

Support and training


There is plenty of support and training available for those joining the scheme.  Please click on the image for more information.

Contact us

If you have further questions please email freya.villis@admin.cam.ac.uk or rebecca.shipley@admin.cam.ac.uk for further details. We are happy to attend events to promote the scheme or discuss mentoring more generally and answer any questions you or your colleagues may have.

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Speed Mentoring Events

If you are not sure that you are looking for a long term mentoring relationship at this stage, you may wish to consider attending one of our speed mentoring events. The idea is a series of short, focused conversations between mentee and mentor about a specific question or issue. The session lasts an hour and the mentee rotates around four different mentors spending 10 minutes with each, to enable them to gain different perspectives on an issue they are seeking to resolve. Mentors at these events are senior members of professional services staff drawn from across the University. Further information about upcoming events is available here.

"The fact that we saw four different mentors was brilliant - we gained different perspectives, saw different mentoring types and were also introduced to people and roles that we may not have known about."

Attendee of speed mentoring session during the Festival of Wellbeing