The careers market is more competitive than ever and having a good degree isn't always enough. Our students will need to compete for jobs not just after graduating but throughout their working lives. In highly competitive labour markets, employers are seeking out the best employees for their organisations. We want our students to feel confident and prepared for working life; to gain a deeper understanding of the type of professional they would like to be and to recognise the attributes within themselves which set them apart from competition.
Developed by Careers Advisor Tania Lyden and Lecturer Dr Orla Kennedy, as a result of an internal audit of mentoring, the THRIVE Career Mentoring Scheme was launched in 2014 for penultimate-year undergraduate students at the University of Reading. The scheme was originally piloted with 90 students from the School of Biological Sciences and School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, targeting students from a widening participation background. The scheme then was expanded to include students from the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies, Department of Psychology and Department of English Literature, providing career mentoring support for another 180 students. The scheme is now on offer to students across 13 of our academic schools and is planning to support in excess of 400 students in both undergraduate and post-graduate study. Our mentors are successful and seasoned professionals. In volunteering their time, they work closely with undergraduates to prepare individuals for their first careers steps creating an environment for students to discuss their career aspirations.
With the help of the THRIVE Career Mentoring Programme, one pilot year student was able to secure an internship at Cancer Research UK, before securing graduate employment at a medical communications agency in London. "Throughout the year, my mentor Cerys helped me with my CV and gave me many tips on how to make it stand out. She also proof-read job applications I had written and gave me advice on interview techniques. It was reassuring to have someone I could email or ring whenever I needed help, and we even met up for coffee every few months to have a more in-depth catch up on how I had been progressing. Cerys was able to share with me her own hands-on experiences from the working world and she opened my eyes to a wide range of career options I hadn't known existed."
The THRIVE scheme is always on the look our for new mentors to help our students, and the next round of recruitment begins in June 2017. You can find more information about how to become a mentor here.
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W M Childs
First Vice-Chancellor, 1926-29