Careers Network Mentoring Scheme
MEng Aerospace Engineering
Mentored by a mentor from the Aerospace and Defence sector
Tell us a bit about your mentoring experience.
Hello, my name is Lamyea and I am a Birmingham scholar and an Aerospace Engineering student. I applied to take part in the Career’s mentoring programme due to wanting advice on my career goals. I was paired up with a wonderful mentor who worked in BAE Systems and knew the ins and outs of the Aerospace industry. We met once every month and discussed various topics such as the sector, LinkedIn, my CV, and a lot more. We had our meetings digitally which was great as the meetings were flexible and it was easy to connect with my mentor who lived in a different part of the UK to me. She shared her lived experience and advice and gave me valuable insight. She helped me understand the industry better. Her feedback was so beneficial that I got a job with the advice she gave me.
Did you have any preconceptions about the mentoring experience that were challenged as a result of your experience?
I was really nervous about what first impressions I would give her because she was so experienced and I was inexperienced. Normally I am introverted, I would avoid meeting new people. I do not like to push myself and I also struggle with keeping a conversation and hence I tend to stay quiet. For the first couple of sessions, I kept my camera off and did not talk much but my mentor was sharing how she pushed herself and ended up in a better and happy place. Slowly I lowered my guard and relaxed. In fact, one day I finally put my camera on because I was invested in our meetings and they meant a lot to me. I learnt about different topics but also to evaluate myself. As a result, I felt my relationship with my mentor got better and the connection we had with each other grew.
What are your top tips for making the most of the mentoring opportunity?
The best advice I have for someone to make the most out of their mentor meetings is to ask a variety of questions. Because these questions will allow you to learn more about your mentor and give your mentor the facility to share their knowledge and experience. By asking these questions I learnt a lot of things that I did not consider before, such as how people like Greta Thunberg are affecting the Aerospace industry and the push for renewable fuels, or how diversity and inclusion are highly needed in the industry to not limit the type of people who enter the sector. I would not have known this without asking those obscure or plain questions. Be open-minded and cooperative with your mentor, share your experience with them and get their outlook on a situation and this will open up a new perspective for you.
One piece of advice you learnt from your mentor you could share with other students.
A piece of advice I will remember from my mentor is to go out and try something new. Talk to new people and volunteer at groups such as girl scouts. From these experiences, you will gain those hard-to-get skills that school or university cannot give you as well as widen your network of people you are connected with.
Why would you recommend the scheme to other students?
If you are someone who is struggling with your future, or just wants to know more about a certain sector, or just need someone to talk to guide you or feel like you do not fit in and just some advice on how to navigate different topics, this scheme is for you. The one-to-one function of mentoring means that the advice and mentor are tailored for you and your needs and wants. If you need someone to critique your CV or interview skills, explain the sector more to you or just get general advice, you can get it from this scheme. I literally got a job as an IT service desk assistant due to my mentor’s help which I can add to the CV they helped craft for me.