Make your mark. Your chance to influence organisations in the West Midlands to build a more diverse workplace for local students and graduates like you.
The idea of reverse mentoring came about as a result of informative talks with BPS (Business Professional Services) Birmingham, Citi-REDI, GBSLEP (Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership) and Birmingham Business School to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce, which represents its local population.
What is reverse mentoring?
Traditional mentoring is a valuable, informal relationship in which a more experienced or knowledgeable person guides someone who is less experienced to reach their goals by sharing personal experiences, advice, unbiased support and feedback.
In reverse mentoring, you (the mentor) will be guiding the business (the mentee – hiring managers, talent acquisition managers and Directors) to give feedback, support and advice on what you think about their current graduate recruitment practices or/and how they target students like you.
The goal is to help organisations gain an insight into the mind-sets and experiences of students and/or graduates from the local area, so that they can attract a wider, diverse range of graduates.
We define ‘diversity and inclusion’ as empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin.
What does Reverse Mentoring involve?
- Organisations are keen to hear from students/graduates who can help them with their diversity and inclusion agendas, and wider engagement and recruitment initiatives.
- Find out about the organisations involved this year.
- If you are interested in joining to the scheme, you will need to complete a short form, where you can select up to 3 organisations who you would like to mentor. You will be paired with 1 organisation. We will try our best to match you with one of your top preferences.
- Based on the info you provide, you will be selected and matched by the Transformation West Midlands project team week beginning 24 January 2022.
- Up to 4/5 mentors (students/graduates) will be paired with an organisation, providing you with an excellent opportunity to work with a team of students/graduates and network with fellow students/graduates from other institutions (as well as staff within the organisation you will be paired with).
What is the benefit of Reverse Mentoring?
- Have the fantastic opportunity to build on key transferable soft skills such as leadership, communication and diplomacy.
- Get the experience of working closely with senior staff within an organisation, gaining awareness about an organisation/sector you may aspire to join.
- Help the organisation create positive change.
- Benefit from extra support and connections, such as offers of a mock interview and visits.
Previous students/graduates who participated in the scheme as mentors commented:
- I found the whole experience to be very valuable, both for myself and for the organisation. It has helped me gain an understanding and a better idea about the recruitment processes of a graduate scheme and what recruiters look for in an applicant. At the same time, being able to participate in a project that allows me to make a difference and help BAME students receive an equal chance when applying for graduate schemes/jobs etc. has been very rewarding. The opportunity it has given me for personal development has been incredible’’ University College Birmingham recent graduate - guiding BSN Associates
- I would definitely recommend this project to my peers as it has supported me in many ways as it has helped me boost my confidence and voice out my opinions better. If there was a similar opportunity, I would be more than happy to take it on in the future. Newman University recent graduate, guiding Gowling WLG
- It was great to be given the opportunity to provide guidance to employers. For instance, under the theme of attraction, we provided the employer with different strategies that they can adopt in order to attract BAME students. I valued each meeting that we had with the mentee, and it was fascinating knowing that they were taking practical steps to make a difference for the upcoming candidates. University of Birmingham Final year student, guiding Gowling WLG
Employers who were involved in the scheme last year as mentees commented:
- The programme offers meaningful, first-hand insight into how employers can better recruit and support a broader range of candidates; for example, how increasing awareness of our flexible working policies could help us better attract top talent from single-parent families, which make up nearly a quarter of families in the UK. Charlotte Leer, emerging talent attraction and selection Lead at HSBC.
- From an employer perspective you tend to want the right person for the job using traditional recruiting methods, however we recognise the right person may have been overlooked due to their own insecurities or the method of recruitment perhaps not suiting them. Through the scheme, we’ve been able bring new ideas to life and as a result, we are looking to engage with students by running a few relaxed and informal social occasions as our initial screening method, so that students can chat and get to know us in a more natural environment. Pippa Hawkes, Director at BSN Associates
How much time do I need to commit?
- We recognise you may be in part-time work, have academic/non-academic commitments or child-care responsibilities. You will have the opportunity to arrange your hours for reverse mentoring with your team mentors, to help ensure that the hours you do fit around your studies and other commitments.
- You are expected to contribute to virtual meetings with the organisation (1-2 hour meetings per month) as well as non-contact time (emails/research) spent on the challenge outside of those meetings. Most meetings will take place virtually due to COVID-19, unless your employer specifies and it is safe to do so.
- A virtual reverse mentoring training session on 28 January 2022 (from 10:30 – 12:00) is where you will receive guidance and tips on how to become an effective mentor, whilst also getting the chance to meet your fellow team mentors and the organisation.
How are participants of the scheme selected?
Your joining form will be reviewed by partners of Transformation West Midlands, who will be looking at your motivation to join the scheme and how this opportunity will benefit your career goals.
There are no particular skills required (unless specified in individual projects) as this scheme seeks to help you develop your employability skills and confidence, while making an impact on the real workings of graduate recruitment.
Reverse Mentoring eligibility criteria
In order to join to the Reverse Mentoring Scheme, you must meet all of the criteria listed below:
- Are a current final year undergraduate student
- Or a penultimate year undergraduate student, in your second year of a three year course
- Or a penultimate year undergraduate student, in your third year of a four year course
- Or a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree (within the last 2 years) who is currently unemployed or not in a graduate level job
- Studying/studied at The University of Birmingham, Newman University or University College Birmingham
- Are a local student/graduate from the West Midlands region. For this project, we define the West Midlands as: Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country (Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton), Coventry and Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Telford and Wrekin, and Worcestershire.
Eligibility criteria is due to the funding received from OfS to support local graduates into local jobs, particularly under-represented students.
Reverse Mentoring timeline
Deadline - Sunday 23 January 2022 (23:59).
Review and Matching
Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 January 2022
Please read the ‘How to join the Reverse Mentoring Scheme’ section. Participants to hear back on Tuesday 25 or Wednesday 26 January 2022.
Training & Reverse Mentoring launch
Friday 28 January 2022 - 10:30 – 12:00 (ONLINE – zoom link to be provided)
Reverse Mentoring takes place
Reverse Mentoring Mentees (Organisations taking part)