Online from: 2011
Subject Area: Education
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|Title:||Peer mentoring to secure student placements|
|Author(s):||Chris Procter, (Salford Business School, University of Salford, Salford, UK)|
|Citation:||Chris Procter, (2012) "Peer mentoring to secure student placements", Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, Vol. 2 Iss: 2, pp.121 - 131|
|Keywords:||Mentors, Peer mentoring, Placement, Social networks, Students, United Kingdom, Universities, Work based learning|
|Article type:||Case study|
|DOI:||10.1108/20423891211224603 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The author would like to thank the Centre for Excellence in Professional Placement Learning (CEPPL) for their funding of this project.|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe a case study where student peer mentors were employed to motivate and assist undergraduates to secure optional professional placement positions.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper describes the reasons for establishing the project, the recruitment and work carried out by the mentors. It explains a survey of students who had not undertaken placements the previous year to try to identify the activities that would be most effective on the part of the mentors. The mentors, together with the placement co-coordinator, devised support ranging from one-to-one mentoring, drop in “clinics”, online support and large group talks. It discusses the results of this work and evaluates the responses of both mentors and mentees.
Findings – Those mentees who took part in the mentoring were typically those who were already enthusiastic about placement opportunities. The majority of students did not take advantage of mentoring support, including support on a drop-in basis or one-to-one basis or support available online through a social network. It was found that the mentoring scheme did not significantly affect the proportion of students seeking or securing placements. However, the mentors themselves gained tremendous benefits from the mentoring scheme, in particular developing their communication skills and confidence.
Research limitations/implications – A thorough survey of potential mentees was not carried out after the project to ascertain the reasons for their lack of engagement.
Practical implications – There are two separate implications of this project. First, the mentoring scheme was valuable primarily for the mentors and not the mentees; and second, the level of support provided by the University is not the main factor in the low take up of optional placement opportunities. If these are felt to be sufficiently valuable for the student learning experience they need to be compulsory with appropriate support available – a mentoring scheme might then be of far more value to mentees.
Originality/value – There is very little published concerning the use of mentoring to facilitate work-based learning so this paper is valuable for that alone. Furthermore, most published work on mentoring is located in the “best practice” school of pedagogical research where it is implicitly assumed that one must report on the success of an intervention. Frequently it is more valuable to examine more unexpected results of an intervention. This paper however shows much greater benefits achieved by the mentors than the mentees.
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