IoE Alumni invited to join a valuable mentoring scheme.

Only Connect: EM Forster puts it better, but the theory is that the mingling of experience and talents from different eras and areas lights a valuable spark that benefits all.

With this in mind, the University of Reading’s Alumni team has created THRIVE, a scheme that gives students an opportunity to establish a twelve month mentor partnership with a professional. During this period, the student will be exploring life and career goals based on the experience and perspective of a mentor who is already “out there”. Yet it is not just the student who gains from such a partnership. 

For the mentor, the benefit is not confined to seeing changes in their mentee student arising from their encouragement and support – though this is hugely rewarding of course. But, say mentors, spending time mentoring current students with their fresh ideas and creative approach has also been perspective-shifting and energising for them. Mentoring is, they enthuse, a two-way process and Alex Heavens of the University’s Alumni team is passionate about encouraging more professional alumni to give it a go.

THRIVE sees students testing ideas and getting into the workplace as they decide what sort of roles they see themselves in. Feedback from all sides suggests that support offered by a mentor during this period can significantly enhance students’ successful transitions into the graduate workplace. Another great asset for the mentees is the increased motivation and resilience they can bring to the sometimes harsh reality of the corporate workplace.  

Recruitment for the next year of the successful THRIVE mentoring scheme is now open.  Alumni and supporters can sign up today to help improve a current student’s career prospects and confidence after graduation. The University is also piloting a scheme to pair students working toward a postgraduate-taught degree with mentors in the Institute of Education to promote the skills gained whilst studying. Obviously, there are variations between undergraduate and postgraduate versions, but the benefits remain.

The University’s Alumni team said:

“We have seen students develop in ways which have directly related to their participation with the scheme. These include: the likelihood of them securing work experience or a placement, a greater ability to articulate their skillset as a young professional, their self-confidence and self-belief and generally a better understanding of themselves and what they would like out of a career.”

How to become a THRIVE mentor
Becoming a mentor is simple. You will need to fill out a sign up form before September and complete mentor training either online or in a face-to-face group session. Following this you will be matched with a student and should be available for an hour or two per month to work with them as a career mentor. Where possible mentors and mentees are asked to meet ‘face-to-face’ twice during the partnership to help build rapport: this can be via Skype rather than in person. For undergraduates, our scheme runs from the autumn term until the following September. For postgraduates, mentoring takes place between January and June of each academic year. Please note that we cannot guarantee all mentors will be matched immediately. Should you remain un-matched the team will suggest alternative volunteering opportunities in the interim.

To become a mentor we ask that you:

  • Hold at least a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Reading or another institution
  • Have at least two years of experience in your field following leaving full-time education
  • Are student focused with strong listening, questioning, empathy and motivational skills
  • Are willing and able to commit one hour per month to assigned mentees.

Some of the many benefits of becoming a Mentor:

In good mentoring relationships both parties will develop both professionally and personally.

Also, you can:

  • Gain knowledge about University students and how your organisation can attract them
  • Address any misconceptions about your occupation or organisation with students
  • Fine tune your empathy, rapport building, questioning, listening, motivating, facilitating skills and patience
  • Be challenged yourself and gain an alternative perspective on your work
  • Get a great sense of satisfaction from helping another human being
  • Take the opportunity to give something back to your University and department.


Becoming a mentor also means that you will receive exclusive invitations University events which are specifically for our alumni and graduate employers. There are plenty of opportunities for you to network with like-minded professionals throughout the year as well as opportunities to take part in further skills training to enhance your mentoring abilities.

Get involved
Complete our online form to become a mentor. If you would like to discuss the scheme with a member of the team, you can reach us by emailing the Thrive Career Mentoring team.


Schools and trainee teachers praise new mentoring scheme from Institute of Education

The University of Reading’s Institute of Education (IoE) has introduced an innovative mentoring scheme which bodes well for trainee teacher development. Students praise the extra insight, knowledge and tips they receive through the scheme, alongside all the on-going support. The new scheme aims to nurture mentoring skills whilst boosting teachers’ and trainees’ Continuous Professional Development (CPD) – absolutely vital in the rapidly evolving world of education.

Trainee teachers from the IoE experience immense benefits in their training schools from the support they receive from mentors. It is a responsibility the mentors take very seriously, ensuring that by giving their mentees the kind of experience that smooths the transition to teach, these students will have a strong base from which to launch their careers and be the best teachers they can be.

Whilst being mentored, students are able to explore teaching life and career goals based on the experience and perspective of a mentor who is already ‘out there’. Yet it is not just the student who gains from such a partnership. For the mentor, the benefit is not confined to seeing changes in their mentee student arising from their encouragement and support – though this is hugely rewarding of course. But, say mentors, spending time mentoring current students with their fresh ideas and creative approach has also been perspective-shifting and energising for them. Mentoring, they enthuse, is a two-way benefit.

This is the backdrop to the IoE’s introduction of the new Mentor Certification Programme which nurtures teachers and practitioners in developing and reflecting on their skills for effective mentoring – ensuring an already robust and successful mentor programme continues to grow alongside the ever-developing world of teaching.

The new programme has been made specifically flexible to support busy professionals, with a further benefit arising from the support it provides for teachers’ and education practitioners’ career development: the strong element of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is a key component of the new scheme.

Schools and settings have been enthusiastic about these skills-enhancement activities but have also experienced a different kind of positive from the scheme: research has shown a strong link between effective mentoring and recruitment and retention of teachers. Reading Partnership Teachers (RPTs) are regularly offered roles in their placement schools, so active engagement with the Partnership in training new teachers proves an excellent way for schools to recruit Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs).

The Certification scheme has already drawn strong interest from colleagues in schools and settings wishing to cultivate their mentoring expertise. Those already mentoring in Partnership settings are being invited to join the new Certification programme at the level that suits their experience.

The IoE is ranked 3rd in the UK for Education (The Guardian University League Table 2018), with internationally renowned and award-winning academics. The Institute’s strong links with local – and not so local –  schools enables an outstanding Partnership that can create the next generation of exceptional teachers. 

The IoE’s high levels of pastoral care and the exemplary experience that students enjoy are regularly reflected in the annual National Student Survey (NSS), with 2017’s ranking the IoE a high 90% for satisfaction. Indeed, one of the Institute’s key strengths, as recognised by Ofsted, is the high quality of support it provides to schools, mentors and Reading Partnership Teachers (RPTs) on placement.

What Reading Partnership Mentors have to say:
“Mentoring….. it makes you think about your own teaching”
“Mentoring skills – really good for developing departmental policies”

Click here to discover more about mentoring and Mentor Certification from some of our Reading Partnership Mentors.

The Institute is keen to welcome experienced teachers and practitioners to the Mentor Certification programme, whether applicants are mentoring trainees, early years workers, students or Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs).

If you would like to find out more about this aspect of the scheme, please contact your University link tutor, or Kate Malone, our Placements Co-ordinator.

Big thank you to our students who have rated us highly (90% satisfaction) in the National Student Survey 2017

Students are at the heart of our Institute of Education (IoE). We aim to engage and challenge them, enabling them to reach their full potential to transform lives through education.

And so we’re delighted that our final year students have rated their educational experience so highly in the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS) published today (Wednesday 9th August), with a 90% satisfaction score for the IoE.

Students taking part in the survey are asked a series of questions about aspects of university life, including teaching, assessment and feedback, learning resources, and student voice. 

Professor Catherine Tissot, Head of the IoE

We really value the results, as they help us to enhance the student experience at the IoE. They also help prospective students to make an informed choice about where they want to study.

The 2017 NSS was completed by more than 1,600 final year students at the University of Reading.

Overall satisfaction across the University remains strong, with our 2017 score matching the sector average at 84%.

Satisfaction also continues to perform well at departmental level, with eight departments, including the IoE, achieving a satisfaction score of 90% or above. 

Professor Gavin Brooks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching & Learning at the University of Reading, said:

“It is pleasing to see that a number of our departments have achieved a satisfaction rating of over 90%.

“We are extremely grateful to all final year students who took the time to complete the NSS, and we look forward to using their feedback to help make Reading even better.”

Several changes were made to the wording and structure of the Survey this year and, as a result, The UK Student Information Advisory Group and funding bodies have agreed that the 2017 data is not comparable to results from previous surveys and have advised that such comparisons should not be undertaken.

The NSS is an important measure of student satisfaction. It is carried out annually by Ipsos MORI; it contributes to other independent league tables; and it has built a broader picture of the quality of higher education since it started in 2005.

The statistics are publicly available at HEFCE.