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Students meet their mentors

Building wide professional networks is increasingly important to students as they look to stand out from the crowd in the competitive graduate talent market. However, it is often the case that competition falls in favour of those who can afford to travel to meet and spend time with their contacts away from home.

With around 20 per cent of the University's undergraduate students coming from low income households, and many who are the first in their family to go to university, a new programme has been established to help overcome the financial and confidence barriers to building these vital professional networks.

The Hallam Fund Careers Mentoring Bursary offers students the opportunity to be matched with a mentor. Students can access the bursary to allow for travel and accommodation costs to be met so that they are able to meet their mentor face to face.

Nicole Cunningham is currently studying International Tourism Management and has benefitted hugely from the guidance, support and encouragement of her mentor, Jessica Dodds. Jessica is Senior Marketing Executive at thebigword, a translation and interpretation company based in Leeds.

Speaking about the experience, Nicole said: 'My mentor has helped me in a number of ways, not only with my studies but thinking about potential opportunities to help me stand out from the crowd. Jess has shown me how I can develop my own personal brand through my blog, freelancing opportunities and developing a career portfolio.

'It has given me so much more confidence and motivation, as well as providing me with a respected contact which I can use for reference in the future. Sometimes it's not what you know it's who you know.'

If you would like to find out more about how donations to the Hallam Fund are opening up career-enhancing opportunities for students, click here.

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