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Be a mentee

Previous mentees on the scheme have signed up for some of the following reasons:

  • Develop managerial or supervisory skills
  • Assist with specific goals, such as achieving academic promotion
  • Help define future career goals more clearly
  • Discuss ways of balancing research and teaching
  • Learn more about the way the University functions, and possible career routes available
  • Explore ways of increasing grant success
  • Get a different perspective on a specific work-related problem
  • Consider how to increase the number of research papers you write and get accepted
  • Address work / life balance
  • Expand networks
  • Develop specific skills




Mentee pack 

Mentee frequently asked questions

What commitment is involved?

Manchester Gold Staff will take up approximately 20 hours over a nine month period. This includes attendance at all events, attendance at some workshops, preparing for meetings and the face-to-face meetings themselves.

How do I know that I need a mentor ?

You could argue that everyone needs a mentor! Indeed, in some workplaces, it is standard practice for all members of staff to seek out a mentor within the organisation. Mentoring is seen as having far reaching benefits for individual staff members and for the organisation as a whole. People choose to take part in Manchester Gold Staff for a whole variety of reasons: a desire for promotion, they want to perform better, to address specific issues, to get better at people management, to increase their confidence, to better understand how the University works, to network - the list is endless.

Can I be a mentee and a mentor at the same time?

Yes, each year we have a few people who act as a mentor and a mentee simultaneously. This works very effectively and is common practice in many organisations.

Will I get matched?

Although the Manchester Gold team will strive to match everyone who applies, each year, a greater number of mentees apply for the programme than there are available mentors. We also have cases where a mentee's specific needs cannot be met by any of our available mentors. In both cases, we will endeavour to recruit more mentors, but cannot always do so. In order to make sure that you stand the best chance of being matched, we recommend that you apply as early as possible.

How does the matching process work?

You will be matched according to your objectives and the areas of your career you want to develop as per the examples below:

Example one: a young and ambitious female academic who wishes to start a family and perhaps reduce her working hours, but is concerned about the impact this will have on her career might be matched with an experienced female academic who has experience of dealing with work/family balance and the perceptions of working reduced hours.

Example two: a new member of administrative staff at the University is struggling to understand the organisation and the possible career routes within it might be matched with a senior member of the administration.

What if I find out my mentor cannot really help me in the areas that I hoped?

Firstly, give it time and keep an open mind. It may be that you need generic help with managing staff, settling into a new role or improving confidence. If this is the case, you may be matched with someone from an unrelated school or faculty, who may be doing a job very different to your own, but can offer you support and advice where you most need it. Indeed, some of the most successful mentoring relationships have come from initially unlikely matches: i.e. a Senior Research Fellow mentoring a Postgraduate Admissions Secretary, a Senior Supervisor in Electrical Engineering mentoring a Manager from the Faculty of Medicine. Matching staff from different areas of the University often leads to greater possibilities for the exchange of perspectives and ideas as well as for networking.

Secondly, it is worth spending time in the first meeting focusing on your objectives to determine how your mentor can help you. Some mentors may want to concentrate on the areas they can best help, and this may mean working on only 3 out of 5 of your objectives.

Of course, very occasionally the match is wrong. If this is the case, and you really do not feel that your mentor can help you, then be open and honest with your mentor and let them know how you feel. Mentoring is a grown-up relationship with both parties looking for a "win-win" situation. In such cases, we will strive to match both with a more suitable match but we are not always in a position to do so.

What if I don't want to tell my line manager about participating as a mentee?

It's entirely your decision, but we do recommend that you ask for your line manager's permission before participating wherever possible. The scheme is viewed as a training and development programme, so permission should ideally be sought. Taking positive steps to develop your career is always seen in a good light, and participation can be included in your appraisal.

We do, however, realise that there may be issues of confidentiality and, in some cases, staff may not have a line manager. If you feel this may be an issue for you, please contact Denise Fieldhouse from Staff Learning and Development at

What if I don't get on with my mentor?

Mentoring does depend to a certain degree on the two parties getting along, and occasionally a personality clash does occur. As ever, give the scheme time and remember that everyone has a different approach and working style: you may even be able to learn from a different style. Remember also, that the scheme is about career development which should give the meetings a focus - you do not have to see eye to eye on other issues. If things really aren't working, be honest with your mentor and let the Manchester Gold team know.

If I am experience problems contacting my mentor, what should I do?

At the initial meeting you should discuss preferred methods of communication, work schedules and availability and even set up the first meeting, which should help to avoid problems of this kind. If your mentor is not responding to your emails, try to contact them by phone or call the reception of their department to check they are in the office. Failing that you should contact a member of the Manchester Gold Team on 0161 275 2525. Do remember that as the mentee the onus is on you to drive the relationship forward and that your mentor has volunteered and wants to help!

What should I do if I am worried about confidentiality?

The mentoring is strictly confidential. An optional agreement is included in your induction pack that covers confidentiality - you can use this document to approach this concern with your mentor, and you can both sign the commitment or verbally agree to commit to this.

When I started the programme I didn't think I would be so busy but now I am struggling to find time

The time commitment for Manchester Gold Staff is approximately 15 hours, which should not have a great impact on your workload. Indeed, one of the benefits of the programme is that it forces you to set aside time to focus on your own personal development. Everyone is very busy, and if your mentor is setting aside time to meet with you, the effort should be reciprocated. Obviously, some times will be busier than others, but you will have discussed this with your mentor in the first meeting and will be able to fit mentor meetings around these times. You need to arrange a minimum of 4 face-to-face meetings within an eight month time period which is achievable for most.

What should I talk about with my mentor?

You could discuss your career, working at the University, obstacles, personal development, opportunities, your mentor's career to date, organisational and industry changes, skills and competencies needed, further qualifications, organisational culture, prospects, day-to-day working life, your CV, interview techniques, networking. You have lots to talk about!

Mutually convenient places which suit both the mentor and mentee are best. Some mentors have the meetings in their offices, others in coffee shops, cafes, training rooms etc. It is often best to meet somewhere impartial. 

What if I decide I don't want to continue with the programme?

Contact the Manchester Gold team and your mentor ASAP. Remember that your mentor has allocated time to commit to you that they may wish to use for other development activities. If it is early enough in the programme, we may be able to offer the opportunity to another member of staff.

Do you have any tips and advice about how to get the most from the programme?

  • Be organised and committed
  • Know what you want to get out of it
  • Prepare for meetings
  • Do your homework
  • Be open and assertive
  • Be punctual and re-schedule with plenty of warning
  • Give the relationship time to gel
  • Attend the workshops and events
  • Make the most of the opportunity and network!

Other resources