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Becoming an Aurora Mentor

Aurora participants are required to have a mentor to support and guide them throughout and after the end of the formal learning process. Usually these mentors will have been identified by the HEI’s Aurora Champion, the central HR or staff development department and may be part of an existing mentoring scheme. Mentors may be male or female and be well-established and knowledgeable members of the institution who will usually be more senior than the Aurora participant.

Join our "Becoming an Aurora Mentor" workshops

For 2023-24, Becoming an Aurora Mentor workshops consist of 4 cohorts, each consisting of two half-day virtual workshops. The first cohort starts on 15 November 2023. 23-24 marks the second year of our in-house mentoring programme.

View mentor workshops information sheet

Mentors will:

•    Be considered successful in their careers
•    Be knowledgeable and experienced in their organisation and understand its culture
•    Have sufficient time available to work with the mentee
•    Have the endorsement of their Aurora champion
•    Have sufficient general higher education experience to be able to offer advice and support
•    Be a good listener and be able to provide objective, constructive feedback
•    Have a genuine interest in helping women to develop their careers and particularly support his/her mentee
•    Have a supportive or ‘coaching style’ of communication
•    Be positive in outlook – able to appreciate the mentee’s point of view and see solutions
•    Be flexible and open-minded

Setting up a mentoring scheme

Institutions may already have a mentoring scheme in place that could be extended to include Aurora participants. If mentoring is new to the institution, here are some points to consider:

•    Mentoring is a process of developing a working relationship between two people, where one of the pair is an experienced person working with a less experienced person to help that individual to develop expertise, knowledge and confidence
•    A mentor will help another person to learn and to develop
•    An experienced mentor will help a mentee identify their strengths and potential and act as sounding board
•    When a mentoring relationship goes well, the mentor will equally benefit from the process of mentoring by developing their own motivating and empowering skills
•    The mentee will benefit from having one-to-one time with an experienced colleague who is willing to give some of their time to provide guidance and advice and, importantly, to ask open questions to develop the mentee’s self-reflection, self-reliance and problem solving skills
•    Mentoring arrangements may be formal or informal
•    They should be for a fixed period of time, although this will vary with individuals
•    Given the fixed term nature, thought and planning should be given to the start of the relationship, the main processes of the mentoring relationship and, importantly, the ending of the mentoring relationship (guidance provided in mentoring toolkit).

Benefits of mentoring for mentors

The benefits you gain from your mentoring experience will be unique to you as they will depend on your relationship with your mentee. However, there are some key benefits that you could gain from your mentoring experience:

•    Honing your mentoring skills
•    Insight into another area of the university/department/team
•    An opportunity to network with other professionals
•    Understanding of how mentoring can assist development
•    Encouraging self-reflection 
•    Development of skills and knowledge
•    Sense of achievement from helping your mentees achieve their goals
•    Leadership development

Other points to note about mentoring:

•    In general, line managers should not mentor their own staff but should be supportive of the process
•    Mentoring relationships work best when the ‘contract’ between mentor and mentee is personally agreed in order to meet the needs of both individuals
•    Mentors should be honest and non-judgemental
•    A mentoring toolkit has been provided for mentors, which can be used or supplement institutional guidance

If you would like to set up a mentoring scheme in your institution and are not sure how to do this, we can help. We can provide you with some guidance or case studies or direct you to another champion for advice. There is a wealth of information and guidance on mentoring on the internet. Included is a useful open source link providing a range of advice and resources around mentoring

Aurora - the longitundinal study

Our five-year longitudinal study of Aurora participants tracks the careers and aspirations of women working in higher education.

Read more

Mentoring Toolkit

As part of our Aurora enhancement project, which has seen us update and enhance a number of areas of Aurora, we have also updated our guidance for mentors and created a toolkit of resources.

Mentoring is a critical component of Aurora enabling the continued development of Aurora participants. We recognise that many institutions have formal and informal mentoring schemes that are well supported and administered but we hope that this information, which includes a meeting checklist and sample mentoring agreement, will be useful in supplementing the information that you already have and may further support mentoring within your institution more generally.

Download Crib Sheet for Mentors

Aurora Mentoring toolkit - Crib Sheet for Mentors

First Mentoring Meeting Checklist

Aurora Mentoring toolkit - First Mentoring Meeting Checklist

Sample Mentoring Agreement

Aurora Mentoring toolkit - Sample Mentoring Agreement


Mentoring blogs