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Thelma 2017 Aluni Engagement award winners from City, University of London alongside Tricia King and Bill Bailey
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City’s professional mentoring scheme recognised with prestigious national university award

The Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAs) celebrate achievements of staff in the higher education sector

by Sophie Cubbin (PR and Communications Manager)

Staff from City, University of London have been recognised at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAs).

The University was presented with the Alumni Engagement Award in recognition of the success of its professional mentoring scheme.

Over the past five years the scheme, which matches students with experts in industry, has grown from 86 mentee-mentor pairs to almost 400 and has become one of the largest in the UK.

Professor Sir Paul Curran, President of City, University of London, commented:

The Professional Mentoring Scheme is an ambitious programme which takes advantage of City’s strong relationships with business and the professions to transform the lives of our students.

By partnering students with inspiring individuals, often our own alumni, they are able to improve their employability, grow their confidence and expand their opportunities.

This award is testament to the collaborative approach and commitment of the staff members, mentors and mentees involved.

City was also shortlisted in two other categories – Outstanding Strategic Planning Team and Outstanding Leadership and Management Team.

The prestigious awards scheme aims to celebrate the achievements of professional teams at higher education institutions across the UK by recognising the best examples of innovation, teamwork and enterprise.

Ben Butler, Student Development Manager at City, University of London commented:


It feels like the sector has recognised the commitment and focus of our Professional Mentoring team over the last ten years and the significant effort of our alumni who voluntarily dedicate time each month to enhancing the employability of our current students.

Winning the THELMA for alumni engagement has been an overwhelming experience for all of us. We are deeply proud and honoured to receive such a high accolade.

The Professional Mentoring Scheme

The Professional Mentoring Scheme, which was established in 2002, pairs students with inspirational individuals working in highly competitive industries, such as business, journalism and the arts, with a view to increasing their employability.

Mentors from several high-profile organisations are involved in the scheme, including the NHS, the BBC, BlackRock, Capco and Q8. Mentors usually work with students for two and a half hours each month and the relationship officially lasts for about six to nine months, but some go on to last for years.

The programme is run by the university’s professional mentoring team, which works to develop relationships with employers in the industries that interest students.  In collaboration with the Development and Alumni Relations Office, they maintain regular contact with alumni who could offer mentoring in the specific fields requested by students.

Almost 60 per cent of students who are accepted on to the mentoring scheme come from backgrounds that are under-represented in higher education. Those who have gone through the programme report that it improved their confidence, courage and job-hunting skills.

In recognising the scheme, the judges said that its growth since its introduction had been “impressive”, and that it had brought clear benefits to students, mentors and the university.

The winners were announced at a gala awards evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane on Thursday 22nd June 2017.

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