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Engineering students meet their mentors

Industrial Liaison Office mentoring session

Engineering students talk to industry experts at a mentoring session

11 March 2016

More than 550 first-year students at the University of Bristol met with over 160 industry experts last month as part of the Faculty of Engineering’s mentoring scheme.

The scheme, launched in 2012 and managed by the Faculty of Engineering’s Industrial Liaison Office, gives students the opportunity early in their studies to start thinking about what they would like to do when they graduate. 

The volunteer mentors, who are established professionals in some of the top engineering companies in the UK, work throughout the year with small groups of three to five students to impart their experiences of working in industry. Many of the mentors are themselves Bristol graduates.

Bobby Brown, Principal Engineer at Black & Veatch, who graduated from the University in 2005, said: ‘Black & Veatch have supported the industrial mentoring scheme for many years now. The mentees to date have been enthusiastic and knowledgeable, as well as being keen to learn about how to apply the skills learnt in the lecture theatres. 

'As a business, we are proud to be involved in the scheme. We have a strong contingent from the University and the scheme allows us to keep in touch, revisit familiar surroundings and spread interest about our work. Recent successes arising from the industrial mentoring relationship include the appointments of Gwenver Salmon, who graduated from Bristol in 2015, and Kaye Pollard, who joined us in 2015 to help with some of our south-west schemes.’

The initiative is part of the range of student engagement activities offered by the Industrial Liaison Office in recognition that building students’ employability skills early on in their studies is key to their success on graduation. Professor Andrew Nix, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said: ‘The mentoring scheme is now in its fourth year and has become an integral part of the academic curriculum here at Bristol. Our students benefit enormously from meeting industry experts and experiencing the day-to-day work of engineers in a relevant field. That being said, companies that participate in the scheme are in a prime position to engage early on with our talented students and make long-lasting relationships with those who stand out.’

Students also see the benefit of engaging in the scheme. Jonathan Hawkins, a second-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student whose mentor was based in Toshiba, said: ‘The industrial mentoring scheme has provided me with an insight into how research is conducted in industry at the Toshiba Telecommunications Research Laboratory in Bristol; I am now seriously considering pursuing this as a career path. The activities that Toshiba put on for us over the two visits to their lab were both engaging and representative of the process that the engineers working there undergo themselves. This opportunity would not have been possible without the strong links that the Industrial Liaison Office maintains with engineering companies across the UK.’

To find out more about the mentoring scheme and other initiatives offered by the Industrial Liaison Office, please contact Laura Stafford on or phone 0117 954 5483.

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