Mentoring for BAME staff

Our University is a thriving learning environment for all. Whilst some learning is gained through formal routes such as workshops and courses, the power of learning informally through mentoring methods is not understated, particularly for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff, who are underrepresented at senior levels and experience discrimination at different levels of their career.

About mentoring

Mentoring is an equal, non-hierarchical partnership between two people in which a series of development conversations take place. Commonly, one person (the mentor) uses their experience, expertise and professional skill set to aid the development of the other person (the mentee).

Effective mentoring can empower and inspire all members of our University community to fulfil their potential and, over time, support the creation of a culture of collaboration where we openly share our work, achievements and knowledge with colleagues across the organisation to aid the development of others.

Our mentorship framework

  • A minimum of one year. Both parties can extend if they are happy to do so.
  • We recommend six meetings for the year, but this should be negotiated.
  • Meetings can be face to face or virtual as agreed by both parties.
  • Should there be a breakdown in the mentoring relationship, mentees and mentors liaise with co-ordinators who will provide guidance and support. If unresolved, a 'withdrawal agreement' can be invoked.

Mentee/mentor matching process

  1. Mentees contact us at to register their interest, letting us know the skills and knowledge they would like to develop.
  2. Our co-ordinator contacts potential mentors.
  3. Mentees then select a mentor from their profile and lets the co-ordinator know their choice.
  4. The co-ordinator asks the mentor if they are happy to support the mentee.
  5. The co-ordinator then makes the introduction between the mentee and mentor.

Mentor database

You can use the mentor database to register your interest in mentoring a BAME member of staff, or you can view the profiles of current mentors if you are interested in being allocated a mentor.

Please remember to contact the BAME mentoring coordinator on who will be able to match you with an appropriate mentor.

Being mentored

Your mentor should be someone who serves as a role model to you by sharing their experience and understanding of the workplace to best help you develop yours.

It is therefore important to reflect upon the type of knowledge and skills you want to develop before you begin your mentoring partnership. This needs to be expressed to your prospective mentor so they have an idea of how they can best support you.

Mentee criteria

  • Must identify as BAME and a member of Academic or Professional Services staff.
  • Be willing to commit to the scheme.
  • Must identify individual learning needs and be willing to work with your mentor to achieve objective set in line with these.

Your mentor

You can expect your mentor to:

  • remain non-judgemental: whilst your mentor may be more experienced than you in certain areas, you can expect them to be non-judgmental and supportive if a decision you make is different to what they would have chosen
  • share their experiences: your mentor will be open with you and share what they feel comfortable with
  • not act on your behalf: it is up to you to take action as a result of your conversations. Although there may be things that your mentor can help with, all further action should be determined and initiated by you
  • challenge, encourage and support you: your mentor will provide constructive feedback and challenge you to think differently. This will enable you to greatly explore the situation at hand from different perspectives and help you to identify the subsequent actions you may choose to take
  • empower you: your mentor will support you to gain confidence and independence

It is important to remember that your mentor will not:

  • provide you with the answer to all of your problems
  • act on your behalf to solve your problems - it is your responsibility to take action as a result of your conversations
  • usually liaise with your line manager as it is important that confidentiality is maintained at all times. If, however, you require support in this way and give consent for your mentor to liaise with your manger, then that is permissible.

Getting started - your first meeting

Although mentoring partnerships do not need to be overly formalised, it is important that you both discuss your expectations and hopes when you first meet. It is also useful for you both to discuss and agree to the guidelines below:

  • confidentiality: in regards to mentoring partnerships, this term means any matters that are discussed between a mentor and a mentee should be treated as confidential unless there is concern that a party is at risk of harm to themselves or others
  • openness: the mentor and mentee should be open and truthful with each other. They should also feel comfortable to express any matters that they do not want to discuss or talk about
  • respect: in addition to respecting each other, both mentors and mentees should respect each other's time and other responsibilities, ensuring that they do not impose beyond what is reasonable
  • meetings: the frequency and length of meetings should be mutually agreed. It may also be helpful to discuss the means of contact between meetings for minor issues
  • location: both mentor and mentee must be comfortable with the location of meetings. Whilst casual settings often work well, you must give due regard to confidentiality
  • voluntary: the mentoring partnership is entirely voluntary for both people and it may be terminated by either person after discussing the matter with one another first, ensuring mutual respect and understanding of the conclusion

Once these guidelines are discussed, the mentee is usually expected to outline what they would like to be mentored on and the type of knowledge, skills, experience and guidance they would like from the mentor. The mentor should encourage the mentee by actively listening to them and asking open questions accordingly.

At the end of each meeting, the mentor should prompt reflection and action by asking the mentee what actions they will take forward as a result of your conversation.

Preparing for subsequent meetings

Your expectations and needs are likely to shift over the course of the mentoring relationship. To ensure your discussions with your mentor reflect these changes, it is useful to consider before each meeting:

  • what (if anything) has changed since the last time we spoke?
    • what have I done or achieved?
    • what has shifted in my work and/or life?
  • in what ways was our last discussion helpful?
  • have I taken any actions that we discussed?
    • if yes, what happened next?
    • if no, why not (changing context, time pressures, and so on)?
  • what are my main goals for the mentoring relationship now?

Being a mentor

As a mentor, you will have more experience and a higher level of expertise in areas your mentor seeks to develop. Therefore, your role is to provide support, encouragement and guidance to your mentees through a series of informal development conversations.

We ask that there are at least six mentee/mentor meetings each year, and that a review is completed at the end of the year and fed back to the co-ordinator.

Mentor criteria

  • You'll need to be an experienced member of staff at senior level and above, or have equivalent equivalent experience.
  • You can be from any ethnic background but must have a preference for supporting BAME staff members.
  • You'll also need to be willing to work with mentees providing guidance and support over the prescribed time frame.

How to sign up as a mentor

You can use the mentor database to register your interest in mentoring a BAME member of staff. You can also register your interest with us at

We'll ask you to complete a mentor profile, after which we'll provide you with all the information you need about the mentoring process and match you with a potential mentee.


We recommend that mentors access a coaching skills workshop to support them in their role. Courses are free to all staff and can be booked via HR Organiser.

Coaching Skills workshop

This one-day highly practical and participative workshop will enable colleagues to develop effective coaching communication skills which can be applied formally and informally in a wide range of workplace situations.

Coaching Skills refresher

This workshop is a follow-up session for anyone who attended the Coaching Skills workshop or completed the Coaching Essentials for Managers online Moodle course. It will give you the opportunity to develop, reflect on, and practice your coaching skills. The workshop is 2.5 hours.

Successful and effective mentoring

Below are important traits to adopt to ensure a successful and effective mentoring partnership:

  • remain non-judgemental: we all have our own frame of reference from which we base the decisions we make. Whilst you may be more experienced or skilled than the person you are mentoring, it is imperative that you remain non-judgemental and supportive if a decision they make is different to what you would have chosen
  • share your experiences: effective mentors share their experiences and provide information as and when it is wanted, whilst recognising that they must not impose their own agenda. Please only share what you feel comfortable in sharing
  • not act on behalf of the mentee: it is important to remember that mentees decide what actions they take forward or act upon as a result of your conversations. Although there may be things that you can help with, further action should be determined by the mentee
  • challenge, encourage and support: give constructive feedback and coach your mentee in the development of various skills. Encourage them to explore what they want to develop or gain and support them to do so
  • ask open and probing questions: asking these can help a mentee greatly explore the situation at hand and encourage them to think from different perspectives
  • empower your mentee: ensure that the mentee gains confidence and independence as a result of mentoring and is empowered to take full and effective responsibility for their development
  • encourage your mentee to share their learning: we all have areas of speciality and experiences that can enhance and inspire the growth of others. Why not encourage the continuation of learning by encouraging your mentee to identify ways that they can share their knowledge?
  • remember: you can signpost a mentee for further support where needed and consented to

What not to do as mentor

  • Don’t start from the point of view that you know what is in the mentee’s best interests instead, try to find out more about why they view situations in a particular way.
  • Don’t assume mentoring is all about sharing your wisdom, often, it is about listening, and working out the right questions to ask.
  • Don’t try to set the agenda for the meetings let the mentee decide what they need.
  • Don’t pretend to be perfect, fallibility is relatable!
  • Don’t lecture the mentee if they don’t follow your advice, you are there to suggest different ways of approaching a problem, not to solve it.
  • Never break the confidence of your mentee, unless the safety of other people is at risk.
Arrow symbol
Contact us
For further information or to register your interest, please contact: