Professional development through an alumni mentoring programme

Judie Gannon and Angela Maher, Business School

This paper sets out to explore the value of an Alumni and employer engagement initiative in the Department of Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism Management within Oxford Brookes University.  The paper is valuable in addressing key conference themes of 'developing networks and communities for professional development' and 'external collaborations and partnerships'.  Specifically it provides insights into how higher education can engage employers in enhancing student employability and the issues to be addressed to successfully manage such a scheme.  The paper first identifies the rationale for developing a mentoring programme in conjunction with a final year module in career planning and the challenges faced in supporting this innovation. The main benefits and key components of successful mentoring programmes; matching, preparation, interaction and evaluation are explored to help identify the long and short term challenges of mentoring students. Drawing on the themes of mentoring and change in the world of higher education the case for such a programme is made and the specific objectives for the mentoring programme are outlined. The evaluation by the first cohort of mentors and mentees on the programme is used as part of the discussion alongside insights from the current second cohort. Part of the presentation will showcase the typical conversations between mentors and mentees and highlight their role in developing future professional hospitality and tourism mangers.  The paper concludes with an agenda for further mentoring developments in the midst of the dynamic challenges facing UK higher education institutions and the hospitality and tourism industry.

Powerpoint presentation (427KB)