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9th October 2009, 3:55pm
Students to get guiding hand from region’s business leaders
Students and their business mentors Students from the University of Lincoln have paired up with senior staff and professionals from leading regional companies to gain an insight into what firms are really looking for from employees.

The University has launched a new Employability Mentoring Scheme which will see around 20 undergraduates get one-to-one guidance from experienced senior staff from small and medium-sized enterprises.

The idea is to help students with the transition from university to the workplace, as well as developing their awareness of the labour market and commercial trends which affect graduate prospects.

Project coordinator Mark Stow, Employment Opportunities Manager at the University of Lincoln, said: "There has been much publicity of late about graduate employability. Graduates leave university with a great deal of knowledge and a lot of potential that they themselves sometimes do not recognise. However, employers often see graduates as lacking in the soft skills that make them employable individuals. This is an exciting project that could greatly benefit our students."

The Employability Mentoring Scheme is a pilot project which will run for the academic year 2009-10. It is a partnership between the University’s Lincoln Business School and the new Enterprise@Lincoln department.

The initial plan was to pair up 12 students with mentors but the level of interest from students and employers was so high, almost double that number of partnerships has been arranged.

Where possible, students will be expected to meet with their mentors on about six occasions during the year, including visits to workplaces. The aim is to give students an insight into how decisions are reached at management level in real companies.

The first cohort of students is from the University's BA Business Studies programme but it is hoped the scheme can be expanded to students in all subject areas.

Students met their mentors for the first time at an event at the University’s EMMTEC building on 30 September.

Paula O'Brien, Senior Lecturer in the University's Lincoln Business School is the academic partner in the pilot project.

She said: "This scheme is part of our mission to ensure that every student can create successful and responsible futures for themselves and others. By pairing students up with business managers, they will be able to learn what it means to work in a management role, what skills employers are looking for from graduates and the challenges that will face them in the jobs market. Beyond that, we hope the scheme will build our students’ aspirations to become business managers in the future."

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