Becoming a mentor can be a rewarding experience 

The Activate Mentoring Programme seeks to match mentees with mentors who have insight and understanding of the educational experience of students of Black heritage and the challenges they face within education and navigating College life. 

The programme also seeks to improve experiences, increase retention, develop a peer community, support career development and create a deeper sense of belonging for Imperial students of Black heritage. After the pilot year, Activate will be extended to other under-represented groups of students. 

Read on to find out more about the background to the mentoring programme and apply to be a mentor.


Background to Activate

As part of the College's  £5 million commitment to scholarships  for minority and underrepresented students from the UK, the Presidential Scholarship will support one Masters and one undergraduate student of Black Heritage (Home fee status) from each Faculty.  The first recipients of the award will be selected in the academic year 2022. As part of this scholarship, wrap- around support will be provided for the students including mentoring advice and guidance. 

In addition, the College has taken action to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education, through its Race Equality Charter Action Plan.  Through the action plan, the College has committed to establishing a cross-departmental mentoring scheme for PhD students from ethnic minorities, (but with a focus on Black students), with any fee status.

Who will you mentor?

  • PhD students of Black heritage (with any fee status (Home/EU or Overseas))
  • Undergraduate and Master’s level Presidential Scholarship students of Black heritage (Home fee status only).

Why become a mentor?

Becoming a mentor and completing the dedicated training programme will contribute towards your continuing professional development.  You will be able to:  

  • Use evidence from your mentoring experience towards Associate/Fellowship of Advance HE   
  • Expand your professional and cultural perspective and professional networks 
  • Receive recognition for your involvement in a programme of strategic importance to College 
  • PhD students who become mentors will be paid the GTA higher rates of pay for their time 
  • Share your experiences with other mentors and mentees through group cohort activities 
  • Join part of a community of mentors and mentees who will be part of the programme

Expectations for the Mentoring Programme

We are looking for mentors who can: 

  • Support students to enhance their academic and professional development
  • Engage with our training and development programme 
  • Participate in our networking, community and development opportunities
  • Commit to 6 meetings with their mentee, during a period of about 6 months 

How mentors will be supported

As a Mentor you will receive a comprehensive training programme which includes: 

  • Mentoring skills and approaches 
  • Practicalities of the mentoring role and Activate Mentoring Programme 
  • Unconscious bias training  
  • Safeguarding training 

Mentoring is a relationship based on trust and mutual regard where one individual uses their expertise and knowledge to support the development of another.  

How will mentors and mentees be matched, and their partnership supported?

  • As part of the application process, prospective mentors will be invited to describe what they can bring to a mentoring partnership, their experiences and skills. 
  • This will be shared with mentees who will then select a mentor who best fulfils their needs. 
  • There will also be regular “check-in” meetings with individual mentors and mentees to ensure that both are comfortable with their match and have an opportunity to raise any concerns about their partnership, in confidence.  

Previous mentors have kindly shared their views on the value of mentoring


“I enjoy seeing people grow and develop and not making some of the mistakes I made”


“Builds my own confidence and allows me to reflect on past achievements and how I can use these to help others in their development.”


“It has been really useful for my own career development and to help me think about making a sideways move career-wise.”