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News & Blog > Get Involved with the Alumni Network > Mentoring > Discover Matched Mentoring

Discover Matched Mentoring

Discover more about being part of the Matched Mentoring scheme. Including help with your application form

What is Matched Mentoring

Matched Mentoring is one-on-one mentoring which is probably the type that comes to mind when you think of mentoring. One-on-one Mentoring is a traditional model of mentoring, where one mentor and one mentee agree to enter into a relationship to help the mentee develop, improve and achieve their goals. In this type of mentoring, the mentor has more experience in an area that the mentee is interested in and can act as an advisor and guide. For example, in areas such as career direction or leadership development. While the focus is on the mentee, the mentor also benefits as they develop leadership skills, learn new perspectives and ideas from their mentee, and feel a sense of satisfaction at supporting a student or recent graduate of IDS to help shape the future leaders of global development.

Matched Mentoring means an administrator makes the match for each mentor and mentee. The IDS Alumni Network Matched Mentoring scheme is administrated by the alumni relations office (with guidance from a specialist).

Practical Details

We are not currently accepting applications for Matched Mentoring. We will open the forms again in September 2023.

Application forms for IDS Alumni Network Matched Mentoring


Alumni who are interested being mentors as part of this administrator matched mentoring scheme should complete a Mentor Application Form before TBC (currently closed to new mentors).

Application Form 

The form asks: - 

a) what you feel you can offer as a mentor? You may wish to include elements of your career history, qualifications, barriers you have faced and anything else you feel is relevant - and

b) who your ideal mentee is? Are there potential mentees you feel particuarly well placed to motivate or mentor? The more information you can provide us with the more likely we are to be able to match you well.


Alumni or students who wish to apply to be a mentee (matched with a mentor) should complete a Mentee Application Form before TBC (currently closed).

Application Form

The forms asks:

a) What sort of support do you hope to get from a mentor? You should think about career issues you might want to work on and any barriers you might face in achieving your goals - and

b) Who ideal mentor is? Are there any specific areas of demographic, cultural or organisational fit that are important to you?

Additional support for your application

Book time with the alumni relations office to discuss your application (as a mentor or mentee) before you apply

The matching process

The matching process is carried out by the alumni relations office with support of a specialist.

When the alumni relations office has identified possible matches they will contact the Mentees for permission to give out the Mentee's contact details to the prospective Mentor. If the Mentee agrees the alumni relations office will then provide both Mentor and Mentee with contact details and they will be asked to make contact with each other. If the Mentee does not agree, the alumni relations office will, if the Mentee wishes, refer the form back to the alumni relations office for a further mentor to be identified. Please note that this may not be possible due to the small number of matches that the alumni relations office makes each year.

The information on the form is kept confidential and is held only by the Institute of Development Studies in line with our Privacy Policy. 

Tips for completing your application form

Think about makes a successful mentoring relationship

The mentee drives the mentoring relationship, which allows them to steer this in the direction that suits them. Mentors have volunteered their time to support students and recent graduates, in addition to their current job, so it's important to utilise their time (and yours) most effectively. 

Mentees on this scheme will have the opportunity to gain skills on managing a professional relationship, managing time and ensuring they achieve what they set out to do initially. This could be in terms of confidence, sector knowledge and insight into sourcing and being successful with work experience opportunities.

Consider what makes an effective mentee and how this can be transferred to this mentoring programme.

In order to achieve this you need to understand the different perspectives of a mentoring relationship:

Examples of characteristics of an effective mentee:

  • Honest
  • Proactive
  • Willing to learn
  • Focussed on personal development
  • Comfortable being challenged
  • Flexible and open-minded 
  • Willing to move out of their 'comfort zone'
  • Confidence to ask for advice and share concerns
  • Professionalism
  • Reflects on experience

Examples of characteristics of an effective mentor:

  • Supportive
  • Encouraging 
  • Motivating 
  • Empowering
  • Knowledgeable
  • Active listener
  • Good communicator
  • Offers advice
  • Challenges the mentee

Mentoring is a two way process and relationship. Mentors will be willing to share knowledge but mentors may not have all the answers. It's crucial to be prepared for all interactions, as mentors will have a lot to share but it is up to mentees to ask effective questions to gain these answers.

To develop a successful mentoring partnership, the relationship needs key attributes from both the mentor and mentee:

  • Trust and respect
  • Commitment
  • Ongoing and effective communication
  • A successful mentoring relationship is a process of two-way learning that is ‘student/graduate-centred’ and steered by the mentee.

How to identify your skills and areas of support

Mentees should have an idea on what they hope to gain from a mentor towards their future career. This does not have to be a definitive plan! It is just an indication of the types of skills and strengths you hope to use in your career.

Some suggested questions to work on with a mentor over 6-months include:

  • How can I make the most of work experience on my CV
  • How can I find approach potential employers in my desired field
  • How can I build the confidence to start networking
  • How can I decide what sort of work I want to do

If mentees have some idea on the area, roles and opportunities you hope to pursue, then start to think about how you would define these areas of support. 

Possible areas of support from a mentor are:

  • Industry / sector knowledge
  • Enhancing skills and behaviours for recruitment processes
  • Building professional relationships
  • Career choice and direction
  • Goal setting 

Ask yourself why

Throughout the mentoring journey, we will be looking for alumni and students who are committed to making the most out of this unique opportunity. 

Think about how you intend to use the experience of mentoring to move your career and professional development forward. Mentoring is a long term process, it involves reflecting on your experiences, listening, and then giving practical advice / putting the advice into practice.

Mentees should try to be specific in what areas you are keen to have a mentor from and try to focus on job areas instead of broad sectors. 

Finally, please provide as much information as possible to make it clear what you hope to achieve and to enable us to match you with the best possible person.

Check it again

Make sure you check your application thoroughly and think about the following:

  • Does it read well?
  • Have you checked your answers?
  • Check grammar and spelling to ensure you are creating the most positive impression and demonstrate that you have paid attention to detail.

Mentors Application Form, closes TBC (currently closed)

Mentees Application Form, closes TBC (currently closed)

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