Melissa Alexander

Melissa talks about her experience mentoring at Plymouth

I have worked with young people over the last few years in my work place including international students on business administration work experience, University work placement students (in sports therapy) and employed business apprentices. I have thoroughly enjoyed coaching, guiding, teaching, supporting and educating each person. It is extremely satisfying and rewarding yet humbling to see their personal development, self confidence and self esteem flourish.

The opportunity to undertake a mentor role for University of Plymouth and share any expertise to any student willing to learn from me has been fantastic. I enjoy being able to share my knowledge, skills and experience of any aspect of my working life and draw from my very wide background from working and studying over many years. I was a student for 14 years culminating in my sports therapy degree. I have lectured for further education and higher education since 1999. I have run my own business since 1998 and an employer in the last few years.

I believe in ‘giving back’ to help others. I was doubtful that I was good enough to be on the scheme but thought I would give it a go. I was extremely well matched to Geraldrine, whom was originally from Ghana. I was impressed with her attributes, motivation and intelligence. We introduced ourselves and gained good neutral ground to work from. Our discussion highlighted areas Geraldrine needed help with. In the following sessions we worked on her CV, applying herself to job descriptions and applications using SWOT analysis, previous interview questions for medical posts, and we examined her career choices and options to help her choose the right pathway for her future.

I enjoyed every minute working with Geraldrine as she was such a pleasure to chat to and work with. She was extremely keen and interested to improve her employability. I could see where she needed encouragement and support. I was able to help her look at herself and evaluate and appreciate her employability from an employers/outsiders viewpoint. To observe her understand and take on board what I was saying was very worthwhile but her blossoming confidence and personality made it really worthwhile and very rewarding.

My life’s ‘learning curve’ would be wasted if I could not use it wisely to support and encourage other people achieve the best for themselves.