Beyond Barriers Student Mentoring Scheme

Beyond Barriers is our successful student mentoring programme that pairs industry professionals with students who, according to evidence, benefit most from having a mentor. It's our way of ensuring that every student has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background.

Every year around 300 students from traditionally under-represented groups are mentored on the scheme. It helps their personal and professional development and improves their confidence and career prospects.

Applications for Beyond Barriers 2023/24 are now closed.

Mentors and student mentees

Every year we recruit professionals from a range of industries and organisations to become mentors to some of our students. Mentors offer one-to-one impartial guidance and support, encouraging students to grow, develop and fulfil their potential.

We carefully match mentors with students on the scheme and together, over a period of six months, they discuss the student's personal development goals and plan how to achieve them.

All our mentors are external professionals who come from a vast range of industries and are selected for their ability to inspire confidence and encourage personal and professional growth.

Benefits for students

  • Advice tailored to your specific circumstances and goals
  • Identify workplace skill-gaps and improve career prospects
  • Gain industry insight
  • Improve your confidence and resilience to help you succeed
  • Build a plan for your future

Benefits for mentors and their organisations

  • Share your knowledge and experience
  • Encourage someone to achieve their potential
  • Integrate mentoring into your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme
  • Give something back to society
  • Extend your professional network
  • Boost your organisation and your brand

How does it work?

The scheme runs from October to May and requires a commitment of two hours per month from both mentors and mentees. Participants meet for one-to-one discussions and takes the form of online mentoring, although there may be opportunities for face to face meetings depending on participant location and mentee preferences.

Full training is provided so both mentor and mentee know what is expected of them.

Which students can apply?

Any second year, third year and postgraduate students who fit one or more of the following criteria:

  • Black and ethnic minority students
  • Commuter students
  • Female students in science, engineering, maths and built environment
  • KU Cares students
  • LGBT+ students
  • Mature students
  • Student parents
  • Students who are the first in their family to attend higher education
  • Students with a learning difference or disability

At the end of the scheme all participants are invited to attend a special award ceremony where they are presented with a certificate.

Become a mentor

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or think your organisation could get involved, visit our mentors page.