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Queen Mary receives commendation for widening access award

Queen Mary University of London’s QMentoring programme received a commendation for the Widening Access Initiative (Retention and Progression) Award at the 2023 NEON Awards.

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The NEON Awards celebrates the transformative power that higher education can have and recognises key achievements in the widening access sector.

QMentoring is a career mentoring programme for undergraduates at Queen Mary. For over seven years it has been supporting undergraduates from low-income households who receive a financial aid bursary. Students are given six months of one-to-one support from an alumnus or an employer partner which focuses on career choice, developing employability skills, and gaining confidence with finding and applying for work experience opportunities. This includes internships, part-time work, voluntary opportunities, and work shadowing.

Students are carefully matched with mentors, with both mentors and mentees receiving comprehensive training. Business partners on the scheme include both large organisations and SME’s across the legal, finance, technology and cultural sectors.

Since QMentoring was established, the programme has been a huge success. Between 250 and 300 students now participate each year, almost all of whom are from low-income households.

The NEON Awards commendation reflected students’ experience of QMentoring. Ninety-seven per cent fed back they felt more confident about their career development because of the programme, and 90 per cent felt more confident about securing employment. Sixty-seven per cent also reported that they secured work experience through participating in the programme.

Judith Baines, Head of Careers and Enterprise at Queen Mary University of London, said: “I’m really pleased that QMentoring was shortlisted and commended for this prestigious accolade.

“QMentoring represents what Queen Mary is all about – allowing talented students to thrive, and ensuring that they are enabled to reach their full potential through a supportive network of contacts.”

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