Anyone at the start of their career needs to be shown the ropes. But why is mentoring so important in HE?
"Mentoring does not have to be a formal and structured process. I consider a mentor to be someone that will listen and provide professional advice in an honest but supportive environment. a team of mentors, may be the most advantageous situation. In order for others to also build such a team then professional networking is essential in making these connections."sciencementor
This sounds like what we provide in the PRF here at Uclan. A supportive group of individuals who act as mentors, albeit informally. This kind of forum shares research, skills and offers opportunities for collaboration too. This kind of environment is essential to stop people getting disheartened with their research or their profession in general. Formal mentoring can fail because of a lack of clear direction or purpose from either the mentor or the mentee. These formal match ups are not always done with individuals in mind and both have to be willing to participate in the process. An assigned mentor is a good starting point but sometimes the informal voluntary route is the more effective one. A mentor does not have to be at your institution as various subject bodies can provide access to mentors, or you can connect with people at conferences or online.
Some good advice from ClaireVStocks "Mentees should have the opportunity to express what they're looking for in a mentor, and mentors should be able to define what help or advice they are willing/able to give."