Peer mentoring in the Placement experience search: Enhancing learning journeys across discipline boundaries




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Peer reviewed


Within the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Media at De Montfort University students seeking a year-long Placement participate in peer mentoring, enhancing the learning journey of individuals acting in the role of mentee and mentor, and operating across discipline boundaries. Supporting and empowering Placement searchers, mentoring presents an opportunity to learn from peers who have previously experienced the process, successfully securing an innovative Placement year.
The scheme delivers benefits to the mentee and mentor (Hayman et al., 2022). Mentees are supported with practical tips and advice, guidance and encouragement, whilst mentors benefit through developing leadership, mentoring and communication skills, enhancing reflection to further articulate their Placement experience (Proctor, 2012). Echoing engagement with Placements across the Faculty's three schools, in 2022 the majority of mentors come from the School of Computer Science and Informatics (CSI) (55%), followed by Engineering and Sustainable Development (ESD) (36%), and then Leicester Media School (LMS) (9%). The 2022 mentees are also predominantly from CSI (76%), followed by LMS (18%), then ESD (6%). The mentor and mentee relationship crosses discipline boundaries, providing additional benefits to the learning experience by learning from the experiences and questions of those in different subject areas. Mentoring beyond discipline boundaries invites creative problem solving, active listening, and coaching. Placement returner mentors are self-selecting following a call for volunteers. Mentors support mentees to explore Placement options, develop contacts with employers, and identify suitable resources and industry links. Mentors give advice, respond to questions, share thoughts and reflections, help the mentee to develop their own aims and goals, and provide motivation, support and role-modelling. For mentees, developing an effective working relationship with a mentor enhances networking, communication and cooperation skills that will be valuable in the Placement experience and beyond. Mentees set goals around their Placement and career aspirations, regularly reviewing progress in search of a Placement. The mentoring relationship is set within a code of conduct framework based on confidentiality, valuing each member of the partnership, mutual trust and respect. Reflecting on the experience, mentees are positive about the useful advice, support and encouragement received. Mentees appreciate that mentors respond to queries and questions in a timely manner, and many pairs meet weekly to maintain regular engagement. Feedback recognises the positive impact on embracing the search for, and securing, a Placement. This presentation will introduce this approach, inspiring colleagues to extend peer mentoring applications across discipline boundaries for the benefit of all participants.



Placement, Peer mentoring, Mentoring, Learning journey, Beyond discipline boundaries


Allman, Z., Rughani, D., Begum, S., Hardaker, P., Grierson, P., and Toth, R., (2023) Peer mentoring in the Placement experience search: Enhancing learning journeys across discipline boundaries. Oxford Brookes University International Teaching and Learning Conference 2023, Pedagogies of Possibility: tales of transformation and HE hope


Research Institute