"Peer to Peer Employability Coaching and Mentoring; a case study of Bournemouth University in the UK,
‘Learning from those who have done it before’
The purpose of this research is to identify the impact of a peer to peer employability coaching and mentoring initiative within the higher educational context. Whilst peer to peer assisted learning initiatives have been proven to positively impact student learning and the overall Student Experience, such a program with a focus on employability in relation to the mandatory ‘sandwich placement’ component of many UK undergraduate academic programs has not been looked at.
Using a post 92 public institution located in the South West of the UK, a constructivist lens was applied upon a theoretical framework of the works of Kolb and Experiential Learning, Vygotsky and the Zones of Proximal Development, and Whitmore with the GROW Model of Coaching. Volunteer first and final year participants were randomly paired up. Following semi structured interviews with all participants, their feedback was directly used in the session development and guideline notes.
Consisting of four intervention sessions throughout a six month period, the student pairs discussed and explored their ideas and experience with the concept of ‘employability’, particularly linked to the compulsory sandwich placement. Termed as the M-Coach, the final year student role, and the M-Coachee, the first year student role, the engagement was both of a mentoring and coaching perspective. Implementing the GROW Model of Coaching into the sessions
Whilst this project is still in progress, there has been a significant impact observed from both participant groups. The M-Coachees have been the first ones amongst their peers to have a developed social media presence with LinkedIn account, secured summer work experience, and feel more confident about the placement search process. The M-Coaches unanimously felt pride in their ability to coach and mentor their younger peers and gained more perspective from reflecting upon their own personal placement journey which supported their graduate role search.
In conclusion, this project has shown to create a positive impact on the student experience with all completing participants confirming that they would have felt this initiative would have greatly added to their university experience.
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