Would you like an IBM mentor?


Would you like to have a career mentor from IBM? The company have offered us around 15 of their employees as mentors to Sheffield Hallam students. Many of these mentors are enrolled on the IBM graduate scheme – some have even studied at Sheffield Hallam. If you are wondering whether this would be relevant to you, you might like to know that IBM recruit graduates from all degree areas.

What is the purpose of the scheme?

The purpose of the scheme is to prepare students for graduate employment through a number of activities. It will give you an opportunity to receive advice and insight from somebody working for a large corporation. By targeting first and second years, the aim is to encourage participation in both a placement scheme, and enrolment onto a graduate scheme, after you complete your studies.

When will it happen, and how will it work?

The scheme will run from February to June 2015, and will aim to involve at least 1 hour of contact time per month – whether that’s face-to-face, via telephone, Skype or e-mail. Some of the mentors will mentor you remotely, i.e. via e-mail, Skype and telephone calls. Others will be located in and around Sheffield and will therefore do their best to meet with you face-to-face.

Who is eligible to apply?

Students in their first or second year, of any degree.

How will the application process work?

You must complete the application form following any instructions, including the specified word counts. Spaces will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis, however please ensure your application form illustrates your desire to take part in the scheme. We will select applicants to attend an induction session, on the basis of quality of your application form, and if necessary, by date order we receive them. So, don’t delay!

Sheffield Hallam University – promoting and supporting Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

We will be ensuring that there is an equal gender balance in the applicants that are put forward, to try to redress the under-representation of women within IBM. We also hope to secure some additional IBM mentors who are LGBT, so if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender, and are dealing with issues around coming out at work, now or in the future, you may find this helpful. All information applicants disclose will be treated in confidence.

Please note: The IBM mentoring scheme has been offered to us, for first and second year students at Sheffield Hallam University. It is separate to the University’s Career Mentoring scheme.

How can I apply?
To take advantage of this offer, please complete the application form below and return it to Linda.wilson@shu.ac.uk  – no later than midnight on Monday 2nd February 2015.

IBM Mentoring application form 2015



Insight into career mentoring and new LGBT initiative

by Linda Wilson, Senior Careers Adviser and Career Mentoring Scheme Coordinator

A couple of weeks ago we told you about our event celebrating the partnerships created with our students and their mentors. Today we’re telling you a bit more about this scheme, how our students can benefit, and about the new LGBT initiative we’ve rolled out this year.

What is the Career Mentoring scheme about? The Career Mentoring scheme gives you the chance to meet with a professional from an organisation or in a job role that interests you. Your mentor can give you the benefit of their experience in a particular occupation, and an insight into the knowledge and skills you need to enter into and progress within that occupation. If you have questions about a career route that interests you, mentoring provides the opportunity to get the answers. There can also be considerable benefits in having a mentor in a non-related field. You maintain the partnership over the academic year during which time it is suggested you will arrange to meet up three or four times.

How can I benefit?  Mentoring can be highly beneficial. You have chance to discuss your career options and gain an insight into what’s required of you in the work place. You may also have the opportunity to visit a workplace, research or confirm your career ideas, gain ‘insider’ advice on the application and job hunting process, find out about specialist skills/knowledge or training required, make contacts and meet people, possibly arrange future work shadowing or work experience or get the support you need so you can face your job search with confidence.

How can I think about who I am “going to be” in the future? Whatever stage you are at with planning your career, thinking about the next stage of entering professional life can be daunting. Much of it has to do with your “professional  identity”,  that is, who you are going to be, at your workplace and with your colleagues. This is going to be much easier for you, if you can be open about who you are, and to feel comfortable (to be your true and authentic self), at work. Having a career mentor who is a strong role model, can be an enormous help in this process.

How might this affect LGBT students? If you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual and / or transgender (LGBT) student, you may be dealing with “coming out” at University, and you may well already be making decisions about who it feels OK to tell. You might also have concerns about how to be yourself in new situations, such as starting a new job in the future.

But, isn’t everything much better now that LGBT people have equal rights? New polling commissioned by Stonewall, (the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity) shows that LGBT people continue to expect to face discrimination in almost all walks of life. The report, “Gay in Britain”, (Stonewall 2013) demonstrates that, in spite of huge advances in legal equality, people still expect to face poor treatment … because of their sexual orientation. The poll also showed that over a quarter of lesbian, gay and bisexual people are not at all open to colleagues about their sexual orientation. Furthermore, in the last five years 2.4 million people of working age have witnessed verbal homophobic bullying at work.

However, on the plus side, many LGBT people work in supportive workplaces, and also enjoy the many positive aspects of being able to be “out” at work. Many of the larger organisations in both the public and private sector, have made a massive commitment to supporting their LGBT staff. Some people choose to work in the LGBT field, supporting other LGBT people with a range of issues such as employment and welfare rights, housing or health. So, if you are LGBT, having an LGBT mentor who has experienced many of these issues, may be able to help you with some of the decisions you will be faced with when planning for a career that feels right for you.

Can you tell me more LGBT Career Mentoring at Sheffield Hallam? In a new initiative this year, Sheffield Hallam University’s Career Mentoring scheme offered LGBT students the opportunity to have a career mentor who is also LGBT. The mentors are from a range of professions including Law, Engineering, IT and Community Work, and were matched with student mentees who are planning  their careers in a similar area.

Here is an extract from a conversation between Linda Wilson, Career Mentoring coordinator, with Matthew, about his experience of LGBT Mentoring:

Matthew re lgbt mentoringI’m Matthew, and I am final yearWeb Systems Design student and I study project management within IT, e-learning, and online learning and enterprise…and I’ve got a career mentor with IBM.

Linda: When you first applied for the mentoring scheme, you expressed some worries didn’t you, about how you were going to come out, when you start work? Can you tell me about how you were feeling a few months ago?

Matthew: “I had a placement with a City Council.  In my placement I found it hard to share experiences related to being gay. I found it difficult to confide in my peers when it came to my sexuality. This affected my relationships with my colleagues as I didn’t get to know them on a social level; and the whole experience with that led me to doubt myself and not feel confident with my sexuality in work.

So, from that experience I composed the application form about how I felt about coming out at work. In it, I said that I hoped that seeing someone else so confident in their own sexuality within the workplace would change my perception, in regards to gay people being accepted at work. ”

Linda: Can you tell me why you applied to have an LGBT mentor at IBM?

Mathew: “I wanted to see what it would be like for an LGBT person working in a big organisation, especially such as IBM. I wanted to know from (my mentor) Michael, what was involved with it all, how he found it, whether he was comfortable with his situation. And, at first he actually told me that he didn’t come out as LGBT. He was actually ashamed of it, and he explained to me how he developed the courage to speak about it, and how he accepted it, as being normal. That has helped me to develop myself, and now I can see that people can work together with an LGBT person, and it is just accepted in the workplace as being normal.”

Linda: Did he talk to you about the support he’s got from IBM, from being in an LGBT staff group?

“Joining this group has helped him come out, and helped him appreciate himself, so then other people, can appreciate him as well, so I think it’s definitely helped him. Now he works on a scheme with Stonewall in London, and does projects and group work with other IBM employee, around LGBT and diversity issues.”

Linda: What do you say when people say that you shouldn’t get special treatment, just because you are gay?

“I do think you do need that support there, to start with.. .even though some people might think you don’t. But I definitely think you do need that support. I felt as if I needed help, needed some guidance, needed someone’s experience to draw from… and this has definitely helped me with that.”

“People perform better when they can be themselves”

Sheffield Hallam University is currently working with Stonewall, the country’s leading LGBT charity, to become a Stonewall Diversity Champion employer.

Student Led Assessment Centre Support Day with IBM

by Dr Andy Hirst, Course Leader Business and ICT, Department of Computing

One of the hardest tasks facing tutors across campus is building the confidence in 2nd year undergraduates to tackle their first assessment centres. So some of our final year students decided to develop their own solution. Get those closest to the problem to provide the solution.

On 3December current students on placement and current students in their final year put on a Mock Assessment Centre day. The invitation was sent across campus to students in Computing, Engineering and the Business School. The goal was to arm students from SHU with the necessary recruitment ammunition to propel their career prospects to another level. The students who organised the event, who are currently on the final year of their Business and ICT degree, are Pete Smith, Joe Patterson, Stan Nedev and Dominique Brennan.

The team developed the marketing and social media campaign, invited the guests and organised the location and times.  The team was supported by their course leader and by a number of willing volunteers from IBM.

Placement students currently working at IBM came up to support the task (some were not even SHU students) and they all recognised the need to help those working hard to break through. IBM as a company understands the role of “giving back” and helping others and puts social responsibility and business ethics high on the agenda for their staff.

This is not the first time that Business and ICT students have volunteered to support their course mates. The course regularly has past students coming back to visit and pass on their career experiences. Michael Taylor, a 2010 graduate, recently gave up his time to support our students by helping them hone their CV’s during a two-hour workshop. As an undergraduate Michael spent his final year building a psychometric test question bank for placement recruitment tests. Michael knows how important placements are to undergraduates, because for him it was a one-year job interview. Now Michael enjoys a successful career with Xerox!

Without any prompting or initiation by tutors this student-led scheme now seems to be an annual activity. It’s a true testament to the collegial atmosphere built by our students.

And of course the benefit of students supporting each other works both ways. The organisers build and develop their employability skills for their next career step, whilst improving the career prospects for the next year group. As course leader I see the direct benefits; students gaining confidence and self-satisfaction by using their talents to make a difference at SHU.

For more info

Student Team @SPPTeamSHU


Business and ICT Course Leader Andy Hirst A.Hirst@shu.ac.uk


Workshops and Employer Presentations for students 18 – 22 November.

Monday 18th November

12.00 – 1.00pm – How to look for Graduate jobs – Explore where and how to look for graduate level jobs. Book in to this session in order to: increase your awareness of job search methods; identify steps forward you can take now; enable you to become a ‘savvy’ job seeker.

1.30 – 3.00pm – Lets get Britain selling – employer delivered skills session, challenging the myths around a career in sales. Find out more about this challenging, rewarding and lucrative profession and explore some of the currently available graduate opportunities.

2.00 – 3.00pm – Jaguar Landrover presentation –  presentation exclusively for SHU Final Year students. This will be an informal presentation aimed at providing information on our various schemes, information on our application process and particularly Situation Judgement Tools. The event is designed to provide undergraduate and postgraduate students the opportunity to ask any question they may have.

3.00 – 4.00pm – Jaguar Landrover- drop in /Q&A session – This event is designed to provide undergraduate and postgraduate students the opportunity to ask any question they may have. No need to book, just pop in!

3.00 – 4.00pm – International Student workshop – Identify your personal skills and attributes for job seeking.

4.00 – 5.00pm – a mini mock assessment centre – A lively & interactive workshop to give you a taste of what to expect and how to succeed!

Tuesday 19th November

12.00 – 2.00pm – Abercrombie & Fitch – Abercrombie & Fitch are coming to present to you on the 19th November 2013. They are looking for students from all disciplines to apply for their Manager In Training scheme. Opportunities are not just in retail, they are also in head office functions such as Human Resources, Finance, Purchasing, Textiles, IT and so on. Book on now to secure your place on the presentation so that you can find out more about their management scheme and have the opportunity to meet the key decision makers.

Wednesday 20th November

Legal Fair – Sheffield Universities Recruitment Fair – The Sheffield Legal Fair is a unique opportunity for anyone with aspirations to work within the legal sector.

Come along and find out more about working within this profession. Meet with over 60 law firms, including magic circle global law firms and locally based Yorkshire solicitors, as well as recruiters from a range of institutions; you can really begin to plan your career at this exclusive event. You can also attend invaluable talks, presented by employers and law experts who will be sharing tips and advice to get you started. The Sheffield Legal fair is the ultimate destination for a career in Law. A free shuttle bus will operate throughout the day from Sheffield Hallam City Campus – see website for details.

Find out more at http://www.sheffieldcareersfairs.ac.uk/recruitment-fairs/slf_13/visitors/

12.00- 13.00pm  – USA Summer Camp – USA Summercamp are coming in to talk to you about spending an amazing summer in the USA working at a summer camp. Whatever your passion is: Sport, Music, Performing Arts, Watersports, Arts & Crafts there is a place at camp for you. We also work with traditional summer camps, special needs camps, Christian camps & Jewish camps.

Thursday 21st November

Science Fair – Sheffield Universities Recruitment Fair – This fair is aimed at students wishing to persue a career in science.  We’re bringing you innovation, discovery, research, development and evolution all in one fair – we’re bringing you Sheffield’s Science Fair!

This is a unique event for undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as graduates who want a career in science. We’re bringing together a wide range of organisations covering pharmaceuticals, healthcare, oil, energy, environment, research and more, providing you with an overview of the career paths that you can take with a science degree. There will also be a programme of talks, led by industry professionals and careers advisers to help you get the most from the day.

A free shuttle bus will operate throughout the day from Sheffield Hallam City Campus – see website for details.

Find out more at http://www.sheffieldcareersfairs.ac.uk/recruitment-fairs/2013_science/visitors/

Friday 22nd November

11.00am – 12.00pm – IBM Graduate Scheme and work placement

12.30 – 1.30pm – IBM CV workshop

1.30 – 3.30pm – IBM Assessment Centre workshop

3.00 – 4.00pm – Using Social Media to find work – Do you know how you’re presenting yourself online? Is it aligned with how you want to be seen by others, including employers? if you’re interested in these questions, come along to this session to learn how to market yourself online. In this session, we will assess your current situation and help you decide what to do next to build a professional presence.


IBM and your 15 minutes to shine

“Hearing from our own graduates and placement students made all the difference”

If you’ve ever wondered what a selection event would be like, and what you need to do to impress the employers, yesterday was a chance to get some insider information.  Wednesday’s theme in the new centre was “what employers are looking for” and the sessions focussed on the IBM recruitment procedure and assessment centre experience for placement and graduate level posts.

Around 100 students came to the sessions which were led by one Hallam graduate and two of our placement students who are working for IBM. They’d all been successful at the selection event and came to share their experiences.

“What do I do if I’m overcome with nerves?” “What if someone takes over the group task and I can’t get a word in?”

were typical questions, and we’ve all seen this sort of thing on The Apprentice and wondered how we’d cope in those situations. The team offered some sage advice and took the students through a group task then offered some hints and tips on how to ‘shine’ when being observed participating in such a task.

It’s a highly competitive process for students wanting to work for this global employer who take around 250 students each year for their UK bases and offer them experience not just in programming, but in areas such as HR, sales, marketing and consulting. A couple of post-graduate students on the Enterprise System Professional course were there to hear more about possible careers in programming as were three second year software eningeers, Rowell, Brandon and Kyle. They all agreed the session had taken away the fear of the unknown.  Final year Business and Economics student, Keith, was impressed that current and recently graduated students led the session “this makes all the difference”, he said “seeing them up there thinking that could be me in a year or two. It makes me realised what I can achieve”.

Presenter Charlotte Stanbridge, who is three months into her one-year placement with IBM, said she welcomed the opportunity to come back to the University to speak to her peers, and as a bonus she got the chance to practise her presentations skills too!

So if you missed the session and would like to know more about this, or any other scheme, get in touch with the Careers and Employment service 0114 225 3752 and follow them on Twitter @SHUCareers.