In June, members of the Alumni Advisory Panel 2021-2023 were invited to take part in a scoping activity and review of the CSC Mentoring Programme, as part of ongoing developments to this activity.

CSC Mentoring Programme

The CSC Mentoring Programme connects Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni to support knowledge and skills development and a practical understanding of how these can be implemented post-scholarship to achieve development impact. The CSC pairs new Commonwealth Scholars with a Commonwealth Alumnus working in a related or relevant field to their studies to provide individual advice and guidance during their scholarship.

The programme is now in its fourth year and the CSC has identified several areas for development to enhance the value of mentoring between Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni. Based on feedback from previous participants, areas for development include: understanding the value of the mentoring offer; ensuring adequate information is provided; reviewing the programme timeline; ensuring post-scholarship effectiveness and potential; and widening programme access.

Panel insights

Members of the Alumni Advisory Panel were asked to review the existing CSC Mentoring Programme and offer ideas and feedback for how it might be developed under the five areas referenced. Panel members were also asked to consider the value of a mentoring programme to Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni, drawing on any experiences of the existing CSC mentoring offer and/or other mentoring programmes.

All 98 panel members were invited to take part in the activity and 49 shared feedback via online survey and/or a Focus Group Discussion, a response rate of 50%.

You can read the full report on the responses gathered which will be used to advise future developments on the CSC website. Key insights are listed below:

  • Participating panel members reported that current resources, induction sessions, and virtual meet-ups were comprehensive and provided adequate support for participants
  • It was recommended that communications about the programme be updated to better promote application opportunities and share testimonials from previous participants
  • It was also recommended that further information on unsuccessful pairings be shared to support participants in understanding this possible outcome of their application/participation, as well as more support on difficulties which may be encountered during the programme
  • There were mixed responses from respondents on the timing of the programme, with respondents suggesting pairing applicants both before commencing studies and following the commencement studies would provide the greatest value to participants
  • Those with experience as distance learners felt opportunities for Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholars should be provided through an adapted mentoring programme to take into consideration the different needs of these Scholars

Thank you to all panel members who took part in this scoping exercise.

About the CSC’s Alumni Advisory Panel

The CSC’s Alumni Advisory Panel provides a platform for Commonwealth Alumni to support the future of the programme and its Scholars by sharing personal insight and expertise to contribute to the development of CSC activities. Panel members are appointed for a two-year term and represent the multitude of knowledge and expertise within the CSC alumni community, with members selected from across the Commonwealth and CSC Scholarship and Fellowship schemes.

You can find out more about the panel on the CSC website.