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Altered positions: a study on the expectations and experiences of career mentoring in higher education

Altered positions: a study on the expectations and experiences of career mentoring in higher education
Altered positions: a study on the expectations and experiences of career mentoring in higher education
This thesis investigates a specific instance of mentoring offered to final year HE design students in order to propose that ‘readiness for mentoring’ is a theory worthy of expansion and that this expansion can add to the field of knowledge on mentoring. The Design Buddy mentoring scheme, created by the South West Design Forum, uses local creative arts business volunteers as mentors who are paired with design students by course tutors. It is important to note that this thesis does not offer a critique of the Design Buddy scheme, but rather uses in-depth interviews with four participating students to interrogate their expectations and experiences of career mentoring.

In order to understand how the individual combines their expectations for the future with past experiences to develop an idea of career, the literature on career identity construction was interrogated. The literature and the findings of this thesis support the concept, that in shaping a career identity, the career holder also develops a parallel readiness for experiencing career events. The concept of readiness was developed further, in relation to creative arts career mentoring, specifically in order to understand how the experiences and expectations of the individual student impacted on mentoring. A qualitative research instrument, using semi-structured interviews and hand drawn concept mapping was deployed to enable a fluid and creative way of capturing students’ views of career and of mentoring. An interpretative paradigm, able to accommodate multiple and divergent results, was systematically applied to code all the interview data. The aspiration of the research design was to bridge the tension between empiricist and interpretive approaches to research.

The findings of the thesis established several preconditions that contribute positively to an individual’s readiness for mentoring. In brief, these preconditions address the appropriateness of the timing of mentoring and of the mentor, the need for realistic expectations on the part of the student and the student’s previous experiences of mentoring as well as the level of their vocational connection. These preconditions are presented within a new mentoring readiness framework, designed as a qualitative tool, against which to measure a protégé’s readiness for mentoring.

Although these preconditions for mentoring evolved out of the unique circumstances surrounding creative arts students, it is proposed that the mentoring readiness tool is open to wider testing. Used more broadly the tool could enable an extension of knowledge in mentoring research projects or the design of mentoring schemes within other disciplines. More importantly, it may also give a means of assessing individual readiness so that a potential protégé can be given strategic and directed support to make the most of mentoring as a career intervention.
Hayton, Kavita
1e385d3d-8dd6-4ac5-82ac-1912a4b165e9
Hayton, Kavita
1e385d3d-8dd6-4ac5-82ac-1912a4b165e9
Lumby, Jacky
83299e7c-1819-47aa-8971-76f4a7a62bb5

Hayton, Kavita (2014) Altered positions: a study on the expectations and experiences of career mentoring in higher education. University of Southampton, Southampton Education School, Doctoral Thesis, 434pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis investigates a specific instance of mentoring offered to final year HE design students in order to propose that ‘readiness for mentoring’ is a theory worthy of expansion and that this expansion can add to the field of knowledge on mentoring. The Design Buddy mentoring scheme, created by the South West Design Forum, uses local creative arts business volunteers as mentors who are paired with design students by course tutors. It is important to note that this thesis does not offer a critique of the Design Buddy scheme, but rather uses in-depth interviews with four participating students to interrogate their expectations and experiences of career mentoring.

In order to understand how the individual combines their expectations for the future with past experiences to develop an idea of career, the literature on career identity construction was interrogated. The literature and the findings of this thesis support the concept, that in shaping a career identity, the career holder also develops a parallel readiness for experiencing career events. The concept of readiness was developed further, in relation to creative arts career mentoring, specifically in order to understand how the experiences and expectations of the individual student impacted on mentoring. A qualitative research instrument, using semi-structured interviews and hand drawn concept mapping was deployed to enable a fluid and creative way of capturing students’ views of career and of mentoring. An interpretative paradigm, able to accommodate multiple and divergent results, was systematically applied to code all the interview data. The aspiration of the research design was to bridge the tension between empiricist and interpretive approaches to research.

The findings of the thesis established several preconditions that contribute positively to an individual’s readiness for mentoring. In brief, these preconditions address the appropriateness of the timing of mentoring and of the mentor, the need for realistic expectations on the part of the student and the student’s previous experiences of mentoring as well as the level of their vocational connection. These preconditions are presented within a new mentoring readiness framework, designed as a qualitative tool, against which to measure a protégé’s readiness for mentoring.

Although these preconditions for mentoring evolved out of the unique circumstances surrounding creative arts students, it is proposed that the mentoring readiness tool is open to wider testing. Used more broadly the tool could enable an extension of knowledge in mentoring research projects or the design of mentoring schemes within other disciplines. More importantly, it may also give a means of assessing individual readiness so that a potential protégé can be given strategic and directed support to make the most of mentoring as a career intervention.

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Published date: May 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Southampton Education School

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367990
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367990
PURE UUID: 2ea90c44-829e-4ddf-b4e4-6d6d26cfeec3

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Date deposited: 24 Oct 2014 10:51
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 01:52

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