BPS Mentoring Service
Connecting members to support the professional development of psychologists across their career lifespan.
What is the BPS Mentoring Service?
The BPS Mentoring Service is a free member benefit.
Using our online mentoring platform, the service connects members who want to volunteer to either be mentors with members looking for career support, or be mentored themselves.
The service aims to deepen understanding of what it means to work in psychology within a particular field or specialism.
All schemes within the mentoring service consider the particular challenges facing certain groups and are particularly encouraged to address the need for greater diversity within psychology.
What does the BPS Mentoring Service offer?
- Create supportive and learning communities
- Identify needs of members at a key point in their careers with specific development aims
- Discuss members’ aspirations, career progression and professional development
- Create a safe and individualistic space to discuss the management of work/team politics
- Discuss issues of diversity and their impact on professional development
What is mentoring?
The term “mentoring” describes a range of professional and personal development interactions.
There’s often confusion between mentoring and coaching, to the extent that they may often be used interchangeably.
For our purposes, we’re considering mentoring to be a professional relationship between two or more people that supports reflection, career planning and personal development.
This takes place through conversations over a pre-determined timescale, that can be extended or reduced by agreement.
Benefits of mentoring
The mentoring process is a learning experience for both mentor and mentee. Some benefits include:
- Opportunities for reflection on personal and professional development
- Reviewing career goals and challenges
- Working out how to overcome barriers to achieve aspirations
- Providing insight into new areas of work
- Providing a voice of experience for mentees
- A chance to give something back to mentees
Mentors on schemes that are running as part of the BPS Mentoring Service can’t be paid for their contribution.
We hope that being a mentor will be reward enough in itself, and the training and support provided offers valuable professional development opportunities.
How can I take part?
All mentors and mentees must be members of the BPS.
Student Members aren’t able to take part in the current mentoring schemes as we’re developing specific services for students - so keep an eye out for more information soon!
If you’re a Student Member looking for support, we recommend that you reach out to the Careers and Employability services within your place of education.
Individual mentoring schemes may have additional eligibility requirements. These could include membership of a Branch or other network, or occupation in a particular role or setting.
Please see our "Current schemes" tab for more information on how to take part.
What sort of mentoring is currently available?
The BPS mentoring schemes set clear goals for their participants.
Their effectiveness is regularly reviewed to continuously develop the scheme.
- South West Branch Coaching and Mentoring schemeThe scheme, led by Dawn Gosden, is designed to support South West Psychologists with their career development.
- Division of Clinical Psychology mentorship schemeThe scheme, led by Tim Cate, aims to increase effective and strategic leadership activity for clinical psychologists while also taking into account the particular challenges for under-represented groups.
- Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology early career programmeLed by Leigh-Martin and Ryan Pelling, this programme for early career practitioners in sport and exercise psychology is currently in its pilot phase.
Looking to develop a new mentoring scheme?
Each mentoring scheme has a named Scheme Leader who is responsible for running the mentoring scheme.
The act as point of contact both for scheme participants and for the society’s careers team.
Schemes may have a small group of colleagues supporting the Scheme Leader in their role.
Scheme Leaders must be members of the society. We aim to represent the full diversity of our membership.
Aspiring Scheme Leaders should contact the careers team to discuss starting a scheme.
Having the support of a steering group and/or member network is helpful to ensure the successful launch and viability of a new scheme.
Formal applications to start a new scheme must be made on the BPS Mentoring Service application form.
Applications will be discussed at a Scheme Leader network event. This means that we can provide full and constructive feedback to ensure that new schemes are launched with the best chances of success.
About the role
We don’t expect aspiring Scheme Leaders to have experience in running a mentoring scheme.
However we’d expect experience of being in a mentoring relationship, ideally both as mentor and mentee.
Scheme Leaders do need to have insight into what makes mentoring successful, and the issues that can arise in mentoring relationships.
Scheme leader responsibilities include:
- Designing the scheme to meet the stated aims
- Preparing guidance for mentors and mentees
- Overseeing mentor availability and preparation
- Overseeing mentee engagement
- Facilitating a mentor community
- Acting as, or identifying, a first point of contact for the scheme
- Responding to queries within an agreed timescale
- Managing mentor/mentee relationship challenges
- Reporting any data beaches immediately to the careers team in line with legislation
- Monitoring and evaluating the scheme
- Contributing to the development of the BPS Mentoring Service
Scheme Leaders will be expected to show how they can commit the time for the scheme to be successful.
If the scheme is being run on behalf of a network, the network may choose to pay the Scheme Leader for their time, in alignment with BPS financial regulations.