Accessibility navigation

Career Mentoring in Higher Education: Exploring Mentoring and Employability Gains Across Different Social Groups

Lyden, T. (2021) Career Mentoring in Higher Education: Exploring Mentoring and Employability Gains Across Different Social Groups. PhD thesis, University of Reading

Text (Redacted) - Thesis
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.

[img] Text - Thesis
· Restricted to Repository staff only

[img] Text - Thesis Deposit Form
· Restricted to Repository staff only


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00103046


Investing in undergraduate career mentoring in UK Higher Education (HE) requires evidence that it develops employability. This research evaluated the differences, if any, in the perceived short-term benefits (or otherwise) of career mentoring for mentees from different socioeconomic backgrounds who were participating in a mentoring scheme. The research explored what facilitates or inhibits the perceived success of career mentoring of the dyad by combining Social Reproduction and Selfefficacy as two opposing, but jointly elucidating, theories. Wraparound surveys of participants in an Institution’s year-long scheme, gathered perceived changes to six aspects of employability and multiple linear regression calculated whether socioeconomic status (SES) predicted any differences, with the model combining SES, gender and ethnicity. Semi-structured interviews with 12 purposively sampled mentors and mentees were thematically analysed to explore diverse influences. Results showed that tangible gains in labour market knowledge, work exposure and ease of professional interaction were comparable across social groups. However, low SES mentees gained more self-belief in their ability to gain graduate level employment, with SES explaining 11.5% of the difference, suggesting additional forces at play. Mean rank differences in career clarity gains were also statistically significant to the benefit of low SES mentees. Interviews suggested that SES influences mentoring in various ways. Similarity seems important in most but not all, highly successful relationships, by supporting identification which enables career identity refinement. This confirms that mentor-mentee similarity is not essential to increase self-efficacy. Interviews indicate that similarity is not necessarily based on demographics. Habitus seems to loosely constrain the degree of intended social mobility through partial identification, heightened by feelings of inauthenticity and unease. Social capital seems effective across social groups but may rely on shared interests in the reputation of the ‘alma mater’. A model of career mentoring in HE supports pragmatic generalisation for scheme organisers with policy and practice recommendations informed by an awareness that optimisation and mentoring conceptualisation requires a balanced focus across individual, interpersonal, institutional and societal influences.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Fuller, C.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:103046


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation