Middlesex University, working in partnership with the FDA, has launched a pilot study that will see students from a wide range of backgrounds receive mentoring by senior public sector workers, boosting their chances of landing top graduate jobs.

The Public Sector Mentoring Scheme will see recent successful entrants on graduate schemes providing one-to-one support and mentoring for up to 60 Middlesex students, all with an interest in pursuing a career in the public sector.

Alongside the mentoring relationship, the scheme also includes a mock public sector-style assessment centre which will help prepare students for the application process used in many graduate schemes. Students will complete a variety of exercises modeled on the types of recruitment tests used in public sector assessment centres, and will receive feedback on their performance on the same day.

This innovative pilot scheme was conceived in partnership with the FDA, the union representing the UK’s senior public servants.

Middlesex is the first modern university to set up a cross-public sector mentoring scheme, covering not just the Civil Service, but the NHS and Local Government too, which will help ensure talent from a diverse range of backgrounds applies to these graduate entry schemes.

Julie Haddock-Millar, Middlesex University project lead and human resources development lecturer, said: “The mentors will have firsthand experience having gone through the public sector graduate schemes themselves, so will be able to share their experiences and provide our students with their unique perspective. This will give our students a better understanding of what skills they need for work and provide valuable advice in securing a top job.”

Middlesex’s Business School will provide training and development to the public sector mentors and the University’s mentees, enhancing the skills needed to develop the most effective mentor/mentee relationships.

Chris Park, who is leading on the work for the FDA along with her colleague Neil Rider, said “The FDA is delighted to have been able to bring this proposal to Middlesex and we are very enthusiastic about our partnership with the University. It is important to us that senior public servants (our members) are as representative of the communities they serve as possible. This initiative will contribute to that aim. We are especially glad that we have been able to persuade the Cabinet Office to support the work”