Reciprocal mentoring programme

This is an unprecedented opportunity for individuals from across the University from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds to work with senior colleagues in a partnership.

We are recruiting staff from Professional Services and Academic roles who identify as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic to participate in a Reciprocal Mentoring programme as mentors.

The University of Bristol’s pilot Reciprocal Mentoring programme will pair staff from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds with White senior colleagues to provide insight into the lived experience and understanding of barriers encountered by BAME staff.

The reciprocal nature of the programme will provide BAME staff with the opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge and networks through the mentorship of their partner.


Information on the Reciprocal Mentoring Programme

About the programme

The aim of the programme is to give White staff in leadership roles greater insight into the lived experience and development needs of BAME colleagues whilst offering a mutually beneficial mentoring partnership. Participants will be equal partners, each taking on the role of both mentor and mentee.

The Reciprocal Mentoring programme will take place over six months with formal support, training and facilitation. However, participants will have the opportunity to self-direct the content of their mentoring sessions to make it as relevant and meaningful as possible.

What are the time commitments?

Participants would need to be able to commit to:

  • Two development sessions (Wednesday 30 June 2021 between 9:30 am and 11:30 am and Tuesday 6 July 2021 between 2 pm and 4 pm)
  • Four one-hour mentoring sessions over a six-month period (dates to be arranged by mentoring pairs)
  • One mid-way review session (Thursday 7 October 2021 between 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm)

Information session

To find out more about the Reciprocal Mentoring programme please watch the recording of the Information Session we held on Thursday 27 May 2021.

What is reciprocal mentoring?

It is a development intervention that stems from the models of traditional mentoring but is not the same. The pairs are equal partners in the process of learning and the relationship is reciprocal.

The approach aims to focus on systemic change as well as at an individual level. It is about creating genuine understanding of each other’s lived experiences and to connect with each other to create trust for working together as partners.

It won’t always be comfortable. It will require the participants to start on a journey of exploration and commitment for change.

Benefits for the mentors (individuals from a BAME background)

  • Building a partnership with someone at a senior level
  • Opportunity to tap into the experience of their partner, for example: lessons learned, possible openings for networking and shadowing in order to progress development, raise their profile and maybe accelerate their career aspirations
  • Insight into senior level activities and the ways in which politics and power works
  • Insight into the ways in which power works at a conscious and unconscious level
  • Greater awareness of self and organisational systems through the relationship that is formed
  • Confidence in talking to and challenging power and influencing peers within their own networks

Benefits for the mentees (senior leaders)

  • Challenge from a different perspective
  • Increased understanding of the ways in which their behaviours, beliefs, policies and practices impacts upon the lived experience of people within the University
  • Confidence in challenging beliefs and behaviours with peers and influencing decision making
  • Motivating others to take action that would make a change for individuals from BAME backgrounds.


Mentor sign up

Please complete the application form by Monday 7 June 2021.

I hope that this Reciprocal Mentoring scheme will help to create a more inclusive organisation where the power of difference is recognised, respected and valued. I am very much looking forward to taking part.

Prof. Judith Squires - Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost and Co-chair of the Anti-Racism Steering Group

Photo of Jane Khawaja – Interim GW4 Director, Co-chair Anti-Racism Steering Group, Staff member of the Board of Trustees

I fully support the Reciprocal Mentoring Programme which aims to enable individual as well as systemic transformation and I am delighted that members of the University’s senior management team have volunteered to be mentees. I see this as a way to build on the work of our Anti-Racism Steering Group, to create a culture of diversity, equality and inclusion, where our differences are respected and valued, our biases are challenged and systemic barriers are dismantled. As equal partners Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues and senior colleagues will share and understand the lived experiences of each other, as well as share skills, knowledge and networks, enabling each other to champion change, influence peers and inform decision making through our University, together.

Jane Khawaja – Interim GW4 Director, Co-chair Anti-Racism Steering Group, Staff member of the Board of Trustees

Mentoring resources

Link to mentoring resources.

Wellbeing resources

Please use the resources we've listed to help look after yourself and your colleagues.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the programme you can contact