News August 2020

Mentoring update from a Robertson Scholar

This Q&A with Robertson Scholar Katie Gibson gives a glimpse of her relationship with her mentor on our Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Career Pathway.

Katie's FCDO mentor, Sapphire LeSage, has provided her with advice and guidance throughout her final year of study. Katie recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc in Statistics.

How do you and your mentor stay in touch?

We have emailed a couple of times within the space of a few months. My mentor is always very good at replying quickly. We also spoke over the phone twice. We were able to talk about specific things I had questions about.

It also helped me as I felt that we had a better relationship after speaking on the phone. Doing so also made me realise that although my mentor is very professional, she is also a normal person just like me. She comes from a very similar background, which really helped with my confidence and career aspirations.

How helpful has your mentoring relationship been so far?

It’s been very helpful. Sapphire has helped me to build my confidence and has made me realise that with preparation I could get a job that I really wanted. Although I'm not going to be working with the civil service, I have secured a job working alongside the public sector doing something I really care about.

Sapphire assisted me at a crucial time. Even though she had a busy schedule she was always very punctual in replying to me and staying in touch. She also helped me to prepare a professional presentation for my assessment centre in March, which meant that I felt fully prepared. 

Have you encountered any challenges maintaining the mentoring relationship?  

I was slightly nervous upon first emailing my mentor as the idea of speaking to someone with so much more knowledge and experience was slightly daunting and I wanted to present myself in the best way possible. However, Sapphire was very welcoming and helpful from the very start, so I wouldn't say we encountered any challenges. 

Have you been in touch with your mentor since the beginning of lockdown? I emailed my mentor a couple of weeks into lockdown where I informed her that I had got the job that she had helped me with. She has offered to help me with any questions I may have going into the career, which I am very appreciative of.  I'm very grateful for all the help the trust and my mentor have given me!