News

Student Services launches peer mentor recruitment campaign

21/04/2021

Calling all IT Carlow students! Are you interested in helping our new first year students find their way?

IT Carlow Student Services has launched a campaign to appoint peer mentors for the autumn term. Peer mentoring is a form of mentorship between a person who has lived through a specific experience and a person who is new to that experience. Working in pairs, the peer mentors will be a knowledgeable guide for new students by providing a friendly face, a listening ear and help them engage with each other and develop a sense of belonging at IT Carlow.

David Denieffe, Vice-President for Academic Affairs commented, “One of the greatest threats of the global pandemic has been to relationships and community. Without classes, clubs and study groups, college students lack the usual points of social connection. Alongside this, students, particularly first years, can be shy in admitting challenges to their lecturers. Peer mentorship is a great solution to this as it provides a support network in which every student is empowered to form the relationships they need to build resilience, self-efficacy and a sense of belonging. US alumni research shows that graduates are twice as likely to be engaged at work if they had a mentor in college who encouraged them. At IT Carlow, we see peer mentorship as a pillar of our student success strategy”.

Introduced for the first time last year, the IT Carlow peer mentorship proved to be a huge help for transitioning first year students into college life. Rosemary Flynn, Head of Student Services said, “Peer mentoring really helped the current first years settle in. The new students liked being able to get advice and tips from a fellow student. Our current peer mentors say they found it very fulfilling and it is a fact that being a mentor impresses employers as it shows the calibre of potential employees as they look to recruit people of integrity who are seen to ‘give back’.”

Working with a partner, peer mentors will have a member of Student Services or the sports office as a support programme leader and are given full training. Following this, peer mentors are allocated a group of first year students to mentor for the first and second terms, which will be undertaken online or in person, depending on the current pandemic restrictions.

Current peer mentor Hannah Murphy commented, “I have really enjoyed the past number of months working as a peer mentor for the international students at IT Carlow. Being a peer mentor means I am a student who can help other students navigate through the challenges they may be facing in college and someone they can turn to for support. We had catch-ups via Zoom where we often played virtual games and had quiz nights. This was extremely beneficial as it allowed students to meet other students where they would not have been able to under normal circumstances because of the COVID-19 Pandemic".

For further information on the IT Carlow peer-led mentor initiative, and to apply, email peersupport@itcarlow.ie or visit https://www.itcarlow.ie/student-life/student-services/peer-mentoring.htm

Pictured with Mary Boylan, Peer Mentor Support Officer, IT Carlow (far left) are current peer mentors (l-r): Stephen Fitzgerald; Daiva Paulauskaite; Hannah Murphy; Christopher Parle and Claudette Moore.