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Sgoil Cheumnaichean Saidheans Sòisealta na h-Alba

Career Orientated Training

SGSSS supports students to develop skills that will be useful for academic and non-academic careers.

SGSSS Career Pathways Mentoring Scheme

We are recruiting PhD researchers to take part in a brand new mentoring programme that will support you to expand your options and networks for post-PhD careers.  

The SGSSS Career Pathways Mentoring Scheme aims to increase the knowledge and capability of social science doctoral students to engage with business, by pairing researchers with a PhD graduate who has succeeded in making the transition to a successful business career – or who has substantial experience building academic collaborations with business. 

Selected mentees will each have the opportunity to work one-to-one with a mentor, and to set and work towards their own objectives for mentoring. Mentees are proactive in the mentoring partnership: they set objectives for their own learning, lead the agenda for the one-to-one sessions and decide how best to use their time.  

What is mentoring? Mentoring is a learning relationship that includes elements of listening, advising, planning, challenge, support and sharing experience. In this programme mentoring can be understood as: “A confidential active learning process whereby an experienced, empathic person (the mentor) facilitates the development of another individual (the mentee). 

The pilot programme is open to ESRC-funded second and third year PhD researchers, AND/OR PhD students who have completed an internship through SGSSS in the last year. To express an interest in taking part, please complete the 5 minute Expression of Interest Form by Friday 19 February. Mentees will be selected by Friday 26 February and the programme begins with a compulsory welcome workshop on Thursday 11 or Tuesday 16 March. 

Who are the Mentors? All the mentors are PhD graduatesThey will have experience working in or with the private sector, and therefore have direct experience of both academic and private sector career pathways and environments. They have volunteered their time to support current SGSSS PhD researchers and have been trained in mentoring skills.  

How does it work? Following a short Welcome Workshop facilitated by Dr Kay Guccione (Independent Researcher Mentoring Consultant), mentors and mentees will be matched together. Once pairs are matched mentoring proceeds as a series of confidential conversations. We recommend around 4 ~1h conversations over the 6-month programme. 

How long does it take? The total time commitment for the 6-month programme is 8h. This includes the Welcome Workshop (90min), the mentoring meetings (4h on a one-to-one basis, plus a 90min ‘Meet the Mentors’ coffee morning), and all associated paperwork (1h). 

Still unsure? The general anticipated benefits to mentees are: 

  1. An opportunity to learn how different organisations work, the research they do, and the people they recruit, along with an understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities of a range of role types. 
  2. Dedicated time to focus on career options and planning with access to a knowledgeable sounding board for testing out ideas. 
  3. Increased professional networks and points of contact via the mentor, and the other mentees and mentors in the programme cohort. 
  4. Increased self-awareness, awareness of the transferability of research skills, and confidence in joining new work environments. 

To ask questions please contact the Programme Managers: Dr Anna-Marie Linnell and Michael Gray – 


The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) runs a professional internship scheme for PhD students at Scotland’s universities in their second and third years of study. PhD internships enable organisations to access the talent of an early career social science researcher for a three-month period to deliver a specific piece of work whilst developing a range of transferable skills for our researchers.