HESPA Mentoring

We pair mentors with mentees to develop specific areas of expertise related to strategy and planning


What is it?

The HESPA Mentoring scheme is open to all HESPA members and aims to pair mentors with mentees to develop specific areas of expertise related to strategy and planning. A key objective of the scheme is to support members and help them to develop and achieve specific goals which they set for themselves. In the majority of matches, it is envisaged that mentors and mentees will be from different institutions. This also helps to encourage cross-sector networking and engagement, another key objective of the scheme.


Scheme objectives

  • Career development – supporting members in setting and meeting their career goals by building confidence and developing or improving new capabilities.
  • Succession planning – helping to develop emerging leaders from our membership through shared experience and skills development.
  • Raising environmental awareness – enabling the sharing of valuable information about the sector and the expectations of those working in strategy and planning roles within it.
  • Connecting people – providing a platform via which our community of members can build stronger networks and support one another.
  • Building critical friendships – promoting a healthy culture of open and constructive feedback to drive successful working practices for the benefit of the sector.


Who can participate?

Anyone can be a mentor if they have skills to pass on, with the only requirements being to have the time and commitment to participate. Mentees can be any HESPA member who would find it useful to have a neutral mentor who can help them achieve specific objectives that they set for themselves. It is also completely possible to sign up as both a mentor and a mentee, offering support and guidance on areas of expertise that you possess, and seeking the same from others on areas you wish to develop.


How does it work?

The scheme is centrally managed and administered by HESPA via a software platform called SUMAC. Users sign up by completing a sign-up form on our in-house developed SUMAC site. The system uses an algorithm to match partners, based on their preferences. Mentees are then contacted about potential matches and can accept or decline. If they accept, the mentor is contacted and informed that a match has been made. The onus is on the mentee to make the first contact and complete the Mentoring Contract (see below), which must then be agreed and signed by both parties before the first meeting takes place. Bother partners must also sign a Confidentiality Agreement.

A HESPA Mentoring Handbook and Code of Conduct are also available and both mentors and mentees should read these in full to ensure they understand the scheme and what is expected of them and their partner.


More information and resources

HESPA Mentoring Handbook

This is a handy guide for all users of the scheme, whether mentor, mentee, or both. It provides information about what mentoring is and isn’t, why HESPA is running a scheme, objectives of the scheme, what to expect, guidance for mentors and mentees, common dilemmas, complaints procedures, key scheme documents, contacts and FAQs.

Download the handbook

HESPA Mentoring Code of Conduct

This document states how mentors and mentees should behave in relation to certain things. It contains information and guidance on agendas, roles, confidentiality, privacy, relevance, responsibilities, boundaries, protocols, openness, respect, time and finish.

Download the code

HESPA Mentoring Confidentiality Agreement

The purpose of this document, which is signed by users of the scheme when a match is made, is to protect both the mentor and mentee from a breach in confidentiality during the mentoring process.

Download the agreement

HESPA Mentoring Contract

This contract captures information how the partnership will operate, including: goals, steps to achieving them, meeting information (frequency, duration, location), confidentiality, plans for evaluating the effectiveness of the relationship, termination details and steps to achieving goals. The form is developed by the mentee initially and agreed and signed by both parties (taking into account any amends before signing).

Download the contract


Joining the scheme

If you have read the resources and are ready to sign up as a mentor, a mentee, or both, please register:

HESPA Mentoring Platform

Once your registration has been submitted, you will receive an acknowledgement email from SUMAC.  If you don’t see anything in your usual inbox, please check your Junk mail and then select 'Never block sender's domain' to ensure you always receive further messages from the system.

Remember that it is the mentee's responsibility to arrange meetings with their mentor, approximately once a month, and are encouraged to meet in a neutral, private space, either face-to-face or virtually.

Don't forget, if you have any queries, please send them to



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