Specialist Mentoring

What is Specialist Mentoring?

A Specialist Mentor provides tailored one-to-one support for students with autism and certain mental health conditions. The role of the mentor is to enable you to recognise the barriers to learning, empower you to develop strategies that will manage your wellbeing, and meet your academic and personal goals.

What happens at a mentoring session?

Mentoring sessions are collaborative and will provide you with the opportunity to discuss issues or concerns and to explore support strategies to overcome them. The sessions are a dedicated, focused time to consider your needs while at university.

Your needs will inevitably change over the duration of your course so you and your mentor will regularly review action plans and goals, as well as review your progress, to keep track of your objectives.

Mentoring sessions are for you to use should you need them; so you will discuss with your mentor how frequently you would like the sessions and whether you need any breaks in support.

Examples of the specialist support provided includes:

  • Enabling you to manage your wellbeing
  • Developing tailored strategies
  • Building your resilience through exploring a range of psychoeducational informed tools
  • Emotional support with a focus on facilitating the growth of emotional awareness and utilising wellbeing strategies
  • Organisation, time-management, and prioritising
  • Working on your confidence and self-esteem
  • Developing your motivation and morale
  • Establishing a study/work/life balance
  • Establishing and maintaining your social skills
  • Signposting to appropriate services internally and externally
  • Enabling you to advocate for yourself

Meeting your mentor

You will be contacted by a mentor as soon as your funding body approves the fixed number of sessions and these details are passed to our services. The first meeting with your mentor will be an introduction to mentoring and to establish what support needs you require.

Developing a good working rapport with your mentor is important especially as you may use the service long term, therefore we try to find a good match as it must work for both you and the mentor. This can be something that you and your mentor discuss and you may be able to change mentors if you find that you are not a good fit.

Please be aware, like many of the other services, we will have busier times and there may be a waiting list. You will still be able to access other services that might help during this period.

Am I eligible for a Specialist Mentor?

Specialist Mentoring is typically funded by the DSA (Disabled Students' Allowance). This is a non-means tested source of funding from the relevant funding body (e.g. Student Finance Wales) and you will be allocated a certain number of hours per year.

If you have not already applied for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) and think you may be eligible, you can find more information on the USW Disability Service website. The form and more information can be found on the DSA website.

International students or UK students who do not qualify for Disabled Students' Allowance may also be able to access mentoring. You can contact the Disability Service and make an appointment to see an Adviser to discuss this. To maximise accessibility for as many students as possible, we must limit the number of mentoring sessions available each year