15 communities in Tanzania benefit from our

19 Dec 12

TIME WITH restless development

Mel Punton had just finished her Masters in Poverty and Development after some work experience in fundraising.  Stuart Matheson is a Civil Servant who has lots of experience volunteering and has worked within Defra before moving to work at the Scottish Office, who’s role is to represent Scotland’s interest’s to the UK government.  Mel and Stuart had monthly skype and phone meetings as part of the mentoring scheme.  Mel was accepted onto the Department for International Development (DFID) graduate scheme, and was able to receive advice from Stuart while applying for the competitive scheme.

Mel was a team leader in Nepal in 2011 before going on to do her Masters. She felt she had a clear idea for what she wanted to do but wanted someone to give her pointers on what it’s like to work in the development sector. She also thought that it would be helpful to be in touch with someone who had experience in the voluntary sector and be able to establish a contact somewhere similar to where she wanted to work.

Stuart volunteered in Tanzania in 2006 to 2007. Stuart applied to be a mentor as he thought that in today’s workplace it is important to have managing skills, which the mentoring scheme helps develop, as well as communication skills. When he heard about the scheme he thought it was a really good concept and a really interesting way for Alumni to get involved.

Mentoring relationship

Mel was living in Brighton at the time of the mentoring relationship to complete her masters and Stuart lives in Edinburgh. Therefore it was difficult for them to meet face to face. However, they had regular Skype calls for the duration of the mentoring and communicated through email as well.  They adapted the schemes suggested structure to their own needs, and were clear on their roles from the start. As Mel had developed an idea of her career goals, they decided to focus on specific topics that would help her achieve those goals. Stuart was able to provide tailored advice for what she needed and Mel knows that this definitely helped with her application to DFID.


The most obvious success is that that Stuart was able to help Mel get onto the DfID graduate scheme, but they both benefited in other ways as well.

Stuart feels that the mentoring scheme has helped him develop the way he communicates and passes on information.  It has also added to his managing experience.

Mel will now gain experience in a role that she really wanted.  The mentoring scheme helped her develop a specific root onto the career that she was after and felt it was really useful to have someone to bounce ideas off, especially someone who’s job is quit relevant to her own. 

“It was great meeting Stuart, and the support he gave me was instrumental in me getting a job I really wanted.  I would definitely encourage anyone job-hunting or looking for a change of career to get involved in the mentoring scheme.”


If you want more information on the scheme and how to apply, please get in touch on alumni@restlessdevelopment.org.


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