This case study describes a successful mentoring relationship from the perspective of both the mentor and the mentee.

Mehdi is a civil engineer from Iran with 11 years of experience working as a construction project manager in Iran and Iraq across different sectors. In 2020 he completed a master’s in project management in the UK but has struggled to find consistent, good quality work.

Mehdi got his first UK role contracting as an assistant construction manager and worked full time while completing his dissertation for his Master’s degree. After graduating it took Mehdi many months of searching to get his second UK construction industry job. In this new job, he was subject to racist and bullying behaviour and so he left after just two months. Mehdi continued with his job search but didn’t receive a single offer to interview. Instead he received automated responses along the lines of ‘Due to high volume of applications, we cannot proceed with your application’. In the absence of any feedback, Mehdi was at a loss what to do and his confidence was at an all-time low.

“I sent more than 50 online applications but, disappointingly, being a UK graduate and having around one year’s UK work experience couldn’t help me to land a job.”

The mentoring placement

Mehdi was introduced to Renaisi in May 2021 by a friend and very quickly after registering he was entered into a mentoring programme with Mott MacDonald. That’s when things really changed.

“Me and my mentor have regular connection and I have received lots of worthy help, including writing cover letters and revising my CV, reviewing my working history, finding the best search criteria for a job that suits me in UK construction, and preparing for job interviews.”

Mehdi, mentee

Clare, Mehdi’s mentor listened to his experiences and gave her opinion of how to interpret the behaviours he had experienced, asked questions about his aims, responded to questions about how to approach job opportunities and options. Clare also reviewed and helped him to revise his CV and cover letter.

“I felt a sense of responsibility as the other person has so much at stake but noting that, I would recommend others to take part.”

Clare, mentor

While Mehdi was meeting with Clare, he applied for a Project Manager role in the rail sector at Mott MacDonald and after a successful interview, got the job!

“I can confirm that without all the support I received from my Renaisi case worker and my mentor, I could not pass this step successfully to get my favourite job.“

Mehdi, mentee

Clare and Mehdi plan to continue their online sessions to discuss the details of the job and how Mehdi can prepare himself for the new responsibilities.

Outcomes of the mentoring relationship

One of the major outcomes for Mehdi is that he has expanded his professional network and is now in a position to introduce fellow refugees to Renaisi so that they too can benefit from our support and the opportunities we broker with employers like Mott Macdonald.

“Now I have my mentor as a professional consultant with many years of experience working in Mott MacDonald who will help me to understand the values of the company and develop my abilities to take the next steps toward my targets for the future. The job I landed recently was not offered by Mott MacDonald as a result of the mentoring programme but, I’m in no doubt, Renaisi and the mentoring programme have had an outstanding role in the process of application.”

Mehdi, mentee

For Clare, the high points were hearing how the support had made a difference and feels she learned a lot herself.

“It has been a privilege to have this contact. I have learned how many things we see as a ‘standard’ approach when they are in reality, just a British way of doing things.”

If you are interested in restarting the careers of refugee professionals and accessing an untapped talent pool get in touch with Hannah Brooke, Sector Engagement Manager.

Hannah Brooke