Supporting work-based mentors; finding solutions to the current issues that surround mentorship in Foundation Degrees

  • Michael James Farquharson

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


The aim of this study was to identify the challenges of mentoring within the Foundation Degree arena, by exploring collected data and using the identified gaps found in literature. Whilst there was no newly defined evidence, there was a new approach and a clearer understanding of the issues that surround mentoring within Foundation Degrees and therein the opportunity to affect structural and valuable change to the support process for both mentor and vicariously the mentee.

A mixed method approach was employed to collect and analyse data. All participants were involved in mentorship within a Foundation Degree programme. Initially a qualitative approach was used in the form of focus groups; they defined perceptions of mentorship locally. There were three focus groups, university staff, Foundation Degree students and nursing mentors. The initial comparisons helped fuel the debate and provided a deeper comprehension, into the identified issues that surrounded Foundation Degree mentorship. Through the focus groups key themes were identified ‘Participants’ definition of mentorship’, ‘Mentorship expectation ‘Responsibilities and support’. Detecting these themes focused the study and helped to identify the role of Foundation Degree mentors in areas such as specific mentorship characteristics and components of the role. The themes were then used to formulate a questionnaire. One hundred participants contributed to the findings, demonstrating key elements, such as assessments, knowledge, relationships and skills.

The study was able to identify key areas to improve mentorship support mechanisms within Foundation Degrees. The findings do allow the opportunity to develop identifiable structure which gives the Foundation Degree mentorship process direction and therefore a more credible chance of effectiveness. The links and involvement of Higher Educational institutions, employers and students creates a more cohesive approach and adds to the success of the improved understanding and outcomes highlighted in the role of mentorship.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
  • Buckinghamshire New University
SupervisorKeiran Henderson (Supervisor) & Maurice Gledhill (Supervisor)


  • Mentoring in education

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