Peter Baldwin (History 1991)

Culture of Giving Back Continues to Grow

The University’s Career Mentors come in many guises; teachers, scientists, bankers, marketers, charity workers, actors, engineers, entrepreneurs, civil servants, lawyers, consultants – the list goes on. But they all have one thing in common: a desire to help the next generation of students prepare for a rewarding life after graduation. Last academic year 250 alumni gave their time to scheme, with more than 315 alumni having been involved since the scheme started in 2008 with just 8 mentoring partnerships.

Peter Baldwin (History 1991), Partner, Ropers and Gray LLP has been part of the Career Mentor Scheme since 2010 and has just recently completed his seventh student mentoring partnership. His very first mentee, Natasha Bellinger (LLB Law 2011) is now working as a Barrister in Exeter for Magdalen Chambers. She now joins the scheme as a mentor herself and continues Exeter’s proud tradition of giving back.

Peter says ‘I’m thrilled…..It is fantastic that a talented graduate like Natasha, who has now become a successful barrister, is willing to give her time to the next generation of Exeter students.  Her combination of determination, perseverance and maturity will make her a wonderful mentor and I could not be more proud of her’.

Despite only graduating in 2011, Natasha has been supporting Exeter students for several years already, giving careers talks and supporting the University’s Pathways to Law outreach initiative aimed at sixth formers. She is excited about now getting involved as a mentor herself.

‘From the outset of the Scheme, I got to benefit from Peter’s knowledge, his skills and his understanding of my intended profession, which works alongside his. Peter was great at getting me to think about my career aspirations, adapt my applications and understand what future employers wanted.

The one thing that he did, which no one else seemed to do at the time, was prepare me for disappointment. The legal profession is highly competitive and obtaining pupillage is especially difficult.  At one stage after I had completed my Bar Course, I was feeling downhearted from making countless applications for pupillage to no avail despite getting interviews.  Alongside the pep talks he gave me, of which there were many over the years, he also grounded me and ensured I understood the importance of having a plan B. He was great at getting me to recognise what I had to offer, challenging and supporting me. 

Fortunately, plan A worked out well in the end. Those wise words, when you are at the very outset of your career or trying to break into that career, have such a positive impact.

I wanted to get involved as a mentor as soon as I could because of Peter and the positive experience that I had.  It made such a difference to me to have someone to bounce ideas with, talk frankly and ultimately someone who was helping me to guide my career development at a crucial stage.

Having Peter as my mentor was fantastic and I hope I am half as good at supporting and challenging my mentees as he was for me’.

Find out more about the Career Mentor Scheme online.

Date: 10 June 2016

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