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Because mentoring can really help you...

Earlier this year, Newcastle University’s flagship networking and mentoring platform, NCL spark, launched with flying colours allowing our alumni and students to connect with each other wherever they are in the world.

NCL spark’s mentoring programme has proven to be a huge success. Since launch of the platform in February 2019, over 900 alumni have opted to create a mentor profile and over 100 have active mentoring relationships, including mentor to student and mentor to alumnus relationshipsPeople are connecting from all over the world allowing alumni and students to share experiences, engage with career development opportunities and of course foster a community that inspires AMBITIONDRIVE and SUCCESS 

A student’s experience of NCL spark 

Rachel Lowe, a current Newcastle University student and active user of NCL sparkspoke to us about what she was able to gain from connecting with the platform and a mentor. 

“Signing up to NCL spark was so simple and with the click of a button I was able to connect with a mentor! Sometimes I feel scared to ask people to help me, but this was great as I found that mentors really want to help and as it is virtual, it makes me feel comfortable and at ease to use due to its simplicity. 

“I like that NCL spark shows me a background on the mentors on there, and so everyone has information on what their strengths are and what they want to give advice on. I was a little anxious writing the first message but as they say in Newcastle, ‘shy bairns get nowt’, so I gave it a go. I’m really glad I did as not only are mentors really supportive but they also can show you where there are resources and direct you towards people who may be able to help. The mentors have been really useful as you can respond in your own time, and they have offered practical and focussed advice.

“I would say to students and alumni that the people on NCL spark are more than happy to share. If there is something you want help with, get on and ask. I would recommend questions to be specific where possible on what it is you need help with. For example, if I had asked ‘can you help me start my own business?’ - that can be open to all sorts of answers. Instead I would ask something like, I am starting my own business, I currently use excel to monitor progress, but I find it overwhelming. Is there an alternative you could recommend? Then you will be able to get a tailored response. My mentor supported me with the start-up of my business due to launch soon - Snack A Doodle Do.

Should you join? 100%! There is much to gain. 

A mentor’s experience of NCL spark 

Alumnus and NCL spark mentor, Daniel Hooley, who supports students and alumni seeking a career in the engineering industry gave us some insight about why and how he supports others on NCL spark through mentoring. 

“Often the pathways into a career in engineering are not always clear to a student or graduate, as there are so many different avenues that can be taken. I want to be able to create awareness of the routes that can be taken and provide clarity for someone seeking a career in Engineering. Some may not realise how wide-ranging a career in engineering can be, so I certainly want to support them, whilst also being able to bubble the interest in our field! 

“I love assisting students and graduates where I can with the knowledge I have, and I want to show them that they can also look beyond the well-known names in the industry. There is a whole world of interest waiting for them. 

“Students and alumni alike should join NCL spark because there is much information and knowledge that can be gained from the mentors on there, who have worked in various fields and sectors. Mentors have been there and done it and can come to you with a wealth of knowledge. You have nothing to lose but gain, I would say sign up and get exploring!” 

Rachel and Daniel’s experiences are just two out of many. Intrigued to join and want to get exploring? Join NCL spark at  

Any questions about the platform? Email us at

NCL spark

published on: 31 October 2019