AHUA Reciprocal Mentoring Programme


The Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA) is delighted to support a reciprocal mentoring scheme between senior Professional Service staff who identify as being from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background in Higher Education, and AHUA members.

The programme recruits senior staff of colour (Mentors) and AHUA members (AHUA Mentors) to work together in one-to-one pairings over a period of 12 months.

Applications for the first pilot cohort are now closed. Please email info@ahua.ac.uk with any queries.

What does the programme consist of?

The programme seeks to build mutual understanding between aspiring leaders of colour and those currently in senior leadership roles.

The programme recruits senior staff of colour (Mentors) and AHUA members (AHUA Mentors) to work together in one-to-one pairings over a period of 12 months.

The Programme consists of the following elements:

  • Bespoke training to prepare participants to engage in race reciprocal mentoring conversations
  • A minimum of 6 x 1 hour meetings over the course of 12 months
  • A mid-point 6 month check-in to understand how the mentoring pairs are working and identify and action additional support if required
  • End of programme event at the end of 12 months
  • Post-course evaluation and contribution to a reflective learning process

The training and check-ins are conducted by Leyla Okhai, Diverse Minds UK.

Who is it for?

The programme recruits Professional Services senior staff of colour (typically Grade 8 and above) and AHUA members to enter into a mentoring relationship.

How will you benefit as a participant?

Mentors (senior staff of colour):

  • have the opportunity to talk frankly about challenges they face and explain issues around race that AHUA Mentors may not be aware of
  • are able to propose and discuss interventions that advance people of colour into leadership positions with someone of influence
  • have the benefit of the experience, support, sponsorship, and networks of a senior leader
  • are able to share their learning with other participants and build networks within the sector.

AHUA Mentors (AHUA members):

  • learn how to speak about race issues from a position of understanding
  • are given the opportunity to explore challenges and sensitivities in this space with someone who understands and supports the conversation
  • have the opportunity to ‘make things happen’ in their institution having explored and tested ideas with someone with lived experience
  • have the opportunity to reflect on learning with other participants and share learning more widely within AHUA and other sector bodies.

Dates of the 2023 programme

  • Mentor training: Wednesday 15 March 2023, online  (10.00 – 13.00)
  • AHUA Mentor training: Thursday 16 March 2023, online (10.00 – 15.30)
  • Meet your Mentor session for all: Tuesday 21 March 2023, 14.30 – 15.00, online
  • Mid-point check in Mentors: Tuesday 5th September 2023, 10.00 – 11.30, online
  • Mid-point check in AHUA Mentors: Tuesday 5th September 2023, 13.30 – 15.00, online

What will the legacy of the scheme be?

  • A cohort of Mentors (senior staff of colour) who have been supported to develop their careers.
  • Action by AHUA Mentors within their host institutions, prompted by the mentoring conversations, to reduce barriers to progression of staff from Black, Asian and Minority ethnic backgrounds.
  • The learning of both Mentors and AHUA Mentors will be disseminated to AHUA members at the Association’s conferences.  As a result, we expect to see meaningful conversations and sustainable change start to take place within institutions.

What is the AHUA and why is it doing this?

The AHUA is the representative body for senior University managers (Registrars, Chief Operating Officers, Heads of Administration) in the UK.  The Association recognises that AHUA membership is not representative of the wider HE community.  It includes very few people of colour.  Individual members are nominated by institutions which means the AHUA has no say in who joins, however by initiating this programme, the Association aims to leverage the key resource that it has – our members – to take meaningful action to enhance the diversity of senior Professional Service staff in their institutions and ultimately ensure that AHUA is a diverse and inclusive organisation.


How to apply

  • If you are interested in participating as a Mentor (ie you are a senior staff member of colour), please complete the online form here.
  • If you are an AHUA member and are interested in participating as an AHUA Mentor (ie you are an AHUA member and Registrar/COO), please complete the online form here.

Related Resources

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AHUA Reciprocal Mentoring Programme Flyer