Experiences of mentoring university students with an intellectual disability as part of a practicum placement

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Benefits of peer mentoring include learning to collaborate, developing relationships, skill development and career clarity. This study aimed to explore the lived experiences of undergraduate university students mentoring a person with intellectual disability as part of their university practicum placement. Using a qualitative approach, peer mentors (N=11) were asked to reflect on their Up the Hill Project experience, at an Australian program supporting inclusion of adults with intellectual disability at university. Thematic analysis of interviews revealed four key themes: career development and learning; enabling positive outcomes; being a mentor; and barriers and challenges. Mentors reported a positive experience related to professional learning and development. The mentoring experience was strengthened by effective support structures and the reciprocity of the mentor-mentee relationship. Findings suggest that mentoring as part of a university practicum can be a positive, worthwhile learning experience, particularly regarding professional development for future employment in the disability field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-354
Number of pages22
JournalMentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • higher education
  • inclusion
  • intellectual disability
  • Peer mentoring
  • practicum placement
  • professional learning


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