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Parent Mentoring

We have achieved a top 10 ranking in Working Families for three consecutive years, with our approach to flexible/agile working and our updated family policies playing a key role in this achievement alongside our inclusive recruitment processes. Our newly launched New Parent Mentoring Scheme continues to build on the support we offer our working parents.  

With 38 successful pairings and counting since its pilot launch last September, it’s now a permanent scheme for our people. We caught up with some of our first pairings to find out more about the impact of the scheme and what drove colleagues to sign up as mentors.   

Uzair and Niall 

Uzair sits, smiling down at his child who is sat on this lap.
Niall stands on a beach with his back to the camera, he is holding his child who is facing the camera laughing

Mentee: Uzair Qasim, Private Assurance Tax Executive

I wasn’t aware of new parent mentoring until I got an email from the firm when returning to work after paternity leave. I took the opportunity to join, and the I&D team then connected me with my mentor, Niall.  

I saw it as a chance to be part of a safe and supportive space to discuss my challenges and concerns as I returned to work. Becoming a parent can be overwhelming - especially for first-time parents - and having someone to offer advice, share experiences, and provide reassurance makes a significant difference.  

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my mentoring sessions with Niall soon provided me with the guidance and valuable support I needed as I transitioned back to work. Niall gave me practical advice on managing my time effectively to accommodate work and family commitments, and support on setting realistic goals and expectations for my career progression while prioritising my family's wellbeing. 

Usually meeting new people makes me anxious, but I was pleasantly surprised by Niall’s mentoring approach. I anticipated mentoring to be primarily one-way guidance from the mentor to the mentee, however, I found that we exchanged ideas, experiences, and perspectives equally. This was important as we come from different backgrounds, so parenting might not always look the same. We discussed a range of topics in fortnightly catch-ups, opening my eyes to viewpoints and approaches I may not have considered otherwise.  
The scheme is a valuable resource that’s helped me navigate work life alongside a new chapter of my life with confidence and resilience.   

Mentor: Niall Brehon, Transfer Pricing Manager, Ireland Tax Desk 

I got involved in the New Parent Mentoring Scheme as a mentor after seeing the I&D team’s  post last August and was keen to get involved. 

My first child was born in January 2023. I was one of the first beneficiaries of the extended paternity leave policy, from two weeks to six weeks. Last year opened my eyes to the challenges of balancing work deadlines and expectations alongside sleep deprivation, changing nappies, making bottles and 5.00am breakdowns, so I knew exactly how challenging it was to return to work after such a major life event, even with extended paternity leave. 

I wanted to support my mentee as they returned to work and to pass on any advice I could in a non-judgemental and impartial way.  

It’s been really nice getting to know Uzair. I hadn’t met him before, and it would be unlikely we would have ever met otherwise due to working in different offices and dealing with different sorts of clients in our service lines. It was very rewarding for me to relive some of the highs and lows of the first six months of fatherhood! 

My final note for all new parents - it gets easier!

Emma Stokes and Amy Done  

Emma is wearing a blue and white summer dress, holding her child in her arms. They have the beach in the background and are smiling at the camera.
The photograph shows Amy and her two children, all cuddled together smiling at the camera whilst on holiday.

Mentee: Emma Stokes, Private Capital Audit Manager  

I heard about the New Parent Mentoring Scheme from my people manager on one of my keeping in touch (KIT) days whilst on leave and decided to sign up on my return.  

Coming back to work after a year off can be daunting; so much can change in a year. My needs and demands outside of work also changed, so I wanted to hear somebody else’s experience on what’s worked for them, how to set expectations, what their struggles were and how they overcame them. I didn’t really know what to expect from the mentoring session, I just wanted it to be a fluid and open space to discuss different subjects.  

It’s been great to learn from somebody in a similar role. It has made my return to work easier, as our experiences are more comparable. It’s been easy to understand each other: we've shared demands we’ve experienced, both at work and home; the mentoring matching process works well; and I’ve felt very supported by my mentor. Speaking with someone who is not influential in my role has ensured I can be more honest in the conversations too.  

I didn’t realise how useful of a tool mentoring can be; it’s the first time I’ve had a mentor and it’s been a great process. I would absolutely recommend the mentoring scheme to other new parents.   

Mentor: Amy Done, Senior Audit Manager  

Having recently been on maternity leave (twice!) I know how daunting returning to work can be, so when I saw the launch of the new scheme, I knew I wanted to get involved. Imposter syndrome, tiredness, worry about leaving the little ones with someone new, juggling everything at home and then wanting to strive in your career at the same time, are all elements which are difficult to navigate. I wanted to help someone else with that transition from maternity life to the working juggle.  

When I returned to work, I found it useful talking to other parents. It confirmed that my feelings were in fact ‘normal’, and that I didn’t need to be Superwoman to be there for my kids. I learnt I could still enjoy the career I worked so hard to build.    

I wanted my mentee to feel supported and show that you can return to work and be a better version of you. There isn’t an expectation to be who you were before your period of leave from work; you can return to work and demonstrate that you are more efficient, can set clear boundaries on your day and still progress.  

I’ve now gained a new friend to catch up with on the trials and tribulations of life with a toddler! I always hoped to have an impact on my mentee, but discovered the relationship works both ways. Listening to Emma and some of her suggestions has given me ideas on working smarter too.  

It’s a lovely way of building relationships in different locations and service lines within the firm. It’s an informal relationship and lovely to have a coffee with someone new.  

You can make a real difference to someone’s day by being a mentor and helping them get back into the swing of things at work. It’s really rewarding.