From the end of this month school and college students will have the opportunity to receive up-to-date chemistry information and advice through a new e-mentoring scheme run by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

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From the end of this month school and college students will have the opportunity to receive up-to-date information and advice on studying chemistry in HE and careers in chemistry through a new e-mentoring scheme run by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). At the Future blogs website students, aged 13-18 who are thinking of a career in chemistry or related subjects, will be able to link up with mentors - undergraduates and postgraduates, academics teaching the courses they are interested in as well as chemists working in the chemical industry.  

Funded by and run under the banner of the Chemistry for our future (CFOF) initiative, the web-based project is the result of a partnership between the RSC and the Brightside Trust - a charity focused on widening participation in science, medical and engineering subjects in HE. The scheme aims to help prepare students for university life and potentially a career in the chemical sciences by ensuring that they receive sound educational and career advice. Future blogs is based on the Brightside Trust's successful Bright Journals e-mentoring model - a website aimed at students interested in studying healthcare or medicine in HE.  

Each student who joins the scheme will have a personal mentor to chat to via the website. Students can use their blogs to put their thoughts, ideas and problems to their mentors. Each mentor, who may support several students, also has a blog where the students in the group can discuss questions as a group. The website will also feature a library of resources including careers profiles on chemistry graduates. 

Nine universities - Imperial College London, Kingston, Nottingham, Loughborough, Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, Liverpool John Moores, Liverpool and Leicester - will act as 'host institutions' to run the scheme at the local level. Currently 50 industrialists have signed up to act as mentors and train other mentors who join the scheme.  

The RSC is asking each host institution to recruit 25 mentors, comprising undergraduates, postgraduates and academics. The university-based mentors will receive training on how to use the website and advice on dealing with issues raised by students. 

The Future blogs website will be launched on 31 January and the project will run to September 2008. In February 2008, the Brightside Trust will evaluate the progress and success of the project with a view, if positive, of bidding for further funding through the CFOF initiative to develop the project by, for example, involving more universities in different regions of England and developing the content provided on the website.  

[Updated 2018: Out of date links removed]