The Elizabeth Casson Trust offers a mentoring programme for occupational therapists. Our intention is for the programme to be available across the profession for individuals at all stages of their career journey.

This development will support our charitable purpose to ‘further the profession of occupational therapy’ and  our operational intention to ‘explore, develop and implement opportunities with occupational therapists from all areas and relevant organisations that will facilitate confidence building, capability and inclusion’.

Our Mentoring Community 2024

As we approach the fourth year of our mentoring programme in 2024, the trustees and our partners, Caroline Waters and Helen Chipchase, are undertaking some exciting developments for our next cohort of mentors and mentees.

Watch this space for the opening of registration for mentees in Spring 2024, or subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss the call.

As always, we have open registration for mentors.  Unsure if this is for you? Read on to see why being a mentor is as valuable an experience for the mentor as mentee.

Why mentor?

Why be a mentor?

While being the mentor in a relationship may sound like a one-way street for development, mentors also regularly report that their own communication skills are enhanced and that the investment they make in their mentee is returned in extended networks, greater insight into the challenges and opportunities available across the broader ecosystem and community, a sense of enhanced purpose and connection to their profession, and an opportunity to spot and nurture talent.

If you would like to become a mentor in our programme, you  may find it helpful to watch this short video before completing the registration form.

Register here to become a mentor
Why be mentored?

Why seek a mentor?

Perhaps you’re interested in gaining greater insight into management and leadership practices and the ability to implement them confidently and flexibly, or perhaps in developing softer skills such as communication, teamwork and time management? Any of these can be supported through mentoring. Being clear of why you would like mentoring helps on achieving the nest match to a mentor.

If you would like to become a mentee in our programme, you  may find it helpful to watch this short video before completing the registration form.

Please note, registration for our next cohort is now closed.

Mentoring Circles

A new feature of the 2023 cohort is  the  introduction of Mentoring  Circles. Our first circle will be for occupational therapists who are carers.

Caroline Waters will mentor up to 12 occupational therapists who also have caring responsibilities in a group or ‘circle’. Interested to know more about what this could mean for you? Take a moment to watch the short video below.

Click on this link, register and select ‘mentoring circle’

Or read this blog from Caroline Waters OBE about the Mentoring Circle for OTs with caring responsibilities

One of the things I love about working with the Elizabeth Casson Trust is their determination to create an inclusive community of Occupational Therapists who are a source of mutual understanding, support and problem solving for their colleagues.

It is clear from the Trust’s Observatory activity that OTs with caring responsibilities often have particular needs and can feel isolated or disconnected from colleagues and any thought of career. Balancing the needs of 21stCentury life, work and caring for elderly parents, a disabled child or a friend or family member with a deteriorating condition can be all consuming and totally exhausting. However, it doesn’t mean that Carers need to give up their aspirations for a career or for a balanced life.

Keep Reading +

As someone who struggled to simultaneously hold down a senior corporate role and care for my elderly parents I learned that, with a little help, it is possible to care and to work towards life and career goals. I have worked closely with Carers UK, Employers for Carers and individual carers for years and believe strongly that caring should not condemn people to a life of low aspiration and that it really is possible to see beyond your current job to a career goal and to work towards it. That’s why I am delighted to introduce a Carers Mentoring Circle into the Elizabeth Casson Trust Mentoring Programme as we launch Cohort Three.

Mentoring Circles are a great way for OTs with caring responsibilities to join the programme and to engage with people who have common life experience and interests. The circle provides a facilitated peer to peer mentoring experience. Individuals can share opportunities and issues and grow in personal confidence and power while learning and developing within a supportive, knowledgeable and open community of engaged colleagues.

Circles behave a little like action learning sets; they are high in both support and challenge creating the perfect space for self-development and gains in confidence and personal power. They provide insight and understanding allowing members of the circle to reflect personally and as part of a group who share a life experience. It’s really important that participants commit to ‘show up’ and to interact. Everyone will have the opportunity to talk openly about how caring impacts on their personal and professional lives in a safe and facilitated space. Here, they can confront difficulties and consider possibilities. It’s a chance to build a personal community that has the benefit of providing mutual problem solving as well as the ability to build a new life and career course.

I am really excited about the potential this Circle offers and pleased that I have this opportunity to work with up to 12 OTs with caring responsibilities to help them come together in support of each other’s goals while also achieving their own.

To apply to be part of the Elizabeth Casson Trust Mentoring Programme Mentoring Circle please click here and tick the box that says you are a carer and wish to apply for the mentoring circle.

Caroline Waters OBE

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If you would like to watch the full video which also includes ‘top tips’ and information on the support/ development sessions for mentors and mentees that are part of the programme, visit our YouTube site here.

Mentor drop-in surgeries for mentors in our 2023 cohort are as follows (please contact us for the Zoom link): 13 February 2023, 13 March 2023, 3 May 2023, 22 May 2023  and 19 June 2023. All surgeries are at 15:00-16:00 except for 3 May which is at 16:00-17:00. Ad hoc support can also be arranged here.

Mentee personal development sessions for mentees in our 2023 cohort (only) are as follows: 15 February 2023: Reflective Learning; 16 March 2023: Storytelling; 4 April 2023: Confidence and Personal Power; 24 May 2023: Personal Community, and 21 June 2023: Difficult Conversations. All sessions are at 12:00-13:00. Please email for the Zoom link.

Why mentor with the Elizabeth Casson Trust?

In 2018, the Elizabeth Casson Trust carried out a consultation exercise with a range of occupational therapists across the profession; this led to the development of our leadership project (2018-2020). However, from these conversations, we also learned that occupational therapists want access to mentors.

Occupational therapists are seeking individuals who can help them further develop their communication, influencing and impact building skills while also growing their personal confidence and power. This was an important message for us to hear and we set about exploring how to meet this need. In 2020 we set about developing a mentoring programme, selecting the best partner to deliver this and developing resources and tools to support it.

We hope that the mentoring programme will be a fantastic opportunity to support the development of occupational therapists so they become more confident, bolder and will take – or even create – new and exciting opportunities for the profession.

Our ambition is that the programme will offer practical support to occupational therapists – at any stage of their career – and create greater connectivity across the whole OT community that will provide real opportunities for the profession and for individuals to learn and grow.

If you would like to hear more about a personal experience of being mentored and also being a mentor, watch the video below for a conversation between Caroline Waters and Dee Christie, chair of  the Trust.

The 2021 pilot

In December 2020 we recruited a cohort of mentors; in January/ February we used the RCOT regional groups to invite OTs to put themselves forward for mentoring in the pilot and a cohort of mentor/ mentee pairs were formed. In March 2021 we launched the three-month pilot programme. The pilot was tailored to the needs and learning styles of both mentor and mentee and, as people are now far more comfortable with connecting on screen, could be accessed virtually enabling us to match mentors and mentees who were geographically distanced.

During the pilot, we supported the mentoring pairs with additional tools and ‘conversation starters’ that addressed some of the common themes highlighted in mentee applications – themes such as ‘confidence’, ‘story telling’ and ‘difficult conversations’. We supported those newer to mentoring with developmental sessions and were also on-hand to provide any ad hoc advice to mentors and mentees.

The pilot ran until June 2021 at which point it was evaluated for benefit and impact.

Results of the pilot

At the end of the three-month pilot we sought feedback from participants via an online survey. Feedback was provided by 33 of our 34 mentors and 49 of our 54 mentees.  We were delighted with the feedback.

Mentors and mentees highlighted increased confidence, self-awareness, openness to exploring new ways of thinking, giving and receiving feedback, reflecting upon and understanding how to deliver personal growth and change as some of the key benefits.

There were clear tangible benefits too with some mentees achieving promotion, getting approved to a Masters course, or changing tack in their career paths.  We were particularly excited that 41 of our mentees from this cohort were willing to become mentors. This growth and willingness to pay forward is critical as the success of our programme depends on the ability to attract mentors to our programme, however there is  no expectation that mentees do this.

Our second cohort in 2022 ran for six months. The short video below offers quotes from the survey at the end of the mentoring period. Also, read about the experiences of some our mentoring pairs in the case studies below.

Case Studies


Saphire Turkson & Odeth Richardson
Lara Cachafeiro & Will Chegwidden
Marieke Hofsteede & Ruth Crowder
Support we offer

Entering a mentoring relationship – whether as a mentor or mentee – can feel like a big step. To ensure both individuals get the most from the experience we provide written resources and guides. Some of the topics covered are reflective learning, storytelling, confidence and personal power, personal community, difficult conversations. We also offer webinars for mentees to gain the most from the experience and hold surgeries to help mentors develop their mentoring skills and – last but not least – there is one to one support available so you never feel you’re doing this alone.

Meet the People


Programme Lead
Caroline Waters OBE
Trust Sponsor
Naomi Hankinson
Occupational Therapist
Stay updated

If you would like to be kept informed about the mentoring programme, follow this link to subscribe to our monthly news emails.