FAQs: Mentoring

Click any of the frequently asked questions below to see the corresponding answer.

What kind of mentoring do you offer?

For most people, it makes sense to be mentored in proofreading first, but we also offer mentored copy-editing.

I see you specify the basic training needed before mentoring, but I'm taking a different course. Is it just as good?

Since the SfEP runs many training courses of its own, it would be wrong of us to comment on other providers. However, with rare exceptions, the only courses we accept as preparation for mentoring are those named. Please see our mentoring entry requirements.

Are there no exceptions to these specified courses? I've heard that you'll consider 'equivalent training'.

In certain circumstances we are willing to consider other training in lieu of our published requirements. We will accept training given in other countries if you can show us that it is adequate. Where experienced editors or proofreaders are returning after a long break or have worked only within a narrow field, we are likely to accept higher-level or in-house training. We will also consider basic training given by a reputable organisation comparable to the SfEP or the Publishing Training Centre (PTC). In all these cases, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) in the first instance with details of your training. If the mentoring director does approve other training in lieu, you will need to include the date of the approval (if email) or a scan of the letter (if post) when you apply.

How soon will my mentoring begin?

We can usually allocate your mentor within a week or so, but sometimes there is a waiting list and it may take several weeks. In addition, your mentoring has to be fitted around your mentor's own work schedule.

How many assignments will I get?

All mentors send out similar amounts of work, typically as four or five assignments. You get feedback at each stage, to give you a chance to learn and improve. If you show particular weaknesses, your mentor may give you extra material. Beyond that, if you ask your mentor for a further project, you should pay them privately at an appropriate rate.

How long does mentoring last?

This is flexible. It partly depends on you, and how much free time you can spare, so mentoring can last anything from ten weeks to six months. After that, you might start forgetting what you have learnt. If you need more time, for whatever reason, that's usually fine – as long as your mentor agrees and there is no waiting list.

What sort of work will I get?

Proofreading mentees will get at least one assignment on hard copy, but otherwise your work will be on screen, either in PDF or in Word (using Track Changes). The material may be one or more chapters of a book, typically with notes, tables and artwork, or journal/reference articles, perhaps even a leaflet.

Is it 'live' work?

Your assignments will be jobs that your mentor has already done and returned, so they know the material is suitable and they know where the problems are. This means your learning is not tied to a client's deadline. It is very rare that a mentor assigns a 'live' job (where the deadline is in real time).

Do I get paid for it?

No. You are learning the job and developing your knowledge, skills and judgement with an insider to guide you, and the Society is paying half the cost. Mentoring is one-to-one training combined with work experience.