The National Mentoring Standards ensure best practice in mentoring across the UK and internationally, using a self-assessment framework of standards to assess the quality of the mentoring programme. This gives organisations the opportunity to benchmark themselves against the set of standards, to enable high quality mentoring programmes to be delivered.


Currently poor-quality mentoring programmes are not differentiated from high quality impactful mentoring programmes. Therefore, the quality and reliability of mentoring is being affected by the lack of standardised mentoring standards. Some basic guidance exists, for example for doctors within parts of the NHS and for mentoring young children in school. There is a risk caused by this lack of conceptual frameworks which translates onto the schemes themselves, where evidence-based outcome focused mentoring schemes are compared against schemes where mentors are untrained, lacking supervision, making up mentoring processes or causing poor or negative outcomes.

Who is the accreditation aimed at?

Organisations who want to add credibility to their mentoring programme and be accredited to meet nationally recognised standards. Whether it’s a formal or informal programme, new or established programme the (NMS) will ensure your programme meets our evidence-based high standards of best practice, policy, ethos and culture.

The National Mentoring Standards (NMS) is an independent accreditation awarded to organisations delivering internal or external mentoring programmes.

How were the standards developed?

The standards were developed over 10 years based on existing research and evidence for mentoring best practice; a mentoring survey, from a leading mentoring provider, amongst consultations with large and small mentoring organisations, leading universities, professional and academic mentoring programme leads and Government support. Finally, a focus group reviewed the standards to ensure fitness for purpose.

The Framework

The National Mentoring Standard are divided into 7 sections upon which benchmarking can be based and include the following:

  • Aims
  • Training
  • Support
  • Admin
  • Inclusion
  • Awareness
  • Recognition

Accreditation Levels

There are three levels of accreditation of mentoring programmes: Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Benefits to your organisation

  • Benchmark your mentoring programme against recognised National Standards.
  • Helps to develop and improve processes and the quality of your programme.
  • Adds credibility that your programme meets high standards of best practice.
  • Use your accreditation award for bids, tenders, sponsorship, and recruitment.
  • Enhanced reputation for your mentoring programme being nationally accredited.
  • Opportunity to showcase corporate responsibility with external stakeholders, partners, investors, and communities.
  • Increases brand awareness of your organisation and programme.
  • Accredited programmes can showcase their award in their marketing materials.
  • Opportunity to use award in your media, marketing, and promotions, internally and externally.

Accreditation Process

Organisations register on our website and complete a self-assessment against the Standards.

Our assessors check the self-rating against the submission and evidence. Judgements are based on best fit, for example if a submission meets most of the criteria in a level, then this will be awarded. The overall judgement will require at least six of the seven pillars to be scored at that level or higher, for example to be accredited at silver level, at least six of the pillars must be rated as silver or gold.

Progression through Stages

In order to quality assure the process and ensure best practice is embedded, programmes are required to remain at each stage for six months before progressing to the next level and cannot progress from Bronze to Gold in one step.

New applicants will need to meet the Bronze standards and hold that level for at least six months before being able to progress.

Application Process

Stage 1. The standards can be downloaded in pdf format. This allows organisations to collect evidence towards the seven pillars framework.

Stage 2 – Applicants are required to demonstrate how they meet the relevant standards at the stage they are applying for (i.e. gold, silver, bronze). Through the online system they submit written evidence for each standard, linking additional evidence as required, such as webpages, reports, or resources.

Stage 3 – On submission, assessors are assigned and assess the submitted evidence against the assessment criteria. Feedback is provided to the applicants and if sufficient evidence has been met, then the application is put forward to our Quality Assurance team for accreditation.

Stage 4 – Our Quality Assurance team sample the application before awarding the accreditation.

How will my accreditation be promoted?

  • Digital certification will be awarded to display in your organisation.
  • Listing on the official national mentoring standards website.
  • Marketing materials will be provided to support the announcement of your award.
  • A digital gold, silver, or bronze badge will be awarded to download for promotional use.
  • Listing on the national mentoring standards website.
  • Promotion on social media.
  • Opportunity to submit case studies to promote your work.

Mentoring Accreditation Costs

● Large Employer (250+ employees) – £1,400 +VAT

● Small or medium-sized employers (fewer than 250 employees) – £800 +VAT


Assessors are selected based on their background or qualification of assessment, moderation, and quality assurance. Many assessors work within the education sectors, such as qualified teachers or assessors. As per our quality assurance policy, assessments are sampled and reviewed by our quality assurance team prior to accreditation being awarded to ensure the continuity of assessment.

Case Study – National University Mentoring Standards

As part of our development of mentoring standards, we have recognised the need for adaptations of the National Mentoring Standards to suit different sectors. For example, many universities have multiple mentoring schemes, across departments, within student support and students’ unions. These vary in size, nature and quality, highlighting the need for the National Standards.

Due to these differences and the transient nature of the student population in universities, we recognised the need to develop an adaption fit for purpose in the University Sector that also covered multiple mentoring schemes within the same organisation.

During 2021-22 we worked with several university stakeholders to adapt the National Standards to be fit for purpose for mentoring schemes within Higher Education, which were formally launched alongside the national launch.


We recognise these standards can be easily adopted by commonwealth countries and adapted for international use.