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About mentoring

The CIEP's mentoring scheme offers supervised, practical training in proofreading and copyediting to anyone who wants to round off their training by working one-to-one on real projects with an experienced mentor for around six months. The scheme is available to both members and non-members.

Experienced Advanced Professional Members act as mentors. They provide copies of existing or past jobs for the mentee to proofread or copyedit, and then review the work, giving feedback and advice, and answering any questions. Mentoring is typically done by email, so it is available anywhere in the world.

In addition to its value as training, mentoring can be used as a step towards upgrading your membership.

Thank you again for all your time and encouragement. I think the SfEP in general and the mentoring scheme in particular are worth their weight in gold.

Gilly Middleburgh, mentee

The varied and challenging assignments prepared me well for real work. I recently proofread the content of a website and an academic paper, and my mentor’s advice on the assignments was directly relevant and allowed me to do a better job.

Joanna Howard, mentee

I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the extensive depth and breadth of the knowledge and experience provided in the feedback on my mentoring assignments. Proofreading is definitely not as simple as it might seem, and my mentor helped me to understand the finer points of this work. I was impressed by the subject matter and the different situations in the assignments. An unexpected benefit of the programme was that I also learned to phrase comments and suggestions in a respectful, courteous and professional style. I feel much more confident and optimistic about my skills as a proofreader now.

Gwen Schwarz, mentee

Becoming a mentee

Before becoming a mentee, you must have had some initial training. You are normally expected to have successfully completed two CIEP training courses, although there are some exceptions. See our mentoring entry requirements.

You are advised to practise newly acquired skills as much as you can before moving on to the next stage of your training. No other courses are normally accepted in lieu of the CIEP or PTC courses. If you have any further questions, please read the mentoring FAQs or contact the .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Mentoring helps you to upgrade

Successful mentees can gain up to 10 points towards upgrading their membership. The number of points gained depends on the mentor's answers to five questions about the mentee:

  1. Are they literate? (grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation)
  2. Are they businesslike? (prompt, clear, efficient, follow brief, communicate well)
  3. Are they accurate? (spot and deal with editorial errors)
  4. Do they use appropriate mark-up? (BS 5261:2005, plus PDFs or Track Changes if used)
  5. Do they use good judgement? (level of queries, frequency and extent of intervention).

For questions 1, 2, 4 and 5, if the mentor answers 'Not really', the mentee will be awarded 0 points; if they say 'Good enough', 1 point; if they can confidently answer 'Yes', 2 points. For question 3, the mentee's performance – as shown by a representative sample of their work – is measured against that of the mentor, who has already identified the problems in the material and how best to deal with them. The mentor will average the mentee's success rates on typos and editorial problems.

Successful specialist mentees can gain up to 12 points towards upgrading their membership. The same five questions above are asked about the mentee, together with a further question:

6.  Do they show adequate knowledge of the subject? (level, terminology, conventions, readership).

Mentees will be told their marks. Receiving 10 (or 12) points will mean 'above average in all aspects', allowing for a mentee's limited experience.

Specialist mentoring in legal and medical editing is now available. 

Fees (from 1 March 2021)

Through the Whitcombe Training Fund, the Society pays a percentage of the cost of mentoring for CIEP members. Non-members pay the full cost.


  Member Non-member
Proofreading £459.00 + VAT (total £550.80) £793.00 + VAT (total £951.60)
Copyediting £714.00 + VAT (total £856.80)  £1,058.00 + VAT (total £1269.60) 

The mentoring fee may be paid in two instalments: 50% when you sign up and the remainder six months later. Please mention that you would like to take up this option when you apply.

How to apply

Make sure that you have the necessary entry requirements for mentoring.

If you do not have one of the combinations of training courses shown on the entry requirements page, this doesn’t mean that you cannot apply. 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 CIEP or PTC. The application form allows you to make an application on the basis of other training or relevant experience.

To apply, please click the button below to download the necessary form. The form is designed to be completed onscreen and can be emailed directly to the CIEP office.

If the form opens directly in your browser (eg Edge or Safari), please right-click the button instead, choose the 'save' option and then open the file in your PDF program. Or you may wish to use a different browser, such as Chrome.

Mentoring application form

About the mentoring process

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.

Your mentor will contact you direct, like a new client offering you work; you discuss the task, agree a deadline and are sent an assignment. You should acknowledge safe receipt of each assignment and return any confidentiality agreement as requested. Read the style sheet and brief carefully, making sure that you know what you are being asked to do. Glance through the job straightaway, to check that the material is complete and to see whether there is anything not covered by the brief. You can then check with your mentor how to raise queries or discuss problems. You may wish to send back a small section of the job at an early stage so the mentor can check that you are working along the right lines.

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. Your assignments will be jobs that your mentor has already done and returned, so they know that the material is suitable and where the problems are. This means that 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).

Mentoring typically takes around six to nine months to complete. Any mentor and mentee can make private arrangements to continue training beyond the formal end of the process. 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. If you need more time, for whatever reason, that's usually fine – as long as your mentor agrees and there is no waiting list.

Becoming a mentor

If you are an Advanced Professional Member with at least seven years' experience and would like to become a mentor, please contact the .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The CIEP is always looking to recruit and train new mentors, especially to replace existing mentors when they retire or when new subject areas need to be covered.

Quotes from mentees

Please feel free to post any of my feedback comments from throughout the mentoring. I've learned a lot and had a laugh as well. I've thoroughly enjoyed it!

Michelle Nugent, mentee

To have an editing professional look over my shoulder while I practise on real materials has been invaluable. Now my clients get the benefit too – though they'll never know.

Robin Black, mentee

I recently proofread an academic book as a 'live test' and passed – a feat which I feel I owe to my brilliant mentor! I really don't think I would have managed without that extra training. I'm now on the publisher's freelance database.

Louise Lubke Cuss, mentee