MPs and Peers are set to mentor students of different faiths and beliefs on 3FF’s leadership development programme starting this month.

Senior politicians such as Iain Duncan Smith, Hazel Blears and Jo Swinson have all been mentors on 3FF’s Undergraduate ParliaMentors (UP) initiative, which will run throughout the academic year and involve 45 students from 15 universities across the UK.

Over a dozen MPs will take part in the UN award-winning programme this year, acting as mentors to university students who are keen to gain the skills, experiences and networks to become the next generation of politicians and community leaders in the UK.

Politicians have praised the initiative. Former mentor Iain Duncan Smith said:

“This excellent programme brings different faiths together and gives young people the opportunity to learn how politics works, and about the interplay between politics, the civil service and government.”

UP was created by 3FF to build understanding and better relations between people of different faiths and beliefs at university, while giving undergraduates valuable leadership training. Together, the students will use their new skills to work on social action and community empowerment projects addressing local and national issues.

The programme was previously only for Muslim, Christian and Jewish students, but has this year expanded to include people of all faiths and beliefs – including non-religious beliefs.

In addition to this, 3FF’s mentoring model is expanding into Europe. 3FF has partnered with Belief in Dialogue, a British Council initiative, to give eight students from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the UK the opportunity to be mentored by two MEPs. They will travel to Brussels over the course of their academic year to meet their MEP mentors and attend parliamentary committee meetings and debates.