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Good practice in setting up and running mentoring schemes

Mentoring is a process proven to motivate and support individuals to help them make the most of work place opportunities. It can provide support, advice and guidance, motivation, build confidence and develop potential. It can be formal or informal, frequent or intermittent, and can be provided at any stage of an individual’s career.

Both mentees and mentors are more likely to commit to and benefit from a mentoring scheme where participation is voluntary.

Consider the apprentice and how they might benefit from mentoring and do acknowledge that the individual may not automatically be open to this. They may need encouragement to participate or an alternative support method – participation must be voluntary.

Work with the apprentice to agree the benefits of mentoring and the outcomes they would like to see:

  • Improved confidence and self esteem
  • Direct support and guidance for the training
  • Target setting and progression

Differing outcomes may require different mentors. Moral support and confidence building is a different skill set to technical guidance and academic support. You may require both.

There is no simple answer to who will make the best mentor for any individual.

Consider the outcomes you are attempting to achieve; having a role model from a similar gender/culture/background or age can help female apprentices to identify with the individual and build their confidence and awareness of progression. It may be that the mentee is looking more for skills/technical and progression support and that a mentor with that experience may be the best option.

This is a ‘try it and see’ situation and must retain the flexibility to change either mentor or mentee if it is not a good match or if the requirements change.

Having a ‘no-fault separation’ clause so that mentors or mentees can be re-matched if they don’t ‘click’ is a good option, as is a regular review to ensure that the match will support any revised outcomes

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