The Foundation values Mentoring and considers it to be an integral part of its Personal Leadership and Entrepreneurial Development Programme. Mentoring creates a unique opportunity for Candidate-Fellows to learn about themselves and the manner in which they interact with others on their entrepreneurial journey. From their first year to their fourth year each Candidate-Fellow is allocated two internal Mentors, one of which focuses on their Personal Leadership and Academic Development and the other which focuses on their Entrepreneurial Development. In their third and fourth year the Candidate-Fellows are allocated external Mentors. These individuals are leaders and experienced professionals from various industries. The Foundation recruits suitably qualified Mentors who have more than ten year’s work experience and the desire to pass on their knowledge, wisdom and experience to the next generation. These Mentors have a firm belief in the Foundation’s vision and embody the values of the organisation.
This year the Mentoring Programme had 115 Candidate-Fellows that were matched to suitable Mentors. At the beginning of the year the Foundation hosted Mentor Connect events in all the support regions. This gave Candidate-Fellows and Mentors the opportunity to meet each other for the first time through a facilitated session, allowing them to set up an agreement on future face-to-face meetings. Finding a suitable Mentor and building a mutually beneficial relationship can initially be challenging, but most describe the engagement as rewarding further down the line.
One Fellow states that her mentor helped her break down the restrictions that she had placed on herself. She says: “He really changed my life and I think I am much more confident in my abilities professionally and at a social level because of him.” Another Fellow shared the following: “One of the most important things about my mentoring relationship is that I have never been provided with the answers I need, or a life guide on how to make a business successful. Instead I have been provided with the necessary tools and contacts, and the rest has been left up to me. Through my mentoring experience, I have come to believe that young people still have the open-mindedness and even naivety that can make the most innovative and creative ideas possible.”
Mentoring is a rich experience for both the Mentors and mentees. One Mentor shared his experience: “Each mentee assigned to me over this period has been an exceptional individual. Not only are they very intelligent, but they are curious, eager to learn, grateful for the opportunity and generally quite charming people.”
Experienced volunteers who want to get involved with the Foundation’s Mentoring Programme can apply online: http://www.allangrayorbis.org/fellowship-programme/mentorship-program/