In 2017, 37 mentoring pairs took part in the MSRF Mentoring program. 37 mentors, 37 mentees, a program coordinator (Maryann) and others working quietly behind the scenes all worked together to build strong relationships, increase networks, and ensure that country kids feel supported throughout their journey.
The mentoring pairs were a combination of transition mentoring and career mentoring. The main focus of the transition mentoring is to support young people who have recently left school, and are more often than not studying at university, to find their feet away from home and help them adjust to the university setting. The career mentoring aims to help connect young people with people working in areas that they want to work in the future, and to provide them with the connections and support that they need to follow their chosen career pathways. Following Maryann’s incredible matching skills, the pairs met each other for the first time at the Mentor Training evening in March, held at the State Library. Here, the participants learnt what the mentoring process involved and how to get the most out of their relationships. Following the presentation, each pair broke away and completed their mentoring relationships agreement, a document that plays an important role in ensuring mentoring success, by outlining their commitments to each other.
Throughout the year, the mentoring pairs met with each other as needed. Some of the activities that mentors and mentees did together were eat nachos, go to the zoo, head to the closest donut shop for a tasty treat, take part in work experience and of course, the frequent coffee together in a café. Other mentoring pairs spoke over Skype, due to the distance, but as all country people know, to get around the distance hurdle you just make things work. More importantly, each pair worked through problems, offered advice, and mentors were a friendly face who we could talk to when needed. Following a productive year, with many friendships formed and coffees consumed, most of the mentors and mentees met back together for the annual Mentoring Celebration. (This year it was combined into an Alumni celebration too.) All mentee participants received a certificate of program participation, and mentors received a certificate of appreciation. Everyone had the chance to hear about the other programs MSRF is currently running. Together we played barefoot bowls, met up with old friends and reflected on the year that has passed since we joined the program. While the break up signals the end of the formal mentoring process, I have no doubt that the relationships formed will last for many, many years.
Kate MaddernScholar Alumni