The importance of a mentor
Written on 2nd, February 2022
What is a mentor? The official definition is: an experienced and trusted adviser.
Across our personal and professional lives we will encounter different types of mentors that help us in different ways at different times. They could be a family member, a friend, a teacher, a neighbour, a sports colleague or even a stranger on the train. It’s important to remember that we all need a form of mentoring no matter what stage of our life or career we are at – to learn from some one else, to understand a different perspective is what grows us as people. Being able to identify when we need this help and who we can turn to is an important skill to learn early on in all of our lives.
Within the training sector we champion the need for mentors to help all learners through their training be it an English and maths course or apprenticeship.
As an apprentice, a mentor will take you under their wing and offer help to develop your approach to work, including building rapport, teamwork, integrity, and remaining positive and professional. They are therefore an indispensable role in your journey as an apprentice. Here’s a list of reasons why:
1. Mentors can help you get to know yourself better
Many of us do things we would find hard to understand when we see others do them. When it is ourselves, though, it can be hard for us to see or easy for us to justify. For example, our enthusiasm may be recognised and reinforced by our supervisor, so we naturally turn it up a notch. More of a good thing must be better, right? A mentor can provide honest and constructive feedback, helping you to uncover blind spots that hold back your long-term success.
2. Mentors work with you to develop skills
We should never stop learning and developing our knowledge and skills. The skills required for success in the working world today requires constant attention. A mentor can help you do a self-assessment and with their assistance you can discover and develop real-life skills that will allow you to be successful today and in the future.
3. You look to a mentor for social and emotional support
Most of us work in environments that are stressful or have their own unique downsides. Friends and family may not always understand the difficulties that are particular to your field, company, or workplace. A good mentor can provide certain forms of psychosocial support. Sometimes, just having an understanding colleague can help you weather difficult spots in your work-life. A word of caution here: be careful not to let the mentoring relationship evolve into regular gripe sessions – stay postive!
4. Mentors can provide valuable career advice
A mentor is a trusted advisor and we can learn from the mistakes of someone who has had a similar journey to ours. On the other hand, a trusted advisor can also allow us to focus on valuable opportunities. Sometimes we need someone to ask us the hard questions and challenge our thoughts. Mentors can almost always help us uncover the things we didn’t know that we didn’t know ;-).
5. Mentors provide social connections to build a career network
You’ve heard that you need to network, network, and network more. Although, it is often uncomfortable to get yourself into the social circles that can help further your career. This is another area where a mentor can be extremely valuable. They’ll know people you don’t and they can introduce you to those people. Also, they are often aware of opportunities that you could miss on your own. In short, you need a mentor.
Our apprenticeship programmes are with trusted employers who share the same values as we do and therefore we are confident you will have a mentor to help you navigate your apprentice journey. Our tutors and/or partners who deliver the training side of the programme are also available to help and guide you.
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