What do you want to achieve?
Are you looking for general career development or a more focused task-based approach? Being clear on this will help you decide on who the most appropriate mentors will be.
Is it just for new staff members, or will you open it to all employees? Traditionally, mentoring was between an experienced engineer and an apprentice or graduate. Today it’s used by people at all levels to grow and progress.
Who are the mentors?
Many mentors will volunteer for the role, which means they might need training. The IET provides mentor training which can be tailored to your company's needs. If you’re building mentoring in as part of a wider scheme, ensure that engineers have time in their schedules to accommodate this.
How are mentees and mentors paired?
The next step is correctly matching mentors to mentees. Depending on the size of your mentor base, you can pair on a particular skill, experience level or for more practical reasons like site, location or desired professional registration category.
How will it run within the workplace?
Someone like an HR manager or scheme coordinator should oversee the scheme at a distance. Each mentor/mentee pairing should discuss a plan of action, which sets out their roles and the mentee’s goals. Pairings can last from a few months to a few years, depending on what the mentee wants to achieve. While not required, it’s suggested that sessions are recorded to map progress and plan new goals. The IET’s Career Manager is a great tool for logging progress and planning for the future.
Make it official
Once you’ve decided how the scheme will run, write a manual that covers all procedures and explains how the mentoring scheme works. If you’re setting it up as part of an accredited professional development scheme, don’t forget to add this to the scheme manual as well. A regular workshop for mentors will allow them to share experiences and best practice, and you should arrange mentor training regularly to ensure they remain at the top of their game.