Career Access Mentoring Program: Industry Information
Leading the way for upcoming professionals.
Do you remember what it was like to start your first job out of University? The challenges, the highlights and the lessons learned since then? Now’s your chance to share this knowledge! Help students prepare for their career – be a career mentor.
Mentoring is a learning relationship between individuals focused on the mentee’s development and goals. As someone who has “been there before”, you will be able to assist current students in developing the confidence, knowledge and skills required to make a successful transition into industry. Career mentoring can result in increased knowledge of the current job market, confidence and lifelong career management skills.
The programs that you can get involved in vary:
- Our flagship program Career Access Mentoring involves at least four meetings over approximately two months, and focuses on a student’s professional development journey.
- The ‘A Coffee With…’ program involves a single one-on-one meeting with a student, and is a less formal opportunity to share knowledge in a specific area.
Participation is based on your availability and student demand. Access our Industry Portal to "register" with Career Services and then "Create your Mentor Profile" to stay informed about future mentoring opportunities.
Am I eligible to be a mentor?
We welcome expressions of interest from all industry professionals. You can be based in Adelaide, interstate or overseas. You do not have to be an alumni of the University to be involved.
Note that we work on a student demand basis; your participation is subject to a suitable student match.
What are the participation requirements?
Time commitment to mentoring depends on the program you are involved in. Please note that all of our programs are conducted in a volunteer capacity.
Mentors in the Career Access Mentoring program must:
- Review program induction material
- Attend a minimum of four 1-hour meetings over an approximate two-month period with your student mentee(s)
- Complete a program evaluation/feedback form
Mentors in the 'A Coffee With...' program must:
- Attend a single 1-1.5 hour meeting with a student
- Complete a program evaluation/feedback form
Beyond these requirements, it is up to you to offer any additional meetings, individual support or access other professional development activities if you feel it would benefit your student(s).
What are the benefits of mentoring?
As a mentor, you benefit through:
- Personal satisfaction from helping and watching someone grow and develop
- Enhancing leadership and communication skills
- Demonstrating coaching and personal development abilities
- Giving back to your profession and community
- Networking with other mentors and future/current professionals
- The opportunity to reflect on your own career and personal aspirations
- Being recognised and appreciated for your expertise
Your organisation can benefit through:
- Increased visibility on campus
- Contribution to the development of emerging professionals
- Identify future talent for your organisation
- Up to date information on educational trends and university student culture
Professional development opportunities for participating employees
What are the responsibilities of mentors?
As a mentee-driven program, students will be asked to prepare for each meeting, set meeting objectives and provide progress reports where required.
Based on your mentees needs, your role will be to facilitate their development by acting as a guide, advisor or coach. This can include assisting students to determine their career goals, strengths and weaknesses. It can also involve sharing insights about your role, industry or work experience.
Who do I mentor?
Mentees involved in our programs must be current students (or within one year of graduation) and must have completed at least one year of study. Your matches with students are based on a number of criteria gathered during registration, including academic background, career goals and program objectives.
In Career Access Mentoring, mentors will be matched with two students in a group mentoring capacity. The benefits of group mentoring in this scenario are clear:
- Provides a forum for students who might otherwise initially be uncomfortable with the level of intimacy in 1-on-1 mentoring
- Mentors can use peer-to-peer relationships to empower students and influence them positively
- Enables learning from the experiences of others and benefiting from different perspectives
- Allows mentees to focus on developing professional relationship skills
- Allows mentors to develop leadership, effective communication, negotiation and people management skills
What is expected at meetings?
The structure of the meetings will vary according to each participants’ needs. Students will prepare discussion topics and activities to assist in progressing toward their goals; they will also be asked to prepare specific questions for each meeting, and share these with you beforehand.
Face-to-face meetings are fundamental to the mentoring relationship. They should take place in a public or professional location that is mutually convenient for both parties, such as your workplace, a local café or university campus.
For remote mentors not located in Adelaide, all meetings can take place over video conferencing technologies like Skype or Google Hangouts; the only requirement in these cases is that you hold these meetings in a quiet location.
What support will I receive?
Careers Service staff are available to assist you with questions, guidance and referrals throughout the program. Students are equally supported by all Careers Service staff. All participants will be briefed and receive a guide at the commencement of the program with tips for the mentoring relationship, interpersonal skills development and communication techniques.
What skills do I need as a mentor?
The mentoring relationship works best when participants can build rapport with one another whilst still completing program objectives. To this end, mentors need:
- Strong communication skills
- Ability to generate trust
- A willingness to invest time and effort into the mentoring relationship and their mentees development
- Patience and tolerance
- Ability to recognise and encourage the student’s unique potential
- Handle conflict effectively
- To value their organisation and their work
- A desire to share information and act as a resource
Is there a cost to participate?
There no fees associated with this program. Mentors and mentees are volunteers. You may incur incidental costs such as travel to and from meetings etc. These costs cannot be reimbursed by the university.
Can I still participate if I live outside of Adelaide?
Yes. Mentors from all over Australia and the world are welcome in this program. If you are based outside of the Adelaide region and have difficulty travelling to meet your students, you can use online video technologies like Skype or Google Hangouts to achieve face-to-face meetings. You will need to make this known during your registration.
I am away for some time during the year. Can I still participate?
If you are able to commit to at least four meetings during a given round of the program, then we would love to have you involved. The timing of your absence is something you should make known during registration, and can be discussed with the Careers Project Officer.
Do I need to provide work experience to the students?
No. Our mentoring programs are intended to assist students with their career development rather than job training. Whilst work experience or employment may be a future outcome of your mentoring relationship, this is not a requirement or expectation for our programs. Students will be made aware of this.
What happens at the end of the program?
Any relationship requires closure. At your final meeting, you should discuss how and in what capacity your relationship may continue – e.g. only in a mentoring capacity or as professional contacts. It is up to you to decide and set this boundary.
You will also be asked to evaluate the program and your own participation, to ensure its ongoing effectiveness.