Through mentoring, Alumni can invest in the program by supporting and enabling the success of Awardees. Mentors can contribute to the quality of Awardees’ reintegration by assisting them with advice and tips on approaching their reintegration phase. In addition, mentoring has the potential to contribute to the success of Awardees’ studies, development and the implementation of Reintegration Action Plans (RAPs).
Mentoring between individuals can take on the following forms:
- Alumni mentoring recently returned Alumni
- Alumni mentoring on-Awardees
- Senior on-Awardees mentoring freshmen who have just arrived in Australia
- Peer-to-peer mentoring where on-Awardees are linked with an Australian industry leader
The program’s objectives for mentoring are as follows:
- Exchange advice and best practices between mentors and mentees
- Exchange advice with regard to personal development and soft skills
- Provide best practices and personal guidance to female Awardees by linking them with more experienced Awardees, Alumni and professionals in similar careers (female Awardees linked to professional females in organisations)
- Assist Awardees to find their feet and adapt smoothly at their new universities and life in Australia
- Facilitate Alumni to Awardee links and Awardee-to-Awardee links in similar sectors, courses and research themes to collaborate and form Communities of Practice (COPs)
- Provide a platform for Alumni and more senior Awardees to give back to the Australia Awards by becoming volunteers who assist, mentor, guide and coach fellow Alumni/Awardees
Awardee to Awardee mentoring: A recent evaluation of the Awardee to Awardee mentoring program suggested that the senior Awardees who step up to be mentors are happy with the opportunity to not only demonstrate leadership and interpersonal skills but also are happy in assisting the next cohort of future Alumni. Almost all mentors and mentees described the mentoring program as helpful to very helpful. It seems that the most mentors provide guidance on adjustment to Awardees’ new environment, particularly with settling in Australia and with academic/campus and university affairs. The most popular form of support for mentors is to assist mentees with finding accommodation.
This is what past Awardees had to say about the program’s mentoring support:
“Her (mentor’s) greatest assistance is more on guiding me on how to approach certain courses. Some courses seem to be tough, but when I talk to her, and learn about her experience, I get comfort in learning about her experience. In some instances, I discover that in fact during her time it was worse. So that motivates me to work harder when I realise my situation is better. Regarding settling in for me, it wasn’t a struggle at all; I think I prepared myself very well mentally before I left home and my work experience came in handy. For me being here is like an extended business trip, so I’m coping very well.”
“It is always good to learn from people who have travelled the path before you. Having that moral support of talking to someone who knows what you are talking about is good. For example, I can talk to my family, but they won’t give me any solution to my problem. Therefore, the kind of mentorship support that we get, one can’t get anywhere.”
This is what a past mentor said about the program’s mentoring support:
“It feels good to know that you have helped another person (a new Awardee). And the mentees will know that they have someone whom they can rely on if they need support. Mentoring someone is part of giving back to Australia Awards. The advice makes the mentee feel that they are not alone in their Australian journey.”
Alumni to Awardee mentoring: The Alumni Associations play mainly a role in the set-up of these links. Alumni mentors primarily assist returning Awardees (who are now Alumni of the program) to re-integrate in their home countries and implement their Reintegration Action Plans (RAPs).
Peer-to-Peer mentoring: In this mentoring project the program matches Awardees (mentees) with senior industry leaders in the Extractives fraternity (mentors). The objectives of Peer-to-Peer mentoring is to:
- To advance the skills, knowledge and professional links between Awardees (mentees) /future Alumni and the Australian Extractives Industry;
- To assist Awardees as future Alumni to develop useful networks and relationships for professional initiatives in the Extractives sector and cross-cutting sectors;
- To exchange advice and good practices between mentors and mentees regarding the advancement of their professional development and to improve their reintegration experience in Africa;
- To influence mentees’ understanding of being change agents.
For more information, access the current mentoring guidelines here.