Everyone can benefit from a helping hand now and again. Sometimes, that helping hand takes the form of a mentor.

A mentor is someone who has been there before you and can guide you through that next stage of your life or career. Many businesses uses mentoring as a way of training and developing staff. For example, someone who has recently been made a manager might start a mentorship to help them to quickly and efficiently learn the best way of doing things. This is explained further in Togethers user case on new managers, should you want more information. Here at Catholic Centre for Immigrants, our Career Transitions Program recently had several participants in the ITP Mentorship Program. ITP recently held a gala bringing together mentors, mentees, community partners and volunteers to celebrate the program and mark Canada’s 150th birthday.

Michelle James, Job Developer with Career Transitions, answered a few questions about mentorship and the benefits it provides.

Q. What is the mentorship program?

A. The ITP Mentorship Program helps create and connect our internationally trained health professionals with learning opportunities in health care in the National Capital Region. The goal is to help participants transition into employment through skills and experience gained during their mentorship.

Q. What are some of the things participants learn from their mentors?

A. Participants work alongside a professional who mentors them throughout the placement. Participants get hands-on experience in the workplace, access to workshops and resources, and gain skills in a placement that is related to their profession. Health care is a particularly challenging sector to enter as an internationally trained professional. The opportunity to be mentored in the workplace allows clients an opportunity to learn, network, and contribute to the organization and the greater community. The exposure and experience our clients gain in community health care settings are invaluable and help them achieve their career goals. They also gain a valuable professional reference from an organization which is essential in finding a job. Workplaces need to be a safe space for their employees, so raising awareness of how a workplace can accommodate new recruits is important. If a workplace is showing unsafe practices, causing harm to the staff, then a whistleblower attorney can be on hand to help them expose these acts, promoting a safer workplace and showing other businesses how not to behave. Hopefully, mentorships such as this can delve into that and make sure there is correct communication throughout. Many workplaces do focus on communication as they feel that it’s important to get the opinions of workers too. In some workplaces, a questionnaire may be passed around to gather some feedback on how to make the workplace a better environment, for example. It’s important that all staff answer this honestly, allowing businesses to make these changes.

Q. Who is eligible to participate?

A. This program is available to newcomers with no work experience in their profession. Placements are usually three months in length and participants must apply and interview for each placement, similar to applying for a job. You can find out more about eligibility criteria and the different mentorship placements available on their website.

Q. How has mentorship helped participants in the Career Transitions Program?

A. Career Transitions and the ITP Program have been collaborating partners for several years and the benefits to our clients are significant. Aside from the skills, experience and professional references gained, the chance to network professionally is also invaluable.

Learn more about Career Transitions.