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Finding time to mentor in an RTO environment

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mentoringWe all know how difficult it is to find the time for our daily work duties, managing compliance, and running a business in a very competitive market, so when are we going to find time to mentor others within the RTO? Why do people mentor? And more importantly, how do they do it?

The answers to these questions are as unique as people themselves, yet there are some common factors. People become involved in mentoring so they can learn a new skill, advance their career, share their experiences and knowledge, and expand their personal networks, just to name a few examples.

A mentoring program could support an RTO's staff members to develop further skills and knowledge in areas such as: adult learning, competency-based assessment, quality and compliance, and create a framework to promote continuous professional development.

It is human nature to want to improve. Our ongoing need for knowledge drives us to engage in relationships that can support our growth. Mentoring programs could contribute to create an integrated approach to learning within an RTO's workplace that effectively addresses the staff's skills and knowledge needs.

How do successful organisations implement mentoring?
The answer comes down to commitment. People who are committed to mentoring make time for it because of the value it holds for them. They make the relationship work by making it a high priority, giving it the attention it needs and deserves. Mentoring requires successful relationships between mentors and mentees, and therefore teamwork to make sure the goals for the relationship are realised.

Establishing clear goals and scope for mentoring relationships are vital to help the RTO assess the contribution of the mentoring program to the performance objectives and the business bottom line.

The following questions can help you determine the scope of the mentoring program and estimate how much time and resources it will require:
• What are the priorities for mentoring programs?
• How can workplace tasks be blended in mentoring relationships within the RTO?
• What are the reporting lines for mentoring programs?
• How can time constraints be accommodated for mentoring relationships?
• How can mentoring programs support staff's professional development needs?
• Do senior staff members have the skills, knowledge, and motivation to engage in a mentoring program?

To get started, identify and assess how your staff members perceive the value of mentoring relationships to support performance and achieve the RTO's objectives today and in the future. Depending upon what you discover, consider starting with mentoring programs to address specific and measurable performance issues. Evaluate the success of those programs, and share the evaluation results with all staff members, before you promote further mentoring programs.

Mentoring is a two-way relationship. If you successfully engage mentors, who have honest enthusiasm, in relationships with mentees, you will promote accountability in professional development within all staff members.

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