What is a mentor?
In Greek mythology, Mentor was the name of a trusted adviser. When the Greek hero Odysseus left his kingdom to fight in the Trojan War, he left Mentor to teach and guide his sons. Mentor’s advice was so highly-regarded, that today, a mentor is anyone with wisdom or experience who offers advice or direction to someone in need of guidance.
A mentee or protégé is the person that a mentor helps. The mentor-mentee relationship is usually a one-on-one relationship that can be informal or formalized through an affiliation with a program or organization. Mentorships are particularly useful for people who are inexperienced– youth, young professionals, and new immigrants are excellent candidates to reap the benefits of mentorship programs.
Youth are one the main groups that benefit from mentorships. According to a Canadian study conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health , mentorships between a child mentee and adult mentor have a positive impact on developing the mentee’s social and academic attitudes.
For example, mentored boys experience fewer negative emotions (like fear, stress or anxiety), display fewer anti-social behaviours (like bullying, cheating, fighting and losing their temper), and value academics more than non-mentored boys. Similarly, mentored girls are more likely to display stronger social skills and be confident in their academic abilities.
Young Professionals Mentorships
Adults can also benefit from mentorship relationships. Learning the ropes at a new career or in new industry can be difficult. A mentor-mentee relationship between an experienced employee and a new employee can make the learning curve a little more manageable.
According to at least one case study, mentoring young professionals can have benefits for both the mentee and the mentor. The technology company Sun Microsystems compared the career trajectories of 1000 employees who had participated in mentorship programs with employees who had not. They found that there were benefits for both the mentors and the mentees:
- Mentors and mentees were 20% more likely to receive a raise than people who did not participate in mentoring programs
- Mentees were promoted 5 times as often as non-mentored employees
- Mentors were 6 times more likely to move on to a bigger job than other senior employees
Skilled Immigrant Mentorships
When an immigrant enters a foreign labour market they face all of the same challenges as a young professional, plus the additional task of navigating a new culture with customs, policies and regulations that they may not be used to.
Skilled immigrants make good mentees for professional mentorship relationships according to a report by Allies Canada. The study, which compared the economic standings of skilled immigrants before and after participating in mentorship program, found that skilled immigrants who become mentees experience significant economic improvement after mentorship.
In terms of employment and type of employment, skilled immigrants show significant improvement after mentorship:
- 73% of mentees were unemployed at the start of mentoring vs. 19% twelve months after mentorship
- 13% of mentees were working full time at the start of mentorship vs. 65% twelve months after mentorship
- 17% of mentees were working in their chosen field at the start of mentoring vs. 71% twelve months after mentorship
Skilled immigrants also experience a boost in salary after mentorship:
- The average full-time earnings for a mentee increased 62% after mentorship ($36,905 vs $59,944)
- The average overall earnings for all mentees increased 175% after mentorship ($16,088 vs $44,262)
Whether the goal is to learn basic social skills, professional development, or securing economic stability, mentorship programs offer benefits for everyone involved. If you or someone you know is interested in taking part in a mentorship program, consider searching in your local community for interest-specific programs or get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.