Mentoring--the story so far.(Training and Development)

Ashcroft International Business School have welcomed 17 delegates from Networking Women in the Fire Service to participate in a series of mentor training and development workshops. Delegates from across the UK wanted to be part of this pilot programme of mentor training and as such bring with them a wealth of experience and insight into the Fire Service through what is a time of transformational change


THE DEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY of a programme of mentoring training and support has been an ongoing activity of the Fire Service Research and Training Unit within APU throughout 2004.

Throughout this period I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity of working with Xanthe Bevan, who has provided much insight and guidance into what members of NWFS really wanted from a formalised mentoring system.

The focus of the programme has been to underpin what is often an existing, yet informal, process of mentoring which exists within the Fire Service. Very often this informal mentoring takes the form of a friend or colleague to whom we turn to for advice, support and guidance.

As with any informal process there are limitations to what can realistically be achieved; mentoring in this sense is no different. The ability to seek advice is easy when you know who has the information you seek--an organisation is not intimidating when you are part of the culture and career decisions are often dearer when all the options are made available.

Key issues such as planning a mentoring session, identifying objectives for the sessions and considering the expectations of both participants throughout the mentor/mentee relationship were raised during these interactive sessions.

How Do We Take This Forward?

Since June 2004 AIBS have been running a number of two-day workshops on behalf of NWFS, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and London Fire Brigade to introduce the ideas which support the notion of mentoring, the processes which can be adopted throughout the mentor/mentee relationship and the opportunities for overall organisational development.

The workshops held at the AIBS building part of the Anglia Polytechnic University Campus at Chelmsford have been managed throughout by Susan Hughes (Principal Lecturer in Business Psychology).

Susan's approach to the workshops has been based upon the development of a partnership based approach to the process.

By making the overall process interactive the intention is to identify the exacting needs of delegates and respond through the delivery of training and development content which meets these needs. …

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