MENTORING FOR ALL: Employee mentorship program builds community and support for new PVNC employees
When Jaime Burke was hired as a secretary at PVNC, there was a lot to learn – and fast.
Fortunately, thanks to the Board’s Mentoring For All program, Burke was paired with a mentor, an experienced secretary she could shadow and who has been there to show her the ropes and answer her questions.
“Having a mentor has been wonderful,” said Burke, who is a secretary at Holy Family CES in Bowmanville. “She has been a great match for me. Being a newbie can sometimes be very overwhelming and it was so nice to have someone to reach out to in real time.”
Renie Place has been a PVNC secretary for 18 years. She works at St. Patrick CES in Peterborough and is currently mentoring four secretaries, including Burke, through the Mentoring For All program.
“As a mentor, I feel proud that I’ve built some friendships and camaraderie with these four new secretaries and that they feel comfortable to call me and ask questions,” she said.
Mentoring For All matches all new employees with a suitable mentor in their job area. The employee support program enables new and experienced staff to accompany each other and create a sense of belonging and welcoming at PVNC. Its aim is to promote leadership development, capacity building and a distinct recognition of all employee groups.
“PVNC continues to embrace a ‘Mentoring For All’ vision that supports staff, in all levels and roles within the school board, to be supported through mentorship,” explained learning consultant Jen Wright. “Mentorship fosters growth, development and the well-being of our staff and connects to our calling as people of Catholic faith. Formal and informal mentoring relationships have proven to be a benefit to both the mentor and mentee.”
Having an experienced mentor available for a quick phone call or email response can make a huge difference in a new employee’s transition, Burke said.
“It has been nice to have someone to pick up the phone or send a quick email and have a really prompt response when you’re working on something,” Burke said. “In terms of my professional development, I think that I’ve come a long way. If I hadn’t had that mentor in the early days, I think it would have been more difficult.”
The mentorship program has the added bonus of helping to ensure consistent practice from location to location, Place said.
“It’s important to have consistent practice with all secretaries so that when we move from school to school…you know the job and it’s more about learning the environment,” she said.
And more often than not, Place said she learns as much as she gives.
“I’ve learned that mentees are mentors as well and they don’t even realize it. We’re all learning together and they have great ideas and vision. I would love to see more mentors in the system.”