Mentoring Platform: A Place to Offer Support and Find Understanding

2020 saw the launch of our brand new mentoring platform, which we hoped would enable members to share their knowledge, skills and experience, and ultimately support one another with their professional and personal development. Little did we know that the beginning of the year would also see the first pandemic in recent history rip across the globe, taking loved ones from us, disrupting lives and generally spreading widespread turmoil. But COVID-19 made the platform even more important for our members. It offered them a place to communicate with others in the sector, to share their fears and experiences. A place to offer support and find understanding.

It’s been genuinely inspirational to witness and we wanted to share some first-hand accounts from both mentors and mentees to show you how the platform may be able to help you.

Perhaps you’re facing a particular challenge (COVID-19 related or not) or are looking for ways to diversify your CPD given the current restrictions. Or maybe you’ve found yourself with a little more time on your hands than usual and want to give something back to the profession. Whatever it is you’re looking for, we’re sure the mentoring platform can help.

young people

Mike Alexander FCIEEM, FRSB – Mentor:

“… Mentoring is an opportunity to help raise the standards within our profession and to gain the professional recognition that we deserve. Mentoring is helping others to discover themselves, to establish and understand their own values and to recognise the importance of being guided by personal values. Mentoring is about the mentee not the mentor, but it is usually very rewarding. There is a great deal to be learnt from discussions with (usually) younger people and from listening to their experiences.

What purpose has a lifetime of working for conservation if there is no one to follow, no one to build on our achievements? Conservation must be about tomorrow. A very long time ago, a colleague told me that, as we get older, we have to learn to take our pleasure from the achievements of others. If we can help others achieve, their success is our reward. ”

Lily Copping – Mentee:

“As a student, it can be very overwhelming trying to determine what career path to follow and how to get your foot in the door. I wanted to find a mentor that I could talk to about how they succeeded in finding their first job and what their biggest professional hurdles were along the way.

I decided to reach out to a mentor whose profile particularly resonated with me due to the diversity of their career and long term commitment to the environment and conservation. We connected and organised a couple of meetings that turned out to be incredibly informative as well as grounding for me. My mentor was willing to share many of their experiences with me and in turn, asked me to think about my own motivations and what drives my personal ambition to pursue a career in the environmental sector.

I cannot express how helpful these conversations were and I am truly grateful to CIEEM for giving me the opportunity to connect with those that are willing to share their knowledge and expertise. I would highly recommend taking part in the mentoring program and can only hope to one day be able to offer my help as a mentor to someone looking for advice.”

Richard Jennings MCIEEM – Mentor:

“I decided to become an external mentor to put something back into CIEEM. I enjoyed mentoring Fiona; she was very keen which was proven by how quickly she prepared the seven competencies. It was good to have someone different to talk to and find out the details of their job role and what competencies would best suit them.

I feel that the whole process was successful, Fiona has submitted her application to become an Associate member and is awaiting a decision on this. I have agreed to help Fiona with the next step and we are going to resume teleconferences in the summer to help her move towards full membership. I would say to anyone who is thinking about it, just take the plunge.”

Fiona Scott – Mentee:

“CIEEM’s mentoring platform presented an excellent opportunity for me to engage with and be mentored by somebody from my own immediate field in order to upgrade to Associate membership. I was eager to link with somebody working in the public sector who would understand how it ‘ticks’, so when I discovered Richard, who works for the Environment Agency, on the list of mentors I was eager to connect.

I have thoroughly enjoyed being mentored by Richard – he was helpful and offered exceptional support as to how I could improve my competencies. The outbreak of Covid-19 meant that all of our communication was over the telephone and via email, both of which worked well for us.

I have recently submitted my upgrade application and I am currently waiting on the outcome. Myself and Richard continue regular contact and we have agreed that we will continue with the mentoring in order to assist my move towards Full membership.”

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