In January of this year, Connect Mentors started a partnership with Mentee organisation, Quest Professional — a successful business college based in South West London. Quest Professional focuses on equipping A-Level and University leavers with the business acumen, employability and interview skills required to fast-track them into the workplace. For this reason we on-boarded Quest Professional as a Mentee Partner Organisation to collaborate in helping their students gain the knowledge, understanding and opportunities needed to start their chosen professional career via our Mentor network.
The way that the Connect Mentors social recruitment platform works is by matching employees from progressive organisations, as Mentors, with Mentees who are seeking insight, access and opportunities to build their personal career path, via our intelligent algorithm. The platform facilitates the placement of new talent into participating companies through a network of long-lasting professional connections. This relationship-oriented approach not only provides a direct way for Mentees to engage with potential employers, but also enhances the retention rate of employees discovered through the platform.
THE FORMAT OF THE EVENT
Mentors briefed, Mentees ready, Connect Mentors team prepped; we headed to Quest Professional HQ to introduce the Connect Mentors platform to the students and explain the format of the evening.
Our speed-mentoring events enable one Mentor, covering their industry of expertise, to meet a maximum of 4 Mentees (or students) per table for 10 minutes before moving to the next table of Mentees. A very simple format, which is an effective way for each student to have face-to-face time with a Mentor, without being pressured to ask questions in a group setting and removing the intimidation that can be felt in a one-to-one exchange.
The Mentors we invited to the evening were David Fitzgerald — covering Insurance, Sandra Berko — covering HR, Tony Hughes — covering IT/Tech, Michael Somerville — covering Journalism and Anna Kennedy — covering Marketing. We had a fantastic blend of Mentors and took into account the industries that we felt would be interesting for the students to learn more about.
The purpose of placing Mentors in front of Mentees is to not only facilitate a live conversation, away from our online community, but also to have natural conversation where questions arise and interjections take place. This is to make sure that Mentees come away feeling that they have got everything they wanted to get out of speaking to each Mentor.
The online platform creates the first connection and match between two like-minded people. However taking the relationship offline and encouraging conversation means that both parties relax, talk comfortably and new stories and insights come out from natural conversation; therefore reinforcing the Connect Mentors relationship-oriented approach. The benefits of being relationship-focused, rather than transactional, enables a deeper and longer lasting engagement between parties, as both see long-term value in working with one another.
The beauty of being a Mentor is talking about what has genuinely happened throughout a career — the good, the bad, the ugly, the twists, the turns and the growth, both personally and professionally.
Connect Mentors is not another platform just to rewrite or re-post a CV — it’s about telling the accurate and truthful path that your career has taken. Warts and all! The Connect Mentors community is jam packed full of people who have interesting careers, and haven’t necessarily stuck to the ‘right’ or ‘clear’ or ‘direct’ career path. They have made their professional journey their own, they have come out on top and will continue to forge their own path.
Throughout the two hour event, the Connect Mentors team walked round encouraging conversation or made reference to the prompt-questions available on the tables, to spark conversation topics and make sure that the students got the most out of their engagements with the Mentors. The Mentors spoke on each of the five tables, explaining their career paths to date and their future aspirations, as well as advising on the best routes on how to enter into their industries.
The results from the feedback forms, completed by the Quest Professional students, revealed to the Connect Mentors team that Mentees wanted more industries and more Mentors! This was fantastic feedback for the Connect Mentors team and showed that those students who attended found value in the event.
We look forward to collaborating on the next event, in partnership with Quest Professional, and to helping their next cohort of students to navigate the start of their career.
The Connect Mentors team
Written by Heli Metsmaa-Petersons, Operations Director.
More about Connect Mentors…
Connect Mentors is managed by Aerate Inc (www.aerateinc.com). Aerate is a social enterprise that creates and develops scaleable concepts that connect and support people through online platforms and applications. Aerate’s concepts are all interlinked and complementary, providing solutions to support people professionally and personally. Each is designed and built around a strongly intuitive user experience to enhance engagement with the product.
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