Mentoring evening trial

A Mentoring Evening for Young Structural Engineers – Auckland – 15 May 2018

At the SESOC Conference in 2017, one of the sessions involved a ‘speed mentoring’ session, in which groups of four or five young engineers sat at tables, and pairs of senior engineers rotated around to answer questions and provide advice to the young engineers on the general problems they face as graduates, what training and experience to seek, and how their skills should develop, as opposed to specific technical issues.

Based on the attendance and engagement by young engineers at that session, and in response to direct requests, SESOC recognises the need to provide general mentoring and professional development advice to graduate and intermediate structural engineers.

To start this process, an open mentoring session will be held on Tuesday 15 May 2018 at the University of Auckland. More information can be found here.

Ideally, good mentoring and professional development advice would be provided to graduate and intermediate engineers, along with comprehensive technical training, within the organisation they work for, but for a variety of reasons, this often does not happen.

Providing one-on-one mentoring requires a large number of senior engineers to be available and willing.  IPENZ ran such a scheme a few years ago, and ENZ is reinstating a similar one-on-one mentoring scheme now.  However, a one-on-one scheme may not provide the breadth of advice, varied opinions and range of experience-based anecdotes and examples that a larger group of mentors may be able to provide.

Therefore, in order to gauge the demand for SESOC to provide general mentoring and professional development advice to graduate and intermediate structural engineers, the specific topics that need most coverage, and what form the mentoring should take (one-on-one, small groups meeting with one or two mentors, or larger gatherings), SESOC has organised this initial open group mentoring session with multiple mentors.  It is intended that considerable worthwhile advice will be provided to those who attend on the night, but it will also serve as a guide as to what future format for SESOC to follow, and what content to provide.

Hopefully, the attendees will include some who also attended the ENZ one-on-one based session planned in Auckland for 1 May 2018, so a comparison can be made of the two approaches.

If, following the 15 May 2018 SESOC event, it appears that one-on-one mentoring is preferred by most, SESOC will work to dovetail its efforts to suit the ENZ scheme.  Alternatively, if large group sessions are deemed either preferable or a worthwhile complement to the ENZ scheme, SESOC will look to hold similar events around NZ in the near future.