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Types of mentoring and buddying schemes and their benefits

Mentoring is a process proven to motivate and support individuals to help them make the most of work place opportunities. It can provide support, advice and guidance, motivation, build confidence and develop potential. It can be formal or informal, frequent or intermittent, and can be provided at any stage of an individual’s career.

Both mentees and mentors are more likely to commit to and benefit from a mentoring scheme where participation is voluntary. Mentoring is where someone more senior or further along their career path supports and guides a less experienced person. Buddying is where someone of a similar level of experience/background/age offers help and advice to a colleague.

There are mentoring schemes available for female apprentices such as the Equate Modern Apprentices Mentoring Project.

One to one mentoring

  • A focused approach driven by the mentee’s personal objectives and development.
  • Works well as an internal scheme set up by an employer.
  • A good approach to identify issues that apprentices may not want to share in a group or with their peers.
  • Mentors and mentees will need training and on-going support.
  • Mentees and mentors should enter an agreement at the start of their mentoring relationship.
  • Networking and training events can be part of the programme of activities.
  • Mentors can act as role models, trainers, and progression coaches depending on skills.
  • A good match is critical and an ‘opt-out’ should be in place in case the match is not a good fit.

Group mentoring

  • Group mentoring is less intensive and more practical.
  • This approach tends to work best with younger, less professional mentees and is suitable for apprentices.
  • A trained mentor can facilitate, support and encourage the group to discuss issues and experiences.
  • There is opportunity to bring in other role models to work with the group, and to do practical activities.

Informal mentoring

  • Not everyone wants to enter into a formal, structured mentoring relationship.
  • Informal mentoring can be flexible and spontaneous.
  • Role models can support and interact with apprentices without the need to set targets.
  • Minimum supervision and training is required.

Peer mentoring

  • Peer mentoring offers opportunity for apprentices to be mentored by other apprentices and early career employees.
  • This can be used for small groups of peers or in a one to one situation.
  • Peer mentoring offers individuals chance to alternate as mentee or mentor, developing both skills sets.
  • Develops peer group contacts and networking opportunities for participants.
  • A more senior/experienced mentor can support and facilitate the relationships.


  • Where mentors and mentees are separated by distance, shift patterns or practicalities, e-mentoring can be a good option.
  • A range of methods can be used (e-mail, skype, face time) that will allow relationships to be developed and communication to be facilitated.
  • An agreement needs to be drawn up and clear guidelines for frequency and timings of contact to be determined.
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