January marks Mentoring Month. In a diverse country like Canada, mentorship becomes a crucial bridge for newcomers seeking assistance in carving out their career paths or settling into their new educational endeavors. A mentor can be a source of insight and feedback, aiding you in navigating the challenges of your journey. Mentors not only encourage mentees to seek out experiences that push their boundaries but also provide guidance, support and consistency.
Opportunities for Mentorship
Several organizations across British Columbia recognize the significance of mentorship and have established programs to connect mentors with newcomers. Here are some notable mentorship opportunities for newcomers:
Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria Career Mentorship Program:
Connects immigrants with local professionals to explore the local labour market.
Aims to help immigrant professionals understand the “unspoken rules” of the Canadian workforce.
Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IECBC) Mentor Connect:
Connects skilled immigrants with established professionals in occupation-specific mentoring relationships. Helps immigrants understand the Canadian context of their profession, workplace culture, or know how to translate their skill sets.
Finding a Mentor
If formal mentorship programs are not accessible, various avenues can still lead to valuable mentorship connections. Local libraries often provide resources on mentorship, including books and information about volunteer opportunities. Being open about your story and aspirations can also lead to unexpected mentorship opportunities within your community.
For women seeking mentors in science, technology, or entrepreneurship, there are specialized resources available, including the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SWIST). Additionally, Employment Services at WorkBC centers offer a range of programs, including job coaching, customized employment support, unpaid work experience opportunities, and entrepreneurial coaching.
Becoming a Mentor
For those interested in becoming mentors, Mentor Connector provides opportunities close to home. Additionally, Mentor Canada offers statistics on the “mentoring gap,” tips on adopting a mentoring mindset, and a mentoring quiz.
Mentoring Month in January reminds us of the transformative power of mentorship in the lives of newcomers to Canada. By embracing mentorship opportunities, both mentors and mentees contribute to building a stronger, more supportive community that transcends cultural boundaries. Whether you are seeking guidance or willing to offer it, mentorship is a pathway to personal and professional success in the mosaic of Canada’s diverse landscape.