The value of mentorship for young graduates

14 June 2016 Vuyo Kobokoane, PPS
Vuyo Kobokoane, Executive Head: PPS Foundation.

Vuyo Kobokoane, Executive Head: PPS Foundation.

Results from the 2016 Deloitte Millennials Survey revealed that 63% of millennials believe that their leadership skills are not being fully developed in their current job. The survey shows that respondents realise that leadership skills are important, however many feel that businesses are not doing enough to ensure that a new generation of business leaders are being created.

Vuyo Kobokoane, Executive Head: PPS Foundation, states that mentorship provides new recruits with the necessary assistance to achieve their personal goals, do daily tasks to the best of their ability while also instilling a sense organisational loyalty in the employee. “Young graduates who enter the workforce for the first time should seek to find a suitable mentor who will be able to assist them to grow in their professional capacity, develop their leadership skills and give them valuable advice about their career.”

”There is no better way for newly employed graduates to assimilate themselves in their chosen field than through first-hand exposure and access to practicing professionals in that field. However, many young graduates may find it daunting to search for, approach and interact with seasoned professionals in an effort to identify a potential mentor,” states Kobokoane.

According to her mentorship plays a critical role in assisting new recruits to settle into new and unfamiliar roles, regardless whether it is at leadership level or not. “I believe that mentorship helps employees to explore themselves and by acknowledging their key strengths and areas for growth they can stimulate their self-confidence and emotional intelligence. “

She states that while there has been an increase in the number of graduates that tertiary institutions produce on an annual basis, job-readiness has not been fully leveraged by many students. “This gap between job-readiness and employment becomes a great barrier for entry once young graduates are absorbed into the job market as they struggle to match their skillset or interests with the job requirements. This can sometimes be attributed to a lack of structured induction and orientation into the business environment for young graduates with no previous work experience”.

“A structured mentorship programme coupled with ongoing career advice can play a meaningful role to bridge this gap. When clear expectations and objectives for both the mentor and mentee are put in place, this relationship can be very rewarding and impactful for both parties,” states Kobokoane.

She however stresses that in order for the mentorship relationship to be mutually beneficial, the mentee must be the driving force behind the programme. “That in itself will be a sign of determination and ambition of the mentee which are very important qualities of a great leader.”

“PPS has launched the PPS Foundation, which will focus on improving access to education, in particular in science, technology, engineering and maths disciplines, to facilitate an increase in the number of graduates and graduate professionals within these sectors. It will also promote partnerships with like-minded organisations pursuing similar objectives and outcomes. Among these initiatives will be a dynamic mentorship programme aimed at the country’s young graduate professionals which will be facilitated through our Professionals Connect portal,” says Kobokoane

The PPS Foundation acknowledges the art and science of proper mentorship as one of the critical channels to support young graduates, especially when they first enter corporate employment, she states.

“We have a wealth of professional members, from which to tap into and partner with for their expert advice to make this programme possible. Our members will give of their valuable time, and offer access to their practices and businesses as a learning environment for these graduates in which they will have the opportunity to interact with other like-minded professionals to sufficiently prepare these graduates for the workplace,” concludes Kobokoane.

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