Youth welfare and education experts, trainers, mentors and mentor training programme coordinators from eight European countries (Romania, Italy, Norway, Slovenia, Lithuania, Croatia, Switzerland and Germany) came together for a two-day working meeting in Sicily, Italy, on Feb 6-7, 2014, within the framework of the LeGMe Learning Partnership project supported by the European Union (2013-1-RO1-GRU06-295651). The meeting was hosted by Centro Studi ed Iniziative Europeo (CESIE) in the wonderfully vibrant city of Palermo.
Having collected information about promising practices in mentoring programs with a focus on supporting disenfranchised young children and youth, the eight teams came together to share their findings and analyze the mentors’ training/ coaching programmes developed and implemented within these identified programmes.
The analysis led to the following conclusions:
- The generic purpose of the mentor training / coaching programmes (MTCP) is to get the mentors / coaches ready for delivering the mentoring programme;
- MTCP duration and complexity depend on:
- what the wider project aims for the mentees to achieve (e.g. school success; improved social skills; empowerment of youth, etc.)
- Whether the mentors are employed as such (i.e. also have administrative responsibilities) or are volunteers;
- How detailed and carefully constructed the mentoring programme curriculum is (if there is one) and whether it includes mentee assessment (initial, on-going, final);
- Whether the mentors are involved in the selection of the mentees or not;
- Whether the training of mentors comes before being accepted as a mentor or after that.
- For successful mentor performance, follow-ups to the training and periodic support activities such as coaching for the mentors are necessary.
Based on the above findings, the teams then engaged in drafting the framework and guidelines for the development of the new mentor training/coaching programmes to be piloted during the project. They considered the mentoring programme from the perspectives of significant stakeholders (mentees, mentors, mentor trainers, mentor training coordinators, parents, community representatives, public and private institutions with an interest in such programmes, etc.), and – from these standpoints – listed the issues that need to be kept in mind when developing a successful mentoring programme. Using the ideas collected in the meeting, as an immediate next step in the project, the Swiss partner will finalize the framework and guidelines for all the partners to refer to as they develop their own mentor training/coaching programmes.
This meeting brought the partnership closer to accomplishing its goal within LeGMe, which is to prepare the human and pedagogical resources for the partners to be able to establish effective mentoring programmes in support of their respective communities’ adults and young children with a view to empowering them for meaningful, responsible contribution to the community’s welfare. For further information about the project, visit: https://mentorineurope.wordpress.com/ and/or https://www.facebook.com/pages/LEGME-Project/54281463579864