Wonderful Response to Canterbury Tech Mentoring Programmes!

| Canterbury Tech

Article by Ian Wells – Canterbury mentoring programme volunteer

Thanks again for everyone who volunteered their time to make our mentorship programmes a success. This is our second year of running the mentorship programme and this year we held two mentorship sessions. One was aimed at mid-career professionals based on the success of the same programme last year. The second mentorship programme was new this year and supports people entering the tech workforce here in Canterbury, such as students, immigrants with work visas and people moving into Canterbury.

Both mentorship programmes were modelled on, and in coordination with, the Winter Mentor programme created by Roger Nesbitt. The keys to success of this programme are:

  • Clearly articulated purpose
  • Volunteer programme (with a small entry fee for mentees, free for mentors)
  • Limited numbers (max 21 pairs for each)
  • Agreeing to the Code of Conduct
  • Speed dating matching event
  • Algorithmic matching of mentors and mentees (everyone got matched with someone in the top half of the group, many 1-1 matches)
  • Fixed commitment – 6 one hour sessions over 12 weeks
  • Feedback collected for continuous improvement
  • Fun wrap-up event to celebrate successes
  • Keeping the whole process as simple, people-orientated and as effective as possible

We have had a wonderful response to this programme with 17 mentors and 17 mentees participated in the Mid Career Programme and 21 mentors and 21 mentees participated in our Career Start Programme. It is meeting a real and unmet need in our community. With an amazing net promoter score of 63, Canterbury Tech is committed to continue this programme in the future as an effective way to support personal and professional growth in our sector and to increase the connectivity across our community.

Many of our mentors and mentees have already asked to do it again next time – with many participants continuing to meet, after the programme has finished. This programme helped some participants get jobs, even though that was not a goal. Some mentors got together themselves during the programme to help each other. The programme encouraged people to do better by helping others.

Here are a few quotes from our feedback surveys:

My mentor has answered all of my questions. His support and encouragement helped me a lot as an immigrant that is new to the New Zealand tech space. Thank you Canterbury Tech for having this fantastic event.

[I took part to] Focus more on my personal career goals due to being so engrossed in the business lately. [My expectations were] absolutely met and exceeded.

Firstly, I wanted to be given some insight into what the industry wanted from graduates, and how I could improve with respect to my job search. My mentor helped me immensely with that. Secondly, I wanted a mentor who could act as a role model, and help me with issues pertaining to not just my job search but my life in general, and what I got I could not have asked more for. My mentor was highly supportive, and was not only a brilliant role model, but a great friend.

I’m at a point in my career where I need to start making some decisions about what the next few years are going to look like and I don’t have anyone in my team (or outside of work) that I can speak to about this as they don’t understand the industry.

I took part to learn more about the interview process and NZ culture. My mentor helped me to understand cultural differences and the interview processes in NZ.

I took part as I thought that I would be able to provide at least some useful feedback and help to a mentee. I am also looking to become more involved in the Canterbury tech ecosystem and that means getting involved.

I have been part of the Christchurch scene for a long time and involved with a bunch of startups and realised that I have a lot to offer.

(I took part) Because it has been so hard to find a job. But this programme was amazing, my mentor was amazing. She helped me with my CV, Cover Letter, interviews,… she gave me a lot of tips that helped me to be seen when I was looking for a job. And I had a lot of interviews and now I am waiting for the update.

[The programme] was amazing, my mentor was highly supportive, kind, and helpful.

This programme is really useful for immigrants who want to start their career in tech in NZ. This programme provides necessary help and info or knowledge that is required in NZ to start a tech career.

I think most of us who’ve established sustainable careers in tech owe a debt of gratitude to the system and society that gave us the opportunity – and I think Canterbury Tech’s initiative creates a platform for those of us who feel that way (all of us, I hope!).

Great process and support. I had a great mentor and wiser mentor-mentee circle to bounce ideas off. So worthwhile.

Such an underrated programme. Mentoring is instrumental to career development and I would highly recommend any take part.

Advice to others?

This program has helped me in more ways than I thought it would. It is a must for new graduates and folks entering the workforce!

Once again, this is not an event that let you get a job like finger snap but could have a bridge between you and your potential employer as your mentors would know way more people than you can think of and Christchurch is not a big city like Auckland, connection is important based on my experience.

[Canterbury] is a great place to be [and you are] lucky to be here with wonderful people help you.