As part of the New Professionals Programme (NPP), each year mid-career and senior records and archives professionals from around the world are asked to consider serving as Mentors for Active NPs (those new professionals selected to actively participate in the NPP for the year).
A call for applicants is announced, and mid-career and more experienced professionals are encouraged to participate, with both able to offer valuable insights for the NPs, particularly around issues of career progression, continuing education, and professional development.
What Does a Mentor Do?
The Mentor commits about 4-8 hours a month to liaise with and support an Active NP over the year they are in the NPP. The goal is to offer support and advice on professional and career-oriented issues, to enhance the new professional’s experience with and understanding of the records and archives profession and various career and professional development opportunities. Mentors may also review draft articles or reports written by the Active NP for publication on the ICA’s website, in FLASH, or in another appropriate ICA publication.
When and How Do the Mentor and Mentee Communicate?
Mentors should be able to commit sufficient time to provide an average of about 4-8 hours of contact a month with their Mentee over the year or so in which they are paired together. However, it is recognized that communications will ebb and flow over the course of the period in which the Mentor and Mentee are officially paired, and no formal communications schedule is required.
It is up to the Mentor and Mentee to decide the best way to communicate. Options may include face-to-face meetings if they live in the same city or attend the same conferences or events, but most often communications happen by email, text, Zoom, or phone. Communications schedules are entirely up to the Mentor and Mentee, though it is hoped that they can contact each other at least once a month. Throughout the experience, the goal is to engage in a process of constructive feedback, information sharing, and mutual learning.
In addition to these one-on-one discussions, group meetings might be proposed by the Coordinator for the Mentorship Programme to all mentors and mentees in order to offer shared support, without any obligation to attend.
What Topics are Discussed?
The Mentor and Mentee can choose whatever topics they wish. There is no formal agenda for communications. However, to support the relationship, the ICA has put together a list of potential questions that the Mentor and Mentee might ask each other, particularly as they get to know each other. This list will be made available to each Mentor and Mentee at the start of the mentoring relationship.
What Are the Benefits for the Mentor?
- Sharing experiences, ideas, and skills
- Learning about new professional activities and ideas
- Contributing to the development of the profession
- Enjoying the satisfaction of passing on valuable professional knowledge and experience.
What Are the Benefits for the Mentee?
- Sharing ideas with and receiving guidance from an experienced professional
- Learning to give and receive opinions and ideas with professional colleagues
- Receiving constructive feedback on ICA New Professional projects and activities
- Expanding professional contacts in the field.
Who Can Be a Mentor?
Ideally, the Mentor will be an archives and records management professional, such as a line archivist, manager, or educator. Both mid-career and more experienced professionals are encouraged to participate.
Mentors would need to feel comfortable discussing issues of career progression, continuing education, and professional development, and providing constructive feedback to the Active NP on their project work and any publication drafts they share.
Because Category B membership is specifically for designated representatives of regional, national, or international associations, which could have hundreds of their own members, it is not logistically possible for the ICA to include as Mentors professionals who belong to Category B member organizations.
How Much Experience Does a Mentor need?
The goal of the NPP is to help support new professionals as they start their careers. We welcome applications from any ICA members – working, volunteer, or retired – who have an interest in supporting new professionals.
Many of the best Mentor relationships are with working professionals in ‘mid-career’ – that is, with 5-10 years’ experience in the field. These mid-career professionals can offer advice on archival and records management questions and on more practical career matters, such as planning career moves, applying for positions, and identifying opportunities for further training. Applications from mid-career professionals are welcome; we encourage you to share your ideas and experiences with the Active NPs.
What is the Mentoring Programme schedule?
A call for applications is released each year, in anticipation of the announcement of the current Active NPs. The applications are open for around a month, before a review process is undertaken to match the Active NPs and mentors.
Once a pairing is made, it is anticipated that the Mentor and Mentee relationship will last for a year, after which the official Mentor-Mentee relationship will end, though it is hoped that lasting relationships will develop, enhancing the professional lives of both Mentor and Mentee.
I am interested in Mentoring an Active NP what should I Do Next?
If you have more questions about the Mentoring Programme, feel free to contact the Coordinator for the Mentoring Programme at Mentors@ica.org.