The role of mentors is to aid undergraduate students by providing them with insight into their chosen professions. This entails moulding them into proficient and productive personnel for the industry by providing them with practical insight on workplace etiquette as well as imparting knowledge on career development. This prepares them for the transition from student to professional life.
During the workshops, mentors were equipped with different techniques applicable to various contexts. The facilitator explained that the methods should be applied with specific mentees in mind and not be generally applied. This is because students are individuals and therefore they learn differently. When mentors understand the specific personalities, communication styles as well as thinking patterns of an individual mentee, they are able to apply a suitable technique which creates an environment for a student to learn.
One of the techniques that was explained was the GROW model, which establishes the purposes, responsibilities and attainable goals between the mentor and mentee. Through this model, the mentor informs the student about the respective workplace culture, requirement, as well as their specific roles as interns. This enables the student to establish their working environment and how to reach their learning outcomes, in an open mentor-mentee relationship.
During the engagement, the mentors highlighted challenges they sometimes encounter with students. The main challenge that was brought to the fore was the lack of soft skills such as emotional intelligence. Therefore, it was recommended that enhancing the soft skills of students should be one of the focus areas during WIL preparation at the University.