Andrew Diong, Lead Mechanical Engineer at MSP Engineering, spoke to us recently about his mentoring experience with the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program (KMP). Natalie Bravo, a qualified engineer from Venezuela, joined KMP as a mentee to understand employment strategies needed to successfully get work in her field in Australia.
Natalie has several years’ experience working internationally as an engineer in Argentina. However, when she arrived in Australia she struggled to gain employment in her field and her career stalled. With 25 years of engineering experience, Andrew was the perfect mentor for Natalie.
Andrew became a KMP mentor because it provided him an opportunity to contribute to the community and the engineering profession. He liked the structure of the Program which includes screening and pairing of participants to ensure a suitable mentee-mentor partnership. ‘Mentees really benefit from their Mentor’s experience’, said Andrew.
When asked what the greatest value he gained from the program, Andrew replied, ‘I felt that being able to help a fellow Engineer is very satisfying in several aspects. Topping the list, it increases the learned resource to the Profession and in contributing to the community. It also helps an individual and more often, their family, to fulfil their goals in migrating to this lucky country.’
His passion about the benefits of mentoring, especially within the field of engineering, was obvious when Andrew advocated for more engineers take up the role of mentor to skilled newcomers. ‘Other professionals should start mentoring, especially in Engineering, where a team approach is almost always required to achieve the successful engineering endeavours we see around us. The more talent in the team, the better.’
Andrew shared his Top 5 Tips for professionals to consider when working with a Mentee.
Common knowledge: What may seem ‘common industry knowledge’ for you (the Mentor) may be the missing information that your Mentee needs to effectively bring their experience to light.
Knowing and Not knowing: Be mindful of not knowing what your Mentee doesn’t know. Prompt your Mentee to explore deeper into their challenges so they can arrive at a more effective outcome.
Goal setting: It’s important to have an agreed goal at the start of the Mentor/Mentee relationship. There is limitation on what the relationship can yield despite the large amount possible benefits.
Knowledge sharing: Enjoy and learn from the mentoring experience. I particularly enjoyed learning about overseas Engineering culture.
Increase cultural competence: My cultural competency improved heaps through the mentoring experience. It helped build my own awareness which I was able to apply to colleagues I work with who are from different cultural background as well.
For Andrew, being part of a catalyst for the Natalie’s realisation of her potential was a very rewarding experience. For Natalie, the mentoring process increased her understanding of the Australian workplace culture, making industry network contacts and improved her job application processes. As a result of being a mentee in KMP, Natalie succeeded in her goal to gain employment as an engineer. A win-win for both Mentor and Mentee.
Come along to the Engineers Australia – Cultural Competency Training on 18 March to hear local engineers talk about their KMP mentoring experiences.