Mentoring can be an intimidating word. People often believe they don’t have enough time, experience, or skills to be an effective mentor. The truth is, mentoring takes place every day. You’ve likely mentored someone — or multiple people — before. Mentoring is as simple as being willing to offer your experience and guidance to help less experienced members navigate the Union and the construction industry. Anyone can be a mentor, from apprentices to retirees.
January is National Mentoring Month, and here are five reasons to make mentoring a priority in the new year.
1) Mentoring passes on knowledge of your trade to less experienced individuals.
It’s easy to forget, but at one point we were all new to the construction industry and perhaps a little daunted by it. You’ve learned a lot since you were new to the industry, knowledge that other members can benefit from. Mentoring apprentices or other members passes on trade knowledge so you work with more skilled co-workers, your jobsites run more efficiently, and your contractors remain competitive.
You don’t have to be an industry veteran to be an effective mentor. A fourth year apprentice can often more effectively mentor a new apprentice navigating the first year of their apprenticeship than someone who journeyed out several years ago. No matter where you are in your career, someone can benefit from your experience.
2) Mentoring decreases the chance of apprentices quitting.
The construction industry and the Union can be confusing for new members. Union meetings, dues, class schedules, layoffs – apprentices will be experiencing this all for the first time and may feel overwhelmed or ill equipped. Some may decide it’s not worth the hassle and quit. A mentor plays an important role in welcoming new members into the Union and helping them navigate and understand how the construction industry works.
People who feel they have someone to bring questions to experience more job satisfaction and feel more valued at work. People who feel satisfied and valued are more likely to stick it out, even when experiencing a bad day.
3) Mentoring trains the next generation of Union leaders.
Often, mentoring is as simple as setting a good example on the jobsite. Being on time, professional, and active in your Local shows new members the kind of behavior that is expected of Union members. By getting new members involved in the Union right away, it will help them understand its benefit to their careers and paychecks and begin building the next generation of Union leaders — and mentors.
We’ve all met people on the jobsite who show great leadership potential, but who just needed a little guidance. Mentors play an essential role in identifying and coaching people with natural leadership skills. Our Union will need capable leaders to help the Union continue to thrive into the future.
4) Mentoring makes your jobsite safer.
There are lots of hazards on jobsites, which less experienced members may not have learned to look for yet. Mentoring can be as simple as making sure people know the proper way to utilize equipment or perform tasks – and, if they don’t know, showing them how. By keeping an eye on newer members and sharing your experience, you can increase jobsite safety and efficiency for everyone.
5) Mentoring protects the future of our Union.
Overall, mentors play an important role in protecting the future of our Union by investing in people. Mentors help keep members engaged, encourage people on bad days, identify and inspire future leaders, pass on trade skills and knowledge and increase jobsite safety.
Mentoring takes on many different forms, from informal mentoring that happens naturally on jobsites to more formal mentoring relationships through the Council’s mentoring program. The end goal, however, is the same. Mentoring preserves trade knowledge, makes people feel more connected to the Union, increases jobsite efficiency and safety and keeps our Union strong. Do you have what it takes to be a mentor? Learn more about the Council’s mentoring program and request more information at www.northcountrycarpenter.org/mentoring