The crucial role of mentorship

PPS encourages graduate professionals to mentor the new generation of professionals

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The PPS Foundation, set up by the Professional Provident Society (PPS) believes that members of the society and all established graduate professionals have a vital role to play in stimulating the vitality of the new generation of professionals. Through its PPS Professionals Connect Mentorship Programme, the PPS Foundation enables South Africa’s professionals to contribute towards bringing the potential of young people to fruition.

The PPS Professionals Connect Mentorship Programme

Launched last year, the programme provides students, professional graduates, and entry-level employees with the opportunity to connect with and be mentored by established or retired professionals from various trades and industries. The programme allows mentors to share their knowledge, skills and life-learnings that will be essential for their future, while also exposing them to a broader range of perspectives needed to bolster their professional and personal growth.

The programme aims to propel the organisation’s mission to make a sustainable and measurable contribution to South African communities. This will be achieved by creating a platform that assists beneficiaries during the transition period from tertiary education to the workplace environment, and beyond.

“The importance of the role of mentors cannot be stressed enough. As a young graduate in the corporate world, it can feel like you’re alone, and this makes mentors more important than ever,” says Vuyo Kobokoane, the Executive Head: PPS Foundation.

“At PPS, we believe that mentorship is one of the most personalised ways to educate, and that mentorship is the gateway for young professionals to unlock their potential and to understand the workplace, as this will prepare them for the future,” she adds.

Why mentorship is critical

It’s no secret that educated, knowledgeable and well-trained employees are better able to confidently produce results than employees who lack the knowledge. Therefore, by encouraging mentorship in the workplace, it ensures that young professionals are able to complete their work with the understanding required for the position.

“It’s important that established professionals take up the challenge of being mentors to young professionals to help in the development of young leaders. This will, in turn, encourage them to become mentors themselves when the time comes,” adds Kobokoane.

“With the high unemployment rate among the youth at 53.7% in the second-quarter of 2018 and the graduate unemployment rate at 33.5% for those aged between 15–24, and 10.2% among those aged 25–34 years, mentorship can make a tangible difference in getting the CV right, setting goals, preparing for job interviews and landing the position,” she explains.

Through the PPS Foundation, mentees are paired with professionals from various industries and trades including; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields—which are the key areas that the PPS Foundation strives to improve access to and participation in.

Mentorship can also help to fast-track the transfer of skills, meaning that businesses will have productive employees quicker than before. “However, it is important that young professionals understand that mentorship is a partnership with mutual trust, respect and understanding. It’s imperative that you and your mentor understand each other and can be honest with each other. It will be easier to gain knowledge and advice from someone who has been through the same journey,” concludes Kobokoane.

How to get involved

The Professionals Connect Mentorship Programme is one of the corporate social responsibility initiatives at PPS.

To become a mentor, interested individuals can register via www.professionalsconnect.co.za. For more information on the Professionals Connect Mentorship Programme, email professionalsconnect@pps.co.za.

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