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A key element of my career progression at EPC-UK has been the ‘Supervisor to Manager’ course, which I completed earlier this year.  The course involved a range of learning methods, but one which really stood out for me was the allocation of a mentor.  My mentor was a member of our senior management team. At the beginning of the course we were provided with a guide as to the role of our mentor, what we should expect from them, and how this would aid our development throughout the course. 

It was left to me to choose how and when I contacted my mentor.  I decided that regular meetings throughout my course would be most beneficial to me and enable me to gain as much knowledge as possible.  I arranged our initial meeting in a local café, which proved to be a more relaxed environment and allowed me to break the ice and build a better rapport with my mentor.  We then progressed on to more regular, formal meetings.  In my opinion, the strong working relationship I built with my mentor was crucial to my success on the course. 

As a Multiblend Specialist, my role is extremely varied and the challenges I face are diverse, but I found the mentor element of my ‘Supervisor to Manager’ course a very helpful tool in dealing with these challenges.  I was able to contact my mentor, via telephone and email, in between meetings to discuss any issues I had.

My mentor gave me guidance, sometimes asking probing questions and sometimes giving me a relatable scenario based on his own experiences. This often led to that “light bulb” moment, enabling me to reach the right decision for myself. This process of personal development gave me an increased confidence and yet more motivation to excel within my course and within my role at EPC-UK.

It was clear that every time I spoke with my mentor, it was confidential. This enabled me to vocalise issues that sometimes, as managers, we are hesitant to discuss before a decision or solution has been reached. In these situations, my mentor helped me to broaden my thought processes whilst not losing sight of the main focus.  The mentoring process also helped me to remove myself from a situation and to think how I am being perceived by others in situations.  This enabled me to foresee reactions and better understand my colleagues and the impact decisions have further down the line. 

Having a mentor and being able to access his wealth of knowledge and experience has had such a positive impact to my development within EPC-UK. I would recommend the process to anyone who is serious about developing themselves and I hope that one day I am in the position to become a mentor, to give as much support and guidance as mine gave to me.

Dan Pearson – Multiblend Specialist