A mentor is someone with experience or knowledge in a particular area who provides advice and guidance to a younger or less experienced person.
Mentoring relationships usually take place in organisations like workplaces or universities, but they can also be set up in community settings, like interest groups and advocacy organisations.
There are many benefits to having a mentor. As well as learning from a mentor’s experience, having a mentor can help you:
- make decisions for yourself
- develop professional skills
- identify and achieve career goals
- increase your confidence
- gain insight into a different perspective
- develop leadership skills
- become a mentor yourself.
Finding a mentor
There is no particular way to find a mentor. Sometimes finding a mentor happens by accident, sometimes it happens by approaching and asking a person to mentor you and sometimes it happens through a mentoring program.
A mentor should be a person you trust and respect, like:
- someone you work or volunteer with
- a teacher or lecturer
- someone you know through friends, family, or community groups.
Some things you can do to find a mentor include:
- follow the work and achievements of people you admire or want to be like
- build your network by joining groups and attending events
- check if your workplace or education institution has a mentoring program.
Tip: You can download our Fact Sheet: What is Mentoring? to learn more.
Mentoring and leadership programs
If you find it hard to network, or you can’t find a mentor, there are programs that can help you gain confidence, learn leadership skills and find a mentor.
Most mentoring programs are locally based, so it is best to look around in your area. There are also some national organisations in Australia that run mentoring programs. Some examples are:
- Australian Network on Disability Positive Action towards Career Engagement (PACE) Mentoring (external link)
- Disability Leadership Institute training programs (external link)
- Leadership Victoria Women's Leadership program (external link)
- Leadership WA LeadAbility course (external link)
- Women with Disabilities Victoria Enabling Women Mentoring program (external link)
- YWCA: Aboriginal Women’s Leadership Program (external link)
- YWCA: Y Connect Mentoring and Leadership Program (external link).