Project Details

A project, completed in 2010, to develop a flexible and transferrable professional development model for improving mentoring practice in workplaces leading to increased trainee qualifications completions. A collaboration of Work and Education Research and Development Services and the Industry Training Federation.


The main aims of the project were that:

  • workplace employers/supervisors/mentors will discover new ways to support trainees towards qualifications completions
  • mentors will be supported to implement those methods that fit with their workplace
  • trainees who receive mentoring will show higher completion rates and will demonstrate better workplace performance.


The project methodology involved:

  • selecting up to four ITOs/industries
  • each ITO promoting and hosting a half-day workshop for industry employers
  • each workshop supporting up to 14 Auckland-based workplace participants
  • visiting workplaces, on request, to support mentoring establishment and good practice.



Dr Chris Holland

Project Leader

Industry Training Federation (ITF)

Dr Nicky Murray

Industry Training Federation (ITF)




$10,000.00 (excl GST)

$10,000.00 Regional Hub Project Fund

Key Findings

The key findings from the project included:

  • Workplace personnel who might act as mentors to trainees tend to have positions of responsibility, experience, deep knowledge and skills. They tend not to have had specialist training in mentoring. Therefore, to carry out their mentoring role, they need to be resourced well by the workplace and through appropriate professional development.
  • Professional development should help mentors to offer practical on-the-ground support and encouragement to trainees in on-job, off-job and distance learning, and to know how and when to refer them on to specialist assistance.
  • A range of benefits to the workplace were identified: ensures qualifications are completed; accelerates the development of leadership; supports a learning culture; supports a high-performance culture; improves staff loyalty and retention; builds a real competitive advantage.
  • Establishing mentoring in the workplace involves: establishing a mentoring agreement; establishing goals with the learner; establishing frequency of visits / contact; recording learning outcomes; noting issues for further discussion; encouraging workplace ‘buddying’; evaluating regularly.

Key Recommendations

The key recommendations from the project include:

Mentoring attributes | Effective mentoring attributes include: commitment to the role; trustworthiness; respectful, non-judgmental attitude; confidentiality; motivational ability; ability to listen and ask open questions; ability to support trainees through training; ability to induct trainees into the workplace culture.

Mentor support | Mentors may need ongoing support to: establish and maintain relationships, in the workplace and at a distance; become familiar with new course requirements; identify clear language issues in the workplace; guide learners with literacy and/or numeracy issues; identify useful learning tools for learners.

Workplace mentoring support | Workplaces supporting mentoring need to: acknowledge the time needed for mentoring; allow mentors to access professional development; allow opportunities for mentors to network; develop a referral database of specialist support.

Literature review

Workplace Mentoring: a literature review

A report prepared by Chris Holland. 

(PDF, 305 KB, 31-pages).

  • 20 August 2009
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Mentoring Workshop Slides

A report prepared by Chris Holland. 

(PDF, 374 KB, 20-pages).

  • 20 December 2010
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Professional development for mentors in industry – Workshop Notes

A report prepared by Chris Holland. 

(PDF, 347 KB, 10-pages).

  • 20 December 2010
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