The Elizabeth Casson Trust is investing in a mentoring programme for occupational therapists. Our intention is for the programme to be available across the profession for individuals at all stages of their career journey.

This development will support our charitable purpose to ‘further the profession of occupational therapy’.

The background

In 2018, the Elizabeth Casson Trust carried out a consultation exercise with a range of occupational therapists across the profession which led to the development of our leadership project (2018-2020). However, from these conversations, we also learned that occupational therapists want access to mentors. Occupational therapists are seeking individuals who can help them further develop their communication, influencing and impact building skills while also growing their personal confidence and power. This was an important message for us to hear and we explored how to meet this need.

Since the summer of 2020 we have been developing a mentoring programme, selecting the best partner to deliver this and developing resources and tools. Our longer term ambition is that the mentoring programme will support the development of occupational therapists so they become more confident, bolder and will take – or even create – new and exciting opportunities for the profession.

The pilot

In December 2020 we recruited a co-hort of mentors, in January/ February we identified a co-hort of mentees and in March 2021 we launched our three-month pilot programme. The pilot will run until June 2021 at which point it will be evaluated for benefit and impact. The pilot has been tailored to the needs and learning styles of mentor and mentee and is accessible via technology.

We hope the programme will be a fantastic opportunity for to offer practical support to occupational therapists, at any stage of their career, and to create greater connectivity across the whole OT community that will provide real opportunities for the profession and for individuals to learn and grow.

The mentoring relationship

Why seek a mentor?

An individual may be interested in gaining greater insight into management and leadership practices and the ability to implement them confidently and flexibly, or perhaps interested in developing softer skills such as communication, teamwork and time management.

Why be a mentor?

While being the mentor in a relationship may sound like a one-way street for development, mentors also regularly report that their own communication skills are enhanced and that the investment they make in their mentee is returned in extended networks, greater insight into the challenges and opportunities available across the broader ecosystem and community, a sense of enhanced purpose and connection to their profession, and an opportunity to spot and nurture talent.

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