AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
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WAM Mentoring Remotely

This section is aimed at WAM mentors for a graduate currently on placement remotely.

Mentoring is a key component of any WAM placement, and plays a key role in the development of the graduate and their settling in to the company. With the current pandemic, many organisations are remote onboarding WAM graduates which means the role of a mentor is absolutely vital to ensure the placement is a success.

It is challenging for any employee to join a company remotely, however for graduates with disabilities it may be additionally challenging depending on their workplace support needs. Graduates with disabilities may have particular communication preferences due to their disability or have certain accessibility requirements which may mean using alternative platforms or methods of engagement.

Induction Period

  • When the graduate starts their placement, they will only know their manager and you the mentor. This means that the graduate may only feel comfortable contacting you or their manager for the initial settling in period.
  • When working on site, a new employee might meet people by chance throughout the day, at lunchtimes, in the corridors and the people next to them; all of this is not possible when working remotely.
  • It’s important at this stage to establish boundaries to ensure they do not go to you for work-related issues that they should be asking their manager about.

Mentoring Meetings

  • Ideally you should schedule time to meet with the WAM graduate on their first day if possible – this means the graduate has a point of contact and a relationship established with you from the very first day of working remotely.
  • Building rapport and getting to know one each is very important. Have a virtual coffee and use the first meeting as an opportunity to get to know one another.
  • WAM recommends that mentoring meetings take place more frequently when working remotely than they would on site. We recommend meeting every week for the initial 6 weeks.
  • Use the mentoring agreement template provided by WAM to set out the topics for the first three initial meetings. Use the first three initial meetings to focus on organisational culture and remote-working etiquette and answering the graduate’s queries about other remote-working related issues such as who best to contact if there are IT issues etc.
  • In using the mentoring agreement template, assist the graduate with setting out long term objectives and goals for the placement. For more information – make sure you complete the e-learning course provided by WAM.

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