When choosing an events, commercial cookery or hospitality management course, you should look for an institution that offers an outstanding mentoring program. The importance of mentoring in the hospitality industry is particularly valuable, as this is a highly charged industry that involves working with people, multi-tasking and thinking on your feet. Things can sometimes become a little overwhelming if you don't have the necessary support structures.
Let's delve deeper and discover the benefits of a mentoring program for your career in hospitality, events or cookery in Australia.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is a supportive guide who is there to assist you with any questions or issues you may experience while you're studying and working. They're someone you can turn to for help and support throughout your journey to becoming the very best person you can be.
The career benefits of mentoring while studying hospitality, commercial cookery or events
The career benefits of mentoring for students of hospitality, events and cookery are multi-faceted. Having someone to go to when you need support has incredible benefits for your confidence, emotional wellbeing, and career development. And it's not just those being mentored who reap the rewards - mentoring also has career benefits for the mentors themselves! Let's take a look at how.
1. See things through the eyes of someone who's been there
One of the career benefits of having a mentor is that you forge a strong personal connection with another person who has 'been through it'. This helps you build knowledge about your industry and see things from another perspective, one of the key benefits of mentoring programs, according to SEEK Australia.
When you have an industry mentor who has experienced challenges you are encountering during your studies and work, it fosters a close connection whereby you can learn from the past experiences of your mentor, the mistakes they've made and the successes they've achieved.
"My mentor gave me flashbacks of what she was feeling when she was going through what I was going through," says Kenvale College student Chelsea Hu, who sees a mentor as a valuable asset.
Your mentor can give you real-life examples of challenges they've faced and how they went about resolving them.
2. Learn from another's real-life experiences
There are many career paths in the hospitality industry, but whichever you choose, people skills are integral, and this is where a mentor can help, by giving you real-life examples of how they dealt with certain situations in their workplace. When you're studying and working at the same time, you'll often be the youngest person at your workplace, and this presents some unique challenges. The personal support you receive from a mentor allows you to achieve your best as a student just starting out in the industry learning as you go.
"My mentor Marianne coached me on how to approach my workplace on difficult topics, as the youngest person working at the hotel," Chelsea points out. "I work front of office and everyone I work with is in their thirties. I'm eighteen. How am I going to talk to my workplace about certain things without sounding like a typical eighteen year old?"
"Marianne said more than anything my colleagues would value honesty above everything else, and after that I felt more confident. Having an adult understand me like that made me realise that people can be really open-minded if you approach them in the right way," she says.
3. Connect with someone of a similar background who understands you
A mentoring program for students undertaking commercial cookery, hospitality or events management courses should be designed not only to support you in your study and work, but also attend to your wellbeing. At Kenvale College, we try to match students up with a person of the same gender and cultural background where possible, to help them feel more comfortable and understood.
"Like me, Marianne has Asian parents, so she really understands my situation. She's also gone to Kenvale and done the same degree. It feels good to know there is someone who knows my situation," says Chelsea.
Learn from the experiences of others, and connect with someone whose background is similar to your own by participating in a mentoring program while you study.
4. Pass on your own knowledge to others
Not only does mentoring helps your hospitality career when you're being mentored, but also when you act as a mentor to others.
There are also career benefits of being a student mentor, according to research from Curtin University, Australia and RWTH-Aachen University, Germany. Researchers found peer mentoring for higher education students, especially during their first year of study, is highly beneficial. It develops mentors' competence in various skills, along with their feelings of connectedness to their institution and the people there.
How does a great mentoring program work?
At the beginning of the year, each Kenvale student is allocated a mentor either within the industry or within the college. Kenvale students typically meet with their mentor once a month. However, as Chelsea points out, this is highly flexible:
"Marianne always makes it very clear that 'whenever you need me, I'm here, give me a call.'"
The great thing about Kenvale's mentoring program is that it's a two-way relationship that benefits both people, and even forges real life friendships. "Marianne is more than my mentor, she is one of my really good friends," Chelsea says.
Whether you're looking to become a mentor or would like to be mentored, your wellbeing and your career will undoubtedly benefit from it. To find out more about our program, get in touch with a course adviser.