SWA kicks off 2015 mentoring programme

The Scottish Wholesale Association is looking for new candidates to join its Mentoring Programme following what it says has been a resounding success over the past two years.

Launched to improve skills and nurture emerging talent within the Scottish wholesale industry, the groundbreaking programme is moving into a new phase and the SWA says it would now like to hear from members who have identified an ambitious senior manager, or other individual, within their business who would benefit from developing their skills.

Prospective mentees will most likely be working in the key areas of buying, sales and management.

Crucially for employers, the Mentoring Programme is structured around the needs of the business and happens within the workplace and is designed to allow individuals to realise their own capabilities and potential, with mentees carefully matched with an appropriate mentor.

Sandie Holmes, principal consultant at 121 HR Solutions, the SWA’s training partner which is facilitating the programme, explained: “We have a number of mentees who have now completed the programme during which time they have met with their mentors regularly to help them identify the correct steps to fulfil their potential, realise their aspirations and further their career.

“The programme has been exceptionally well received and, without exception, each of our mentees has benefited considerably from participating – namely in terms of boosting their confidence and considering different approaches to challenges.”

One mentee is Stewart Ferguson, trading manager at Dundee-based Spar wholesaler, CJ Lang. “From my initial meeting with my mentor I knew that I would benefit from their vast knowledge and experience of working in the industry,” he said. “So far, the benefits from our discussions have been that I am able to consider different approaches to challenges – and able to look at them from a different viewpoint outwith company culture.”

And SWA executive director Kate Salmon, added: “We need the right people with the right attitude and the right skills to create a truly world-class industry in order to remain ahead of the game – we want to be part of the process that not only identifies these future leaders but, crucially, retains that talent within our industry.”

For wholesalers, Salmon added, the return on investment would be evident as managers developed. “The feedback we’ve received so far confirms that our Mentoring Programme has been a much-needed and well-received initiative – we are keen to keep up the momentum and welcome new mentees into the programme.”

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