More about Mentoring Associates

Why Mentoring Partnerships are so vital to the work we do

by Dr Kerry Ferguson

Pro Vice Challencor of La Trobe University, Australia


Immersed in the constancy of the daily demands of our professional lives, it is rare to be able to step outside of our own individual worlds of practice, in order to imagine beyond those horizons. I have been blessed to work in an institutional world in which I was helped  to grow and help shape that institution.

The vehicle for this has been mentoring. Now, as part of SiS Catalyst, I have the opportunity to revitalize and learn, as a member of a global network of knowledge, in order to engage young people in the future of the world, from around that world.

Already from the mentoring associate relationships, I have reflected personally on how my organisation can expand the work with children.

In my own situation, we have developed a range of committees that have shaped both curricula and outreach.

We have not had a children's advisory board. The insight about the impact and value of such a group has led me to initiate the formation of a Children's Indigenous Advisory Committee. I will keep you posted about progress as this develops.

I am based in Melbourne.  My mentoring associate will be in Belfast. This begs the question of the importance of face to face contact as opposed to other forms of collaboration. Of course such work can be supported through technology; however,for me personally, the sustenance of such a relationship depends upon face to face engagement.

Beyond the depth of the learning in this environment, it is about detaching oneself from the office and creating distance from day to day assumptions. It is from this detached perspective that I can reflect and challenge and benefit from other stories and perspective.

The opportunity to convey my experiences interactively will help me shape my own story, but will also gain immediacy from live collaboration and mentoring.

Through SiS Catalyst, I am eager to challenge my sometimes insular perspective, through contributing to a global effort to change the lives of children and the communities that nurture them.