The Evidence Portal

Match mentors and mentees

Flexible activity

Mentors and mentees should be matched based on their personal preferences.

Characteristics, common interests and preferences of prospective mentors and mentees should be identified.

How can it be implemented?

Individual mentors and mentees could be matched based on the following:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity/Culture
  • Age
  • Geographic location
  • Common interests
  • Preferences in these categories

Mentors and mentees should be asked their preferences in these categories. 

Other key characteristics to consider may include:

  • preferred language: mentee should feel comfortable when communicating with mentor
  • disability: if the mentee is hearing impaired, for example, the mentor with need to be able to communicate effectively with the mentee

What should I consider when working with Aboriginal people and communities?

  • Mentors who have experienced similar challenges to those facing the mentee and proven their success in overcoming negative life circumstances are the most influential in achieving positive behavioural change (Ware, 2013; Fredericks et al. 2017). This is particularly important for Indigenous youth given the additional intergenerational challenges of dispossession and cultural discontinuity their families may have faced (Ware, 2013).
  • When interventions were implemented by someone with shared place, language, histories or beliefs, Indigenous young people were more likely to perceive the intervention or practitioner as credible (Pooley 2020). Further, matching young people with practitioners from similar cultural backgrounds has the potential to reduce institutional racism and systemic biases (Pooley 2020). 
  • Organisation employees should consult with community leaders and other relevant stakeholders (e.g. teachers) to understand what type of mentors best suit community needs (Peralta et al. 2018).

Who is the target group?

Programs that matched mentors and mentees based on their needs and preferences were implemented with the following target groups: young people at-risk of mental illness and delinquent behaviours 

What programs conduct this activity?

In the Mentoring Program for At-Risk Youth, mentees are matched with mentors according to gender, ethnicity, age, geographical location, common interests and preferences in these categories. Matches can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years.

What else should I consider?

Not all characteristics are of equal importance. It is generally recognised that matching based on common interests and gender is more significant than ethnicity or culture. Additionally, geographical location can significantly affect the length of matches. For example, if a mentee moves schools, they may need to find a new mentor or exit the program. 

If mentees are not able to be matched immediately, and are placed on a waiting list, interim activities should take place. For example, one monthly group activity with other mentees who are waiting to be matched.

Further resources

Last updated:

25 Nov 2022

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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