The Evidence Portal

Mentor training

Flexible activity

All mentors should be provided with adequate training before they begin working with mentees. This ensures the mentor is informed and well-equipped once they are matched with a mentee.

The training should provide relevant information about:

  • the purpose of the program and program structure
  • mentors’ roles and responsibilities
  • suggested activities and tasks
  • problems mentees are likely to face to how to address them
  • how to build and maintain positive relationships with mentees

The training should be both practical and theoretical. It should also be tailored to the target mentee group. As such, specific topics for training could include:

  • child/teenage development
  • warning signs of child abuse 
  • drug and alcohol abuse
  • sexual health
  • bullying
  • violence and relationships

How can it be implemented?

Training can be conducted in a number of different ways. The type and length of training chosen will depend on the intensity of the program and the assumed needs of mentees. For example, when working with youth with drug and alcohol problems staff should be adequately trained to address these issues. A school mentoring program designed to support 11-12 year old’s to transition to high school will require different training. 

The training may include one or more of the following elements:

  • Shadowing experienced mentor
  • Intensive multi-day training
  • Half-day training program
  • Seminars

Additionally, supplementary materials may be necessary for mentors. These could include detailed information and resources about weekly modules and activities to conduct. These materials could be hard copies (e.g. workbook or binder) or online resources (e.g. website).

If necessary, training should be ongoing.

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

  • Training in mentorship and cultural awareness are critical prerequisites for successful mentor programs with Indigenous young people (Bainbridge et al. 2014; O’Shea 2013).
  • Cultural safety training is an important factor for preparing mentors and for building their cultural competency (Cinelli & Peralta 2015; Gupta 2020). Where non-Indigenous mentors work with Indigenous young people, locally specific cultural training is important (Ware, 2013). This training could include:
    • the right to self-determination
    • enhancing cultural understanding
    • ongoing impacts of colonisation and dispossession
    • impact of racism and stigma
    • intergenerational trauma
    • understanding of the centrality of kinship
    • recognition of Aboriginal strengths
    • recognition of individual and community diversity

Who is the target group?

Programs that provide practical and theoretical mentor training have been implemented with the following target groups:

  • young non-violent offenders
  • young people transitioning out of foster care
  • young people at-risk of mental illness and delinquent behaviours
  • young people transitioning to high school

What programs conduct this activity?

  • The training in the Reading for Life program delivers extensive practical and theoretical training for mentors, including twelve weeks spent shadowing an experienced mentor.
  • In the TAKE CHARGE program, each mentor undergoes a 3-day training.
  • In the Mentoring Program for At-Risk Youth, mentors attend training sessions designed to educate them about: child development, warning signs for child abuse, problems that young people are likely to be facing, and how to effectively interact with their mentees. They’re also required to attend seminars.
  • In Project Arrive, mentors are provided a binder containing program procedures, contact information and curricular materials. Project Arrive also has a website with a menu of activities that address common adolescent issues. These materials are provided in addition to a 4-hour training session.

Further resources

Last updated:

25 Nov 2022

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