1. Who is a suitable person to be a Good Deal mentor?
An experienced entrepreneur, who is interested in supporting and guiding another entrepreneur, is suitable as a Good Deal mentor. A mentor is genuinely interested in development and also wants to develop him/herself professionally. A mentor undertakes to share his/her expertise, experience and time with another entrepreneur throughout the period of apprenticeship training, depending on the qualification, for about 1½ years.
In his/her guidance, a Good Deal mentor is target-oriented, supportive and a good listener. A good Good Deal mentor does not necessarily need to still be working as an entrepreneur him/herself, as long as he/she has experience of having been an entrepreneur.
2. What does Good Deal guidance include?
Guidance for an apprentice focuses on guiding the learning of the entrepreneur, whilst pure company mentoring focuses on solving issues related to the entrepreneur’s business. Learning guidance entails smoothing out the path for inspiration, change and new perspectives. The mentor acts as a support for the entrepreneur and a guide to learning, but decisions concerning the company are always made by the entrepreneur him/herself.
3. Can I act as a mentor if I represent a different field to my student?
A mentor does not necessarily need to represent the same field as, in qualifications concerning entrepreneurship, the mentor can offer alternative viewpoints for the entrepreneur’s business. In that way, it is also easier for the mentor to concentrate on learning and guidance and to avoid going too deeply into the entrepreneur’s business.
On the other hand, in qualifications concerning the student’s own field, the mentor is required to have good knowledge of the entrepreneur’s vocational field.
4. What do you do if you want to change your mentor in the middle of studies?
A requirement for successful mentoring is that both parties commit to the mentoring relationship and act openly in interaction. This should work both ways.
Sometimes, a relationship does not start as hoped, and the entrepreneur needs to choose a new mentor. Reason for this might be, for example, changes of circumstance, timetabling problems or clear differences of opinion.
In that case, it is important to react to the situation and make the necessary changes, so that studies may proceed as desired. A change of mentor must always be agreed with the apprenticeship centre, which will look after initiating a new mentor.
5. How often should a mentor and student meet?
Guidance is given at guidance meetings between the entrepreneur and mentor, and it is recommended that they be held every 4-6 weeks. In apprenticeship training, the role and aims of guidance depend, however, on the qualification being undertaken and the needs of the student entrepreneur.
The most important thing is for meetings to take place regularly and that principles are agreed on at the start of the relationship. Guidance meetings can be scheduled regularly, for example, on the same days as contact teaching, when the student and mentor can look at the application of things that have been learned and their utilisation in the entrepreneur’s business.
In practice, meetings should always be agreed on 2-3 months in advance.
6. What should I do if the student does not react to communication and fails to utilise the mentor’s support?
Guidance is an essential part of apprenticeship training, so training and the qualification cannot be completed unless there is mutual commitment to the mentoring relationship. It is the entrepreneur’s job to be constantly active in his/her relationship with the mentor: in choosing a mentor, setting targets for guidance and planning needs for guidance and meetings.
A mentor uses his/her own time and only receives nominal compensation for this, so the student should also respect the use of this time. If guidance meetings are not kept to as planned, the mentor should contact the apprenticeship office. It must then be discussed whether or not it is possible to continue with the training.
7. Can a mentor act as an assessor in assessment discussions or at examination events?
In apprenticeship training, the learning of the entrepreneur is assessed by both his/her mentor and a trainer from the college. The mentor assesses the entrepreneur’s on-the-job training 2-3 times a year based on the assessment practice of the apprenticeship office in question.
Furthermore, the mentor’s assessment is heard at examination events, which the mentors are usually disqualified from attending. A mentor may, however, act as an assessor for someone who he/she is not mentoring.