Creating internship programs that pair our students with mentors would aid their future readiness.
When I was 16 I had a mentor and it changed my life. I was learning what we termed “Computer Appreciation” then and she was the person who taught me about Excel. When she observed how voracious my hunger was for learning and implementation was, she took me under her wings and taught me everything she knew. The beautiful thing about our connecting was that she was a Petroleum Engineer and I desired to be a Chemical Engineer.
Meeting her aided me in knowing the courses and skills I required in college. This deep relationship aided my professional advancement.
A mentor is an encouraging adult who works with a young person to foster a connection by contributing direction, backing, and inspiration to help the young person’s constructive, healthy development over a phase of time.
Research put out by the American Psychological Association stated that “mentored individuals often earn higher performance evaluations, higher salaries, and faster career progress than non-mentored individuals.”
It also has been shown that not having a mentor can slow down career progression. Another form of research from Harvard law school graduates found that the women who had not turn out to be partners in a firm had fewer mentors throughout their first five years than other women who became partners
Unfortunately, we have too many young people drifting aimlessly in a professional wasteland. Professional independence is a myth- no one succeeds on their own. The belief that hard working and deserving people yank themselves up by their boot straps, muddles how people really get ahead — with the help of others.
Our desire in our social enterprise is for us to close the mentorship gap. In most Western nations, corporations promote this by supporting their employees in mentoring young people through formal or informal programs.I was the beneficiary of such a program when I was in my late teens at Fordham University, New York. I was paired up with a Financial Professional at a highly esteemed bank. She took me out for lunches and we discussed career, life and work balance. It was a positive experience that boosted my desire to be a business executive and be the best at whatever I did.
Our joy would be for companies here in Nigeria to provide these opportunities. We desire more businesses to open their doors to students through internships, summer work opportunities, research programs and other experiential learning projects.
Imagine if we had this model which is work-based learning. Work-based learning is an instructional approach to classroom teaching that connects it to the workplace. It entails the teaching of academic, technical and social skills in actual work settings or simulated backdrops. It is following masters of their craft during their holidays learning hands on the details in an internship program that the mentors see the strengths of their mentees and potentially inform them of opportunities and recommend them for various ones later on in their lives.
In a competitive market, if one doesn’t have family or professional ties to a sector; it’s hard to gain access to a quality job. Getting a college degree is great but beyond that a quality internship can separate students from the pack in an employer-driven market.
Let’s empower our students with quality advice that leads to successful lives in the long run.
Adetola Salau; Educator / Speaker / Author/ Social Entrepreneur / Innovator She is an Advocate of STEM Education and is Passionate about Education reform. She is an innovative thinker and strives for our society & continent as a whole to reclaim it’s greatness. She runs an educational foundation with the mission to transform education.