Get Mentoring

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Mark Foster from Accrington in Lancashire isn’t new to mentoring, having provided support and advice to his sister-in-law’s boutique beauty salon over the past six years, but he does describe himself as an ‘aspiring mentor’. Mark says, “I get a kick out of using my experience, even if only in a small way, to help other people realise their potential. It is also an opportunity for me to learn through other people's experience.”

Over the course of 30 years in business Mark has gone from being an electrician’s apprentice to the chief executive of a £25 million business employing over 250 staff. But more recently, events in Mark’s home life led him to reassess his career. And it soon became apparent that he wanted to take his passion for supporting small enterprises more seriously: “Following two family bereavements last year I decided to take some 'time out' to re-evaluate what I was doing. I’ve since taken up a part-time role as a lecturer at the University Centre at Blackburn College, teaching on the International HND programme. And I’m also studying for a Chartered Director qualification with the Institute of Directors, to assist in my ambition to become a non-executive director to the SME sector. “I have been lucky throughout my career to have always worked for someone who has 'taken me under their wing' and provided guidance and advice – although it wasn't officially called 'mentoring'. Looking back, that has been a major factor in helping me to realise my potential and I want to be able to do the same for others.” Mark goes on to say, “I am convinced that the early period of a start-up is when help is most important and this is why I think that the Get Mentoring scheme is important. Entrepreneurs value having someone to talk to for help, support, guidance and as a 'sounding board'.”

Mark says that the half day Introduction to Enterprise Mentoring course helped to emphasise why it is just as important for mentors to ‘ask’ as it is for them to ‘tell’.

The 48-year-old Lancastrian is now keen to get started with his first mentee through the scheme, and he even sees his commitment to these enterprises growing in time: “I would ideally like to mentor an e-commerce start-up business. This is the field I am most interested in and feel I could also learn a lot from the process! I expect that, once involved, there’ll be a need for much more than one hour of mentoring per month. I’d think it could become more like an hour a week or more.”

Posted on by getadmin | Posted in Case Studies, Get Mentoring Monthly