Chamber calls for career mentors

The Chamber of Commerce is calling on volunteers to sign up as career mentors for local students.

“The program requires 50 volunteers who are willing to serve as mentors to the high achieving high school students from the public and private sector schools,” said Wil Pineau, chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce.

Mentors are matched with 50 students who share similar career interests, and through a series of workplace visits over the course of five months, students get a glimpse of the working world in their chosen field.

“These volunteers are essential to the program, so we encourage anyone who has the time and the desire to serve as a mentor to come forward. It is an experience that is equally rewarding to the student and the mentor,” said Mr. Pineau.

Every year students are selected by their school principals, and must be top achievers in order to qualify for the “Mentoring Cayman” program.

“As a young person, I benefited greatly from having mentors and became involved in Mentoring Cayman to help students interested in pursuing creative careers, of which there are an increasing number in the Cayman Islands,” former mentor Natalie Urquhart said in an email Tuesday.

Since the program launched in 2002, more than 300 students have taken part.

“Mentoring Cayman provides a wonderful opportunity for relationships and connections to be established with the future generation of leaders in our community who have been assisted by professionals who want to play a part in their development and lives,” said Mr. Pineau.

Mr. Pineau said mentors often not only teach students career lessons, but also life lessons, including personal work ethic. In order to successfully complete the program, mentors are required to meet with students at their workplace once a month during the five months of the program.

For Ms. Urquhart, who is the director of the National Gallery, “mentorship is about being part of a support network for a young person who is grappling a huge work load and the pressures of deciding on a career path.”

“…It’s a truly rewarding experience to help motivate a young person to be their very best, and you learn a lot in the process,” she added.

The Chamber also provides training to mentors before the program.

“The structure of the…program involves an initial induction, followed by six day-long meetings over a period of six months. However, the experience will be much more long lasting if you are able to commit to your mentee outside of these scheduled visits,” said Ms. Urquhart.

Mentors are encouraged to sign up by the first week of September. The program is set to begin in November.

Contact [email protected] for more details.