Mentoring for All succeeded in its aim of inclusivity, report finds

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 27.10.2018
Evaluation of MA’s pilot mentoring programme published
The Museums Association’s (MA) Mentoring for All programme successfully achieved its primary aim of inclusivity, an independent evaluation has found.

The pilot, which ran in England and Scotland, was designed to test a more accessible model for mentoring that would reach more people and create greater benefit for museums. It incorporated aspects of mentoring programmes from different sectors, tailored to meet the requirements of the museum sector.

Part of the MA’s Workforce Strategy 2017-20, the scheme was developed in response to research, including the 2016 Character Matters report, showing that existing levels of participation in and access to mentoring did not make the most of opportunities it could bring to the sector.

A report on the pilot, which ran for six months in 2017, has found that it successfully achieved its aim of “running an inclusive, flexible programme designed to stimulate personal and professional development and increase the confidence and resilience of those involved”.

The evaluation was carried out by the Museum Consultancy and has been published to coincide with National Mentoring Day (27 October). It found that the programme succeeded in its aim of being inclusive of all those working in the sector, attracting participants from a diverse range of organisations and roles, as well as volunteers and freelancers.

Eighteen mentoring pairs completed the programme and it succeeded in recruiting a diverse pool of participants, with participation levels for people from BAME backgrounds and those disclosing a disability all higher than the current sector profile. However, men were underrepresented in the scheme, making up 11% of mentors and 17% of mentees.

Around 86 mentoring meetings took place during the programme, with pairs “forming trusting relationships that enabled open and honest dialogue”.

“Mentoring for All helped me discover many things about myself that I was either unaware of or had forgotten about,” said Eleanor Payne, a learning and interpretation officer who was a mentor in the scheme.

“Overall, participating in the pilot scheme helped me remember where I started when I was a mentee and how giving someone a chance, a bit of time, and being in their corner, is worth its weight in gold.”

The programme also supported unsuccessful applicants, who were offered personal, tailored feedback and further advice and guidance on addressing their professional development needs.
Mentoring for All was primarily funded by Arts Council England, with additional support from the MA and one mentoring pair funded by Museums Galleries Scotland.

‘It has been a privilege to manage this project, support the mentoring relationships and to have the opportunity to undertake detailed evaluation that can be shared throughout the sector,” said Tamsin Russell, the MA’s professional development officer.

“We have already begun to integrate some of the insights into the MA’s mentoring offer and the work we do with other organisations.”

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