Mentoring: Support from the security community

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Having a professional mentor could mean the difference between finally achieving resolutions and giving up on them for another year. By entering a mentoring relationship as a mentee you will be encouraged to set time aside to work with your mentor to work on developing yourself: analysing where you currently are, identifying strengths and opportunities that can be built on, overcoming weaknesses and threats, setting clear goals and planning a route to achieve those goals.

Especially, during this difficult time in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, security professionals at the early stages of their career could benefit from an experienced mentor to help navigate the unprecedented challenges that they are presented with.

Although, security professionals can benefit from a mentor during all stages of their professional development. The Security Institute offers an online Mentoring Platform, which is accessible through the Members Area of the Security Institute website: https://security-institute.org/members-area/. This resource is designed to support professional development for all levels of experience with categories that provide guidance for those currently in education, applying to become a Chartered Security Professional and many other areas of expertise. The platform can match mentors and mentees according to their sector, skills, meeting preferences and regions.

For example, Mark Bramwell MSyI had a successful career within the British Army and wanted to draw on the experience of a mentor as he transitioned into a management role within the security industry.

Speaking on his mentoring relationship, Mark stated: “I have a mentor who is a Head of Security, who has all the right experience to be able to provide guidance. He is a very senior head of security in a large Multinational and has all the right experience and exposure that I wish to tap into.

“Having a mentor to bounce ideas off and ask for advice is priceless. Sometimes you just need to be able to speak to someone who is outside your chain of command who is non-judgmental. I would encourage everyone to have a mentor, even if it’s just for a short term issue.”

It is important to also stress, that mentoring is not a one-way street with just the mentee benefitting. Becoming a mentor can be a valuable experience for the mentor too. Firstly, being a mentor feels rewarding. Knowing that your skills and experience has helped someone else to succeed is a great feeling. But you will also gain insight into how others approach challenges and in turn may learn new things in the process. Your mentee may have a different perspective, as well as knowledge and skills that you don’t. Offering yourself as a mentor will give you the opportunity to develop your own learning and potentially improve your knowledge of the security industry.

Speaking on his experience as a Mentor on the Security Institute’s Mentoring Platform, Darryn Robbins MSyI stated: “I felt satisfaction that although it may have only been a few hours per month, my support and guidance has helped an individual promote and raise their standards within the industry, which in turn will rub off on someone else.

“If I am really honest, anyone in our industry who doesn’t want to gain further knowledge, use the experience and skills of others or look for CPD through mentoring, shouldn’t be in our industry. We have a vast range of skills, attributes, experiences within the SyI and all of us as members, whatever our level, should be looking to learn from others.”

To reflect the positive impact that participating in a mentoring relationship can have on your professional development, for every hour of time spent mentoring or being mentored will earn 1 informal CPD point.

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