Senior building surveyor Alex Wilkinson and senior quantity surveyor Andrew Doidge joined the CIOB Mentoring Service last year as mentor and mentee respectively. Here they tell Nadine Buddoo how the programme supports the highest standards of professionalism and why the experience has been mutually rewarding
What attracted you to the mentoring programme?
Alex Wilkinson: My career pathway was slightly different to Andrew’s, whereby I completed my chartership application form over a number of months on my own. However, I then needed some guidance from someone within CIOB to make sure I was answering the questions correctly and that I was hitting the right buttons with the competencies.
My mentor was great – he provided really constructive feedback and spent a lot of time going over my submission. I had a great experience and it instilled quite a bit of confidence in me, so I wanted to impart that to other people and help them with their careers.
Andrew Doidge: Being an industry professional for about six years, I started to look at my path for progression and the potential route to becoming chartered. The journey to chartership can be challenging, so having support from a mentor like Alex has been invaluable.
Describe your experience during the mentoring programme.
I had a great experience and it instilled quite a bit of confidence in me – I wanted to impart that to others
Andrew: It has been extremely beneficial. Having a mentor like Alex, who is very adaptable, has been fantastic. I think that’s a key attribute to have because a lot of people come from different backgrounds with various levels of experience within the industry. You have to approach your mentee in the right way and get the best out of them.
Initially, it can be quite daunting speaking to a mentor, but as that relationship develops, it is comforting to have a professional who you can confide in. Your mentor can ensure that you’re displaying adequate competencies, which gives you the feeling of being worthy of chartered membership. It also gives you self-confidence outside of the chartership environment.
Alex: The experience has been really rewarding for me, too. The initial meeting is a great tool to get to know each other and try to find a bit of common ground. We both found that we have lots of similar interests outside of work, which was great.
What challenges have you faced during the process?
Andrew: When I was completing the application questions, I wasn’t always able to deliver my responses in a way that the CIOB assessment board would require. The benefit of having Alex as a mentor was that he could interpret where I was coming from and unravel some of that information. He was able to help me make my responses more succinct and structured. That helped me the most. After becoming more familiar with the format required, the process became a lot smoother.
Alex: There’s quite a prescriptive structure you have to adhere to. We pored over the first five or six questions and there was a bit of back and forth. When the format was nailed down, Andrew could then confidently complete the remaining questions independently and submit a significant chunk of information for me to review.
Andrew: One of the other challenges is having a busy lifestyle and work commitments that can sometimes impact the self-motivation you need to reach chartership. Having a mentor can help to provide that motivation, as well as the guidance and confidence that you’re on the right path and that you can achieve your goals. That mentor-mentee relationship is so important.
What have you learnt from the process?
Andrew: Don’t be afraid to seek advice. Seeking advice or help from another construction industry professional can help you to progress in your career and achieve your goals. Given the current climate in the industry, it is very competitive and people can feel quite inferior. However, programmes like this definitely help to address that issue and create a more collaborative environment.
Alex: The biggest thing for me is the satisfaction of knowing I have helped someone along their career path and imparted a bit of knowledge. I also have a greater appreciation for what I can offer. It has instilled some confidence in me because I know I’m at that point in my career where I can assist someone else and play a part in their development, and contribute to maintaining high standards of professionalism within the industry.
Also, my background is predominantly building surveying and Andrew’s is quantity surveying, so it was good to see how different disciplines approach the same aspects of the job. For my chartership, I had to answer the same questions as Andrew, so it was interesting how different yet relative a lot of the responses were.
Having a mentor can help to provide motivation, as well as guidance and confidence that you’re on the right path and can achieve your goals
What advice would you give to future mentors and mentees?
Andrew: Don’t enrol on the PR route unless you are really committed to obtaining chartership. Also, be mindful that time management is going to play a big role in the process. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to achieve what you want. You just have to go for it.
Alex: I would say the same to potential mentors: just got for it. If you’ve got the time to commit and you want to help people in their careers, mentoring can be tremendously rewarding. And you might just meet some genuinely lovely people along the way.
Alex, will you mentor again?
Alex: Yes, it has been such a good experience. I’m definitely open to mentoring again.
And Andrew, there’s potential for you to be a future mentor?
Andrew: Quite possibly. I would definitely consider it in the future. I think I would thrive in an environment where I have the potential to help others achieve their chartership status. So, if that opportunity arises in due course, I would certainly entertain it if I can.
The CIOB Mentoring Service currently has more than 700 users from all over the globe. There are more than 300 mentors who are ready to support mentees through their journey to chartered membership. If you are interested in joining the CIOB’s mentoring community, visit ciob.me/mentoring.