In the case of Sutherland, Aveng-Grinaker (A-G) and PERI, the mentor provides ad-hoc training and is responsible for keeping track of the intern’s day-to-day progress and assisting with any work-related or personal issues as they come up.
A-G places their interns in different departments of the company on a rotating basis. They do this so that interns will have a wide range of experiences and will be able to assess for themselves what part of the industry they might be best suited to. In each department, A-G assigns their interns to mentors. A-G mentors are required to complete progress reports on each intern and submit these to the Human Resources Manager, who then uses these to prepare for monthly check-in meetings with interns.
Companies report that it is crucial for mentors to receive adequate guidance and preparation for this role. Read our article on mentorship here – note that various options and links to resources are provided in this article.
Human Resources Support
At Sutherland and A-G, the HR managers serve as additional mentors and ad-hoc guidance counsellors for the interns. They receive reports (formal and informal) from mentors and use these to gauge the individual and collective learning needs of their group of interns. Through weekly and monthly group and individual meetings, the HR managers try to address these gaps.
Some programmes build in mechanisms for peer-to-peer support. At Sutherland, second-year interns are assigned as additional tutors and unofficial mentors to first-year interns. At A-G, special effort is taken to make sure interns are placed together in the various departments they move through so they can offer each other support.