Two of the UK’s most successful mentoring programmes for project managers have joined forces for their annual launch event.

Co-ordinated by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), mentors and mentees of both the Oil & Gas Industry Project Management Programme, and the Cross Sector/Nuclear Industry Project Management Programme will meet for the first time at the Mentee Induction, which will be held virtually today (Thursday, 6 May).

A total of 14 mentees and 14 mentors from 13 companies (Aker Solutions; Cephas Projects; EnQuest; Petrofac; Pro-Fection; SafeSys Projects Ltd; Shell; Sparrows, Spirit Energy; Stork; Subsea 7; Technip FMC, and Worley) are taking part in this year’s oil and gas programme, which is in its seventh year.

The cross sector/nuclear programme, which is based on the original programme, was first offered last year to offer diversity to mentees and mentors who are not necessarily related to oil and gas, but who are interested in building on their existing knowledge, skills and expertise in other engineering construction sectors such as subsea, renewables and nuclear. This year’s cohort comprises six mentees and six mentors from Wood plc, Wood (OMS) plc, Baker Hughes and Jacobs Nuclear.

To date, there have been more than 99 participants on both programmes, many of whom are working towards chartered status with professional bodies such as the Association for Project Management (APM). Today’s launch will include members of the Project Management Steering Group (PMSG), as well as participants from previous years, who will be on hand to offer top tips on how to get the best out of both the programme and the relationships they will be forging in coming months.

Evidence shows that while technical skills can be learned online or in a classroom, behavioural and leadership skills can be enhanced via mentoring. The eight-month programme allows qualified and experienced project practitioners to ‘mentor-forward’, imparting wisdom and providing guidance to less experienced project professionals with the aim of accelerating their performance and careers.

Nikki MacPherson, Oil and Gas Programme Co-ordinator

Oil and gas programme co-ordinator Nikki MacPherson said that this year’s mentors and mentees would continue to meet virtually unless Government guidance changes later in the year to allow face-to-face meetings.

“Last year’s programme was really well received, despite the pandemic and the fact that no-one could meet up in person,” said Nikki.

“In fact, the unusual circumstances of last year have led us to make some improvements and changes to the programme. In response to feedback, we have set up LinkedIn groups for current mentors and mentees, as well as Alumni of past programmes. The hope is that this will provide participants with another platform with which to chat and share information, as well as best practice out with the scheduled meetings and reviews.”

Chris Claydon, ECITB Chief Executive

Chris Claydon, ECITB Chief Executive

ECITB Chief Executive, Chris Claydon, said that now, perhaps more than ever, the mentoring programme was essential to sharing learning and experience from the delivery of projects, something that is vital to the future wellbeing of all sectors.

“These are very challenging times for so many, including those working in the oil and gas sector which is once again facing huge difficulties and economic uncertainty due to the effects of this global pandemic,” he said.

“It is vital that we continue to support all industries through these difficult times and we are delighted that so many individuals applied to take part in this year’s programmes. It requires a lot of commitment and hard work from both the mentor and the mentee; both sides learn a great deal, not just about the work they do, but also about themselves and their own ambitions.”