Lloyds Banking Group has joined forces with the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) for the national roll out of a new enterprise mentoring qualification designed to support volunteer mentors across the UK.
The new Enterprise Mentor Champion qualification will be made available to all enterprise mentors involved in the national mentoring initiative – a programme set up by the five major high street banks, the British Bankers Association and the Business Finance Taskforce.
The scheme is designed to train banking professionals to share their skills and experience with entrepreneurs.
The qualification, which was successfully piloted with Lloyds Banking Group mentors across London and the Midlands last year and in 2012, will be made available nationally from the summer when all volunteer mentors will be invited to qualify as an Enterprise Mentor Champion.
With modules specifically created by Lloyds Banking Group and SFEDI, the training programme aims to enable mentors to give high quality help and support to entrepreneurs by focusing on the different strategies and approaches to handling a mentoring relationship.
Volunteer mentors will also learn how they can promote the mentoring scheme within their own organisation and encourage other employees to join the scheme.
Speaking about the qualification Jackie Jenks, senior manager, enterprise mentoring at Lloyds Banking Group, said:
“The introduction of the new Enterprise Mentor Champion qualification will see a significant amount of mentors across the country benefit from additional training and support that is specifically designed to help them form productive and effective relationships.
“Mentoring is a two-way process and it is vital that our volunteers are given access to support that will not only allow their mentees to get the best out of the relationship, but also benefit the mentors as well.
“The course covers a wide range of topics from dealing with sensitive or challenging issues and exercising good judgement, to networking with other mentors to share experiences and learn from each other.”
One volunteer who has already benefited from qualifying as an Enterprise Mentor Champion is IT manager within Lloyds Banking Group’s transaction standards monitoring team, Duncan Webster.
Duncan participated in the pilot scheme in 2012 and, through mentoring organisation Business Mentors South West (BMSW), he was then partnered with the fast-growing, Plymouth-based digital design company, Mutant Labs.
Through a series of regular meetings, Duncan used his years of experience at the bank, and the skills gained from his mentor training, to help support Mutant Labs in a range of areas including the development of a growth strategy, the creation of a marketing plan and the diversification of their product offering.
Duncan has also gone on to mentor several other growing businesses in his area and, along with the Mutant Labs team, won the award for innovation at the 2013 inaugural Enterprise Mentoring Awards.
“Enterprise mentoring is such a rewarding experience, but it is not without its challenges – particularly when it is so different to your day job and an area where you may have little or no experience.
“Having training programmes in place to help you refine your skills and approach is an incredibly important resource and definitely worth participating in.
“My role as an Enterprise Mentor Champion now means that I am also well positioned to promote the scheme amongst my colleagues which will hopefully result in even more mentors signing up.”
Ruth Lowbridge, chief executive at SFEDI, added:
“We are thrilled that this new qualification will be rolled out on a national basis.
After seeing the success of the pilot and the number of mentors and mentees that benefitted hugely from the training, we are keen to ensure that as many other volunteers have access to the course.”