Mentoring program provides skills network for staff

Staff retention, career paths and a happy, productive environment are among the goals of Mackay Regional Council’s new Mentoring Program.

In its first year, 18 participants and 15 mentors have signed up for the program, which aims to provide a pathway for staff.

The Mackay region in North Queensland covers more than 7,600 square kilometres and is home to 116,000 people.

Acting Mayor Darryl Camilleri said the mentoring initiative forms part of Council’s drive to breakdown interdepartmental barriers by building leadership skills and offering engagement with leaders across Council.

“This region has been identified as one of the fastest growing areas in Queensland, and as one of the largest employers, it is important that Council is achieving organisational excellence through providing training and development avenues for employees,” he said.

“Recruiting quality staff is important, but retaining and developing our employees and future leaders within Council is equally important.”

Kerri Verroen is an employee of eight years and currently works in Governance. She said the program has allowed her to broaden her knowledge, leadership skills and self esteem.

“Having someone else’s views (my mentor) on how to better deal with a work related situation, or just general guidance has been very beneficial from a personal and work related perspective,” Kerri Verroen said.

The facilitator of the formal mentoring is Dr Tim Baker – an international consultant and managing director of Winners at Work, which specialises in assisting organisations to develop productive workplace cultures.

A survey by the Industrial Society published in 1999 covered more than 300 organisations, with over 80 per cent reporting that coaching and mentoring has improved the achievements of individual performance targets and goals.

“When done right, mentoring is one of the most powerful ways an organisation can retain good people by providing career guidance and long term support with minimum disruption to a workplace,” Councillor Camilerri said.