Environmental Scan: Mentorship in Rural Alberta

Mentorship in Rural Alberta | An Environmental Scan from Alberta Mentorship Program

AMP launched in 2019 with the mission to support mentorship programs working on career and economic integration—specifically for newcomers to Canada.

AMP’s pilot phase included the following:

  • developing a website with free resources and information about mentoring Canadian newcomers;
  • hosting events and bootcamps about mentorship; and
  • creating custom mentorship programs with Lethbridge Family Services and YMCA Northern Alberta in Wood Buffalo.

Now, building on the success of the first phase, AMP is moving on to its second phase. This phase will focus on working with five rural or small centre community organizations to build mentorship programs. AMP will also continue to build free online resources to support mentors, mentees, and employers. With rural mentorship being the focus of AMP’s future, an environmental scan was developed to assess the current situation and the challenges and opportunities for small centre and rural mentorship programs.

Currently, there are not many mentorship programs in rural Alberta—the existing programs only serve select professions and industries. The Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) is the “umbrella organization for Alberta’s settlement and integration sector,” which serves 56 newcomer-serving agencies across Alberta. However, it mainly focuses on settlement rather than employment.

The environmental scan outlines several challenges, along with associated opportunities AMP provides, for small centre and rural mentorship programs. These challenges and opportunities are listed below:

Challenge: New programs with few resources

Opportunity: AMP’s website provides advice, forms, and resources that are freely available to help jumpstart new programs.

Challenge: Finding sufficient funding

Opportunity: AMP can foster relationships between organizations that could increase their ability to collaborate.

Challenge: Service delivery knowledge and experience gaps

Opportunity: AMP and other mentorship programs can facilitate and encourage knowledge sharing.

Challenge: Foster partnerships and collaboration

Opportunity: AMP has the capacity and mission to help support and promote collaboration with our understanding of the mentorship landscape in Alberta.

Challenge: Lack of skills for digital delivery

Opportunity: AMP continues to use digital delivery as it makes our program accessible province-wide and can be preserved on our website for knowledge capture.

Challenge: Resistance to newcomers

Opportunity: AMP’s resources, programming, and social media will include information about the benefits of diversity and inclusion.

Challenge: Mentor recruitment

Opportunity: AMP has built resources that can provide ideas on how to approach this challenge, and we will continue to focus on this when we establish organizational mentorship.

Challenge: Community champions

Opportunity: AMP will continue to encourage new and existing programs to look for and foster community champions.

For more information on AMP’s second phase and its goals for mentorship in rural Alberta, read the Environmental Scan.

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