The Lloydminster Mentorship Project (LMP) was born from a resounding “Yes!”
When Local Immigration Partnership (LLIP) completed a service review and survey of over 150 of its participants they evaluated LLIP's current services and the need for potential new services. The survey included several questions in their service review about mentorship. When participants were asked about the value of mentorship for newcomers, most of them set a high value on it.
“Because of that, we felt it a mentorship program would be well received in our community,” says Glenys Reeves-Gibbs, LMP project coordinator. “We do believe there's a lot of mentorships that goes on in the community right now, but it's informal, and we thought a more formalized process would help people who may not have access to that informal mentoring.”
Glenys helped form a steering committee to create the new Lloydminster Mentorship Project. The steering committee consists of the local Chamber of Commerce, several organizations that work with entrepreneurs, Lakeland College, Gateway Centre for Newcomers, LLIP, and a representative from the newcomer community. The steering committee met, participated in a planning session, and recruitment began for possible mentors.
The new mentorship program kicked off with an event on September 25, 2023. “Storm in a Teacup,” an event Glenys helped coordinate for female entrepreneurs, will see experts and mentors come together in a casual setting, with the intention of matching any number of participants with mentors on the spot.
Like every town and city, Lloydminster is a unique place to settle. The importance of the survey cannot be underestimated because it provided the LMP steering committee with data that showed how to shape a mentorship program that was relevant to the local context.
“I think data gathering is really important,” Glenys says. “You can do it a variety of different ways, but I do think that's key to understanding what your community needs and not just from the perspective of service providers. It was key for us to hear from people who have immigrated and settled in Lloydminster and what they needed.”
Newcomers identified areas where mentorship would be helpful, some professional and some personal. Some are as complicated as how to receive credentials, and some are location specific about settling into the local community. Since Lloydminster is located on the border between Saskatchewan and Alberta, it presents unique challenges to newcomers (and locals alike) regarding accessing services, paperwork, and licensing, for example.
“Newcomers who come to Lloydminster, likely someone in the family has work here, and that’s what’s drawing them,” explains Glenys. “There may be other people within the family trying to figure out where they fit and how they can work in the community. So, that’s why I think the survey and some of the areas we identified were important for us. For example, if they're coming with teenagers, they want to know what the educational opportunities will be for them. Or maybe they have a spouse who needs to go back to school and get more training. How do they apply?”
Potential areas for mentorship indicated by survey respondents:
“I cannot say anything but positive things about the Alberta Mentorship Program. They are great at checking in with us.”
Glenys did a planning session and developed a strategic plan about how LMP wanted to go forward with the mentorship program. Sample documents and forms made it easy to create needed resources. Glenys will continue to meet with the AMP team to plan how to evaluate the program.
“I have had an opportunity to speak to both of the Rotary Clubs in Lloydminster, and AMP certainly volunteered any support I needed regarding putting the presentation together to explain what we were doing with the mentorship program,” Glenys says.
If your community is looking to begin a new mentorship program, Glenys has some additional advice: “Use the resources that the Alberta Mentorship Program has because they have done a lot of work on them, and they are easy to adapt. Use the support through that program to help you get up and running.”
She says is also key to find out which organizations currently provide services to people who are immigrating and settling in your community, and what the needs of that community are so you can collaborate and refer people to these services.
“Find the key players that people settling are working with and who might be some of those key resources that will actually provide you with mentors,” says Glenys. “Be creative about what the mentorship needs to look like because there are a lot of different ways for people to be mentored!”
Marketing efforts are heating up for the program as it moves into its first-ever mentorship events. A one-pager describing the program was created to be shared online, posters were done, and the kickoff event was scheduled.
“There is a lot of interest in becoming a mentor in Lloydminster,” Glenys reveals. “We have got our mentors. So now we need to get our people who want mentorship to our events!”
To learn more about the Lloydminster Mentorship Project you can contact Glenys at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The vision of AMP is to connect with new and ongoing mentorship programs and connect them to resources and to each other. This will create a collaborative and supportive culture of mentorship throughout the province and beyond.
The Alberta Mentorship Program appreciates the funding from the Government of Alberta through Labour and Immigration Workforce Strategies. Our program is here to provide information and support to help organizations start mentorship programs.