Sara King-Abadi - 18 September 2023
CIM launches new cloud-based mentorship program
A renewed mentorship program from CIM is now available to CIM National members. The CIM Mentorship Program exists to connect newer generations of mining professionals with those more experienced in the industry to provide guidance at the beginning of their careers.
Initially launched in 2018, the program took a hiatus during the pandemic and was relaunched in August with a new platform behind it: MentorCity. This innovative platform allows for streamlined mentor-mentee pairing, a high margin of safety including background checks and a code of conduct, and greater success for participants.
“While we took steps to improve the mentorship experience for both mentees and mentors, an important part of the program update is the addition of MentorCity software,” said Christopher Marilley, director of membership engagement, partnerships and professional development at CIM. “This software will improve the accuracy of the matching process, facilitate meetings and produce reports that will help us provide a better experience for all users.”
All it takes for a mentor or mentee to become part of the program is to register online and complete a profile. Enrolment in the program is free and open to all CIM National members in good standing, including students and recent graduates, anywhere in the world.
“By completing that profile, it will help you align with a mentor who has similar interests,” Marilley explained. “The idea is you match skills and the platform allows them to create their own structure, but [at the same time] it’s a structured platform in that it reminds them they need to engage.”
For SNC-Lavalin senior process engineer and mentor Chris Koutsaris, having a mentor in the industry when he started out 15 years ago would have made all the difference. He explained that from jargon to workplace dynamics, the industry’s learning curve is steep. “When you start out, you don’t know anything,” he said. “Everybody has to figure this stuff out—it keeps you from quitting the industry.”
He believes that having a mentor can help to demystify nuances in the business and keep young talent in mining. “You can look at it like having an older sibling in the workplace,” Koutsaris said.
For Marilley, there are two ways of looking at the program, first as a mentor who is excited to give back to younger people entering the mining industry. “It’s really vital to help guide some of the youth into the work environment because, as we know, students who are coming out of third-year, fourth-year university, they don’t have that experience.”
Then, as a mentee, where having someone to point you in the right direction can have a real impact. “Having a mentor in the industry that you’re looking at, the year you develop your education, is such a great asset to build some confidence and knowing what the next steps are in your career path,” said Marilley.
That helping hand now extends across the globe thanks to the new virtual platform. Mentors and mentees are able to connect across continents, giving valuable insights into a global industry.
“A lot of youth come out of school and one of their passions is to see the world and the mining industry does allow for that,” said Marilley. “Somebody from Australia or South Africa could give you some great insight into what it’s like to work in a different country.” A mentorship program is also a way to help keep students in mining by offering a window into the real-world possibilities when you enter the workforce, Marilley explained.
“Enrolment is down in university programs… keeping these students on the [mining career] path is so important.”
The Mining Industry Human Resources Council’s National Outlook 2021 report found that enrolment in mining engineering undergraduate programs fell by roughly one-third from 2015 to 2019.
Marilley sees the online platform as a “great start” but expects to see the program grow beyond its current iteration. “I think phase two will be bringing [mentors and mentees] together in person and helping them grow their network,” he said. “That’s where we see this program growing.”