Tue 30 March 2021
As our members launch into the 2021 Autumn cohort of our Positive Action towards Career Engagement (PACE) Mentoring program, we’re looking at the different approaches and outcomes members have experienced with the program.
Since 2013, members across our network have developed their leadership skills and improved their disability confidence by mentoring jobseekers with disability as part of the PACE program. The mutually beneficial relationship allows jobseekers to gain exposure to the workplace and to expand their professional networks.
Hear how three of our members are benefiting even further from the program:
Mentee comes full circle at ANZ
As one of the principal sponsors of the program in 2013, ANZ is no stranger to PACE. Initially only offering the program in their New South Wales offices, ANZ now offers PACE in locations across the country.
“Time after time I see the extraordinary results of PACE for both the mentor, and the mentee,” says Ricki Sandler, National Coordinator for the PACE program at ANZ.
An added benefit, PACE provided the tools and knowledge to kickstart the career of former mentee James Leonard.
James had a goal to land a six week internship, which he was able to achieve using the developmental skills he had developed within the PACE program. He went on to secure a place in the ANZ graduate program, and now has a permanent position within ANZ. His story has come full circle as he now mentors PACE mentees.
“PACE is an absolute win-win situation in its truest form,” says Ricki. “Mentors benefit from building their disability confidence and leadership skills and this in turn helps broaden knowledge of products and services that their organisation can provide to their customer’s to be more accessible and inclusive.”
This year, ANZ is on goal to surpass 600 mentoring journeys, demonstrating the value and belief in the program.
Participating in the program is an easy choice. “It’s a no brainer,” says Ricki “It’s so obvious. It’s a win-win for all.”
Mentors build up professional networks
“I would encourage any organisation to get involved in the PACE program. The program is extremely enriching for the mentors and expands their view on diversity, as well as providing them with a disability awareness and confidence,” – Tim Hickman, Finance Director, Asia Pacific and Disability Champion, Cummins
Cummins was on a disability awareness journey when they realised the benefit of PACE. The program was the perfect opportunity to provide a safe environment for mentors to become disability confident, and for mentees with disability to share their experience and be exposed to the workforce.
Mentors at Cummins have also created networking opportunities for their mentees, too.
Mentors at Cummins seek out areas of the business that a mentee is interested in and network on their mentee’s behalf, building out their professional contacts for the future. Mentors introduce their mentees to their contacts inside and outside of the organisation, in the area of the business their mentees are passionate about.
“One of our mentees was interested in finance,” says Tim Hickman, Finance Director – Asia Pacific. “That person ended up as a truly valued teammate in our Finance Team by virtue of the mentor relationship and networking.”
Tim urges organisations to get involved with the program. “I just say absolutely go for it; there is absolutely no downside, there are only upsides for the mentor and the mentee.”
Pilot programs and activities as part of PACE for Vision Australia
Last year was the first time Vision Australia participated in the PACE program. With a high employment rate of people who experience low vision or blindness – 15% – Vision Australia’s Diversity and Inclusion lead, Ranmali McComack, was eager to get involved to scope out new prospective employees.
Vision Australia took a different approach to PACE. Their unique approach saw group and individual activities and workshops be offered as part of the PACE program. Allowing mentees and mentors to opt in or out of each session, depending on their interest level, some activities and workshops included:
- Access to online learning offered by LinkedIn and unlimited amount of eLearns applicable to their interests.
- “Rock your profile,” LinkedIn session, where mentees were supported in creating and improving their Linkedin Profiles, facilitated by Vision Australia’s account manager at LinkedIn.
- One-on-one assistive technology sessions, where mentees were given the opportunity to speak with an Assistive Technology Specialist to discuss their adaptive equipment needs and to find out how to access NDIS funding to purchase adaptive equipment.
Having piloted the activities and workshops during their first year of PACE, Ranmali says “It was a great way to trial if the activities and workshops would be well received in future PACE programs.”
Ranmali says that the peer support aspect of the program, facilitated by the workshops and complimentary activities run by Vision Australia, is also important.
“The value of peer support should never be underestimated,” says Ranmali. “Whilst one-one-one meetings with mentors is a critical aspect of the program, peer support and learning from peers can be just as valuable.”