More than 60 people attended an event last week to mark the completion of the IAEA's first cross-departmental mentoring programme, a collaboration between the Division of Human Resources (MTHR) and the United Nations-Nuclear Young Generation (UN-NYG).
The pilot programme, which ran from October-December 2017, involved 27 mentor-mentee pairs in which nine IAEA Directors, 10 section or lab heads and eight senior staff mentored 27 junior professionals at the Agency. All mentees received a completion certificate.
"One of my main priorities for the year ahead is to focus on people and professional development, and this pilot programme exemplifies some of the most important principles of that focus," said Mary Alice Hayward, Deputy Director General for the Department of Management and sponsor of the programme. "For mentees, it was an excellent chance to learn about the potential skills and career paths that might help them achieve their goals. For mentors, it was an opportunity to encounter new perspectives, and an important reminder that we can all continue to learn and improve, no matter where we are in our careers. It was a pleasure to work with UN-NYG to help bring their vision of a mentorship programme to life."
The mentoring programme provides a unique platform for young staff members to strengthen their professional skills and improve networking capacity through the cultivation of cross-departmental relationships. The programme is based on three pillars: knowledge transfer, professional development and networking. It allows each mentor-mentee pair to determine the formality of the relationship and frequency of meetings, and includes shadowing experience for the mentee with their mentor.
Mentors and mentees in the IAEA pilot programme both highlighted its positive impact, and more than half of the pairs are intending to continue their relationship informally.
"Your mentor is invaluable because she or he can teach you things that are not written – this knowledge you can't read in a book, but you need to have," said mentee Brunelle Battistella, Associate Nuclear Security Officer in NSNS.
Lee Ho-Seung, Programme Management Officer in TCAP and mentor, said: "Mentoring is about picking your brain, pushing in the right direction and listening. Friendship and mutual trust were essential components in making the mentoring relationship work. Having this emotional connection helped us to engage in real dialogue and inspire each other to be even better."
A second round of the mentoring programme will be launched later this year, with details to be announced.