App-powerment for young engineers
23 October 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201916837
TO help ensure that valuable engineering skills and experience are passed onto the next generation, infrastructure firm AECOM has partnered with Mentoring 4 Success (M4S) to introduce two new mentoring apps, Knowledge Mentor and Mentor Excellerator.
M4S has an exclusive relationship with the Knowledge Mentoring Institute (KMI), which develops knowledge-sharing and professional career acceleration apps and supporting technologies, Business Director Shelley Marsh explained.
“From an AECOM perspective, we are constantly looking to improve the way we do things, and we do acknowledge that our young talent needs mentorship,” HR Business Partner Jill Singh said. “Many companies believe in external training that is aligned with all the different policies and government procedures, but we have realised that mentorship is key, which is why we have partnered with M4S since 2009.”
Singh said the traditional approach to mentoring is to invite participants to a master class, but the tight deadlines and margin pressure in the engineering and construction sectors in particular means that mentors and candidates are often unable to attend. “Not only does this mean they have to catch up later on any important information they may have missed out on, the opportunity for interaction with one’s peers has also gone to waste.”
Knowledge Mentor aims to leverage technology to overcome the shortcomings of this traditional approach. Marsh said the app has a solid framework built on best knowledge management and mentoring practices on a modern mobile technology stack. The knowledge themes contained in the app are client specific – which, in the case of AECOM, are linked to its common critical conversations across various disciplines.
“It is not only about sharing knowledge, but also selecting who, and how, you want to interact with each other. If you are on-site in Ghana, for example, and have a project-specific question, this can be addressed to your mentor, group, division, or discipline, making the app applicable across teams, countries, and regions,” Marsh said.
“The value of mentorship does not lie in simply pairing people off and then leaving them to their own devices. Most companies adopt a tick-box approach in this regard, which has zero impact on the organisation.”
The MentorExcellerator app has subsequently been introduced as a follow-on from Knowledge Mentor, designed specifically to drive and monitor young candidates, increasing focus on professional development and their journey to registration in all their day-to-day activities.
Singh said knowledge and experience are seldom gained in the classroom. “This app allows our young candidates to journalise their learning within their respective professional frameworks in the very moment of learning, as well as notify their mentors at the same time. It caters for all our built environment professionals, and will provide AECOM with the critical evidence and impact that we want to track in order to identify our future leaders and professionals at an early stage.
“The app has already received interest from multiple professional institutions and learned societies locally and internationally, and it will give us invaluable insights into the professional development journeys of all our young candidates in future.”