Being Asked to be a Mentor – guest post by Amanda Winder

Amanda blogI met Lucy last year when exhibiting at a Mums Enterprise roadshow. Lucy explained that she was setting up a website to allow people thinking of a career change to experience a particular job/business through a shadowing experience to see if it’s right for them. I thought this was a great idea so Lucy & I continued to talk over the next few months to discuss further.

My background is HR and training, predominantly within the construction sector and with big corporates. When I was made redundant 4 years ago, it was a chance for me to think about what I wanted to do; did I want a change or go for a similar corporate role? I decided to set up my own learning & development consultancy, still predominantly within the construction sector but assisting those businesses that don’t have HR resource or businesses that require some additional resource for a project. Setting up your own business can be quite scary and exciting. The biggest difference from corporate world is you don’t have specialist teams-accounts, IT, business development to fall back on, just you. However, 4 years on Strive Development is still going and I’m enjoying the flexibility and challenge of running my own business.

When thinking about maybe changing career, it can be scary and risky. Are you able to take a drop in salary for a period of time, is something you may need to consider. Often when we think of other careers, we may be looking through rose coloured glasses and don’t necessarily know much about what they do. So, I think the opportunity offered through ViewVo to mentor individuals and have them shadow me is fantastic.

As an HR professional, I am very passionate about supporting people in their career development and assisting people commencing their career whether after leaving school/college or when changing career or returning from a career break. Through spending time with me, I will share my experience of working for corporates as well as running your own business and the key aspects of working within HR whether as a generalist or specialist in development. I think this a great initiative and opportunity and one I wish I’d had.

I often go into schools to talk about careers in construction and also encourage businesses to offer work experience. When talking to young people about work experience I tell them that, if at the end of their week they decide that accountancy isn’t for them, then they have still gained something. Without their work experience they may have studied for several years in accountancy, to then find out it wasn’t the career for them. In a similar way, an experience with ViewVo can allow you to experience a different career through shadowing before you fully commit.

Finally, if considering setting up your own business, remember there is a lot of information and assistance out there from organisations such as British Library Business Centre, City Library, Herts Growth Hub and many others. It’s also good to have friends or people you can talk to bounce ideas off, ask for help and just talk to because sometimes running your own business can be lonely.

Amanda Winder is the founder of Strive Development, a Learning & Development Consultancy.

You can view Amanda’s ViewVo mentor profile and connect with her here

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