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Home > News > June 2006 > 21 June 2006

EEDA chairman gives keynote at mentoring conference

Mentoring has a powerful role in the development of human capital, according to Richard Ellis, chairman of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

Richard Ellis was speaking at the Good Mentoring Conference on 9th June 2006, organised by the East Mentoring Forum (Mentfor).

He said: "Mentors are a gold reserve in the modern economy and are helping the East of England move up the economic league table.

"We have ambitious regional goals and Mentfor - by helping embed a culture of mentoring - is supporting a clear strategy to achieve them."

Mentfor was established just over two years ago. It aims to promote an understanding of mentoring, facilitate the development of self-sustaining mentoring programmes, and encourage training and accreditation of mentors.

Richard Ellis said: "Britain's fast growing sectors are knowledge-based industries and the service sector. To excel in both these areas we need people with good communication skills, the ability to understand and be responsive to market needs and to have empathy with the global community.

"These 'soft' skills are not learnt from a book they need to be practiced. A structured mentoring programme provides such a learning experience, raising self esteem and developing the active listening skills that are essential for people-based businesses to thrive.

"Mentfor is an important factor in helping the region to achieve a number of strategic economic goals. A mentoring culture contributes to the creation of a world-class skills base by encouraging people to raise their skills aspirations to the highest level.

"By providing informal business support, mentoring is a strategic asset for growing competitiveness, productivity and entrepreneurship. Additionally, mentoring is particularly important for those who lack self-confidence or resources ensuring social inclusion and broad participation by all in the regional economy.

"Evidence provided by the many speakers at the conference shows how mentoring develops human capital at all levels of society and across the economic environment."

Vince Hagedorn, chief executive of Mentfor commented: "Membership of Mentfor has grown exponentially showing the need and demand for such a networking organisation.

"We have now developed a comprehensive information base on all aspects of mentoring, which is used to respond to the hundreds of requests for information and contacts we receive every week."

Mentoring programmes discussed at the conference included:

  • Leadership development for owner managers
  • Mentoring of young entrepreneurs
  • Partnerships between business and education to support enterprise teaching in schools
  • Work shadowing for pupils wanting to enter competitive professions
  • Support for ex-offenders setting up businesses
  • Peer to peer mentoring

Richard Ellis concluded by saying: "Mentfor's work in improving skills and increasing entrepreneurship across the community are tangible signs of the real progress being made."

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East Mentoring Forum (Mentfor)

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