Last Friday I attended a Mentor Exchange of Experience event at Bradford University. It was held in the J. B. Priestley Library, which gave participants the opportunity to have a look around after the event. After general introductions, there was a discussion about the benefits of mentoring for CILIP and other schemes, such as the Higher Education Academy. These included opportunities for networking outside the information sector as well as chances to show off what is done within the information sector.
This was followed by a discussion about the need for revalidation, and a quick summary of the previous mentor exchange session in October as well as a recap of current professional registration levels and assessment criteria. CILIP is keen for members to see the pathway from Certification to Fellowship as a continuum, and therefore has streamlined the levels: there are three criteria for each level and the portfolios need to include a 1,000 word evaluative statement. The main point to take away from this is that applicants need to show professional judgment at each level. As Maureen, the current Mentor Support Officer puts it: “wow the assessors”, and be aware that small mistakes such as copyright infringements can cost you valuable points. I would illustrate what you need to look at like this:
The discussion moved on to the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB), and how it can be quite a scary thing to tackle. It is recommended that you and your mentees use the PKSB Gap Analysis Tool rather than the whole PKSB document, as it is not necessary to fill out the whole document. Instead, mentees should concentrate on areas they need and want to improve (ideally resulting in twelve pieces of evidence that concentrate on six to ten sub-areas of the PKSB). It was also stressed that it is okay if the final PKSB and portfolio concentrates on different areas to the initial PKSB that was filled out at the beginning of the registration process. Assessors will mainly look at the evaluative statement and how mentees have developed throughout the process and reflected on the evidence, rather than the quality of each piece of evidence. A good tip was to add reflective parts to each piece of evidence to show why the piece is included and how it adds value.
The PKSB can be used for revalidation but is not required if you choose not to use it for that. A revalidation submission needs to include a CPD log as well as a brief evaluative statement, but no evidence pieces. If you want help, have a look at this upcoming event: Revalidate your Professional Registration.
Maureen went on to explain where different types of CILIP information can be found, and then showed us how to use the VLE more effectively. The CILIP website is mainly for information that is available publicly, the VLE has information for CILIP members and the portfolio area within the VLE is for submissions and members’ documents. The main channels for questions from both mentees and mentors should be addressed to CILIP directly, their mentor or asked in VLE forums.
The CILIP portfolio is the place where CILIP members can present themselves, which requires a decent profile page, ideally with an image and a brief description, to help mentees choose a mentor. The portfolio is also a space where members can connect with each other through messages and groups, and share documents. One of the main groups mentors should join is the national CILIP Mentors group, as well as the local Y&H Mentors group.
The discussion ended with two participants sharing their experiences of mentoring for other schemes. The main points that came out of this for me was that mentoring is about interaction between people and bringing out things that the mentee might not have considered as relevant or as achievements. Further it is important to not be ‘bogged down in bureaucracy’. There is always a danger to obsess about formatting ad other details, rather than looking at content and how to confidently support mentees at whatever stage of learning they are at. Another good point that was made was that CILIP mentors are not in a position to defend CILIP as an organisation. This led to a discussion about how members can change the organisation and the need to get involved on a local and national level. It was also pointed out that members do not make use of all the benefits CILIP offers, often because they are not aware of them, for example access to career and legal advice.
I found it a useful event, and enjoyed meeting colleagues in a relaxed and informal environment.
Here are some useful links (for some of them you will need to log into the CILIP VLE):
Levels of Professional Registration – under each level you will find key resources
Resources for candidates – you can find a mentoring agreement checklist
Professional registration support – a place where you can find information for mentors and mentees, for example what to expect from a mentoring relationship, and an FAQ section (more FAQs needed!)