Who can be a mentor?
All applicants for Registered Membership are expected to have spent a period of time working under the guidance of a mentor who is an experienced ergonomist or human factors professional. Wherever possible a mentor should be a Registered Member or Fellow of the IEHF. We encourage senior members of the Institute to provide a mentoring service to less experienced colleagues, and to provide this time for free. The role of mentor does involve a modest degree of time and effort and as the contribution from the mentor is important to the individual under their guidance, potential mentors should always consider carefully whether they will be able to fulfil the commitment before agreeing to it.
Where can I find a mentor?
Mentors should have professional experience within your particular area of work, so you firstly look for a mentor from within your own organisation, although mentors from other routes are acceptable. Where a mentor is from outside your organisation, you should meet reasonable expenses incurred by your mentor, although it is important that these are agreed in advance by both parties. If you do not know anyone who could be your mentor, you could attend a Regional Group event in your area to meet more people locally, or go to the IEHF’s own Ergonomics & Human Factors conference where there will be lots of people who might be able to help you.
Overseas applicants may not always have access to IEHF members. In these circumstances a mentor holding an equivalent grade of membership with another federated society or organisation, recognised by the International Ergonomics Association or a related professional body, may be acceptable. Check with us in advance that such a mentor is likely to be suitable.
Why is mentoring so important for me?
Mentors help to ensure that you have the opportunity to receive independent advice and guidance from a qualified and experienced ergonomist/human factors expert on your professional development. In particular, mentors are expected to:
- look for and encourage the holistic approach that defines ergonomics
- advise you on methods and techniques
- assist in developing and reviewing a plan of professional development for you
If you are applying for Registered Membership, you must keep a log book of professional work undertaken during the relevant period of experience. The mentor should review the log book at least four times per year. Ideally, this will involve the mentor and you meeting at least twice per year, perhaps with other reviews taking place at a distance. When you are ready to apply, your mentor will be asked to endorse your log book activities with a written report on work and progress.
The mentor’s contribution to your application for Registered Membership is vital. The assessors do not know you, so rely on the evidence provided by you and your mentor to assess your eligibility for membership. The assessors are looking for the mentor to have guided you, and to report your progress and approach on the mentor report form and to have ensured that you have adopted ‘an ergonomics approach’ in that you think and work like a professional ergonomist.
I’ve been asked to be a mentor. What do I need to do?
You could use, as a high level template, the questions that the assessors work to when they are assessing an application. Assessment is clearly more than a tick the box exercise, but if all those questions cannot be answered positively from the information provided then the application will not be approved. So you should be able to look at the log book and identify areas where knowledge or experience is insufficient and then guide the applicant to fill the gaps.
- make suggestions in terms of tools and techniques that might be appropriate for particular work
- look particularly at those areas of knowledge and experience where the applicant might be weak
- help the applicant identify how they can gain necessary experience, particularly if it is not part of their mainstream work
- help and guide the applicant so that they are thinking and working in the way that a professional ergonomist would
- help the applicant learn and gain from their experience
- ensure that the applicant has progressed through the period of the mentorship in terms of work undertaken and approach adopted
- guide and encourage