Total People offer short courses aimed at individuals who have been identified to support learners throughout their NVQ programme.

The Mentor’s Role:
A relationship and a set of processes where one person offers help, guidance, advice and support to facilitate the learning or development of another person.
  • Guiding without directing
  • Bringing about change without disruption
  • Helping the apprentice to free themselves from internal obstacle and difficulties
  • Encouraging apprentices to discover new approaches and solutions to problems

There are several elements to the role of a mentor:


When necessary, the interpreter helps the learner to understand the nature of the workings of the organisation. Interpreters can describe, explain and clarify:

  • The organisation’s mission and objectives
  • Its structure, policies and procedures
  • The norms, values and management style
  • How work is organised
  • How the organisation relates to its markets and to its customers
  • Advocate

Advocates know how to make things happen, get things done, and win understanding and support because they:

  • Maintain information and formal contacts with a wide range of the organisation’s managers and opinion leaders
  • Know how to operate effectively in the organisation culture and how to get things done
  • Identify who should be involved in supporting the programme and seek their support
  • Communicate the objectives and the benefits of the programme
  • Represent the learner’s interests to the senior management of the organisation
  • Maintaining a relationship

Mentors establish and maintain a constructive and helpful relationship with the learner because they:

  • Are readily accessible to the learner and, within reason, make time available when required
  • Ask the right questions to make the learner think and come up with answers that matter
  • Strike a good balance between giving direction and help and enabling the learner to set his/her own direction
  • Act as a confidante to the learners
  • Counsel the learners where appropriate
  • Process Consultant


Process Consultants establish a mutual understanding with the learners regarding how they will manage the learning process to achieve objectives and how their relationship will support the learner because they:

  • Help the learner to set a realistic time-frame for the achievement of the learning objectives and motivate the learner to keep to it
  • Agree a clear framework of how often, when and where they will meet
  • Give the learner honest and constructive feedback
  • Learning Consultant

Learning consultants identify and help the learners to find and use learning opportunities because they:

  • Help to analyse strengths, weaknesses and needs
  • Generate and examine a broad range of options and alternatives
  • Suggest appropriate assignments or projects in which suitable learning can take place
  • Use appropriate questioning to maximise learning from experience
  • Coach where appropriate
  • Mentor Qualities

In order to identify whether someone is appropriate for the role of mentor or to establish your own suitability to the role, the following points should be considered:

  • Management perspective – someone who has experience of, and competence in, management. Alternatively, through experience working with managers in organisations, someone who has a widespread exposure to and understands management practices and pressures.
  • Organisational know-how – someone who knows how to get things done within the organisational system in which the apprentice works.
  • Credibility – someone who knows how to get things done within the organisational system in which the apprentice works.
  • Accessibility – someone who is able to make themselves available to others when they need it.
  • Communication – someone who has a strong range of interpersonal skills and can identify with the ideas, views and feelings of other people.
  • Empowering Orientation – someone who creates a climate and the conditions in which it is safe for individuals to try out different ways of doing things, to contribute more fully, and to have a greater share in what is going on in their organisation.
  • Developing Orientation – someone who has experience of and takes a keen and active interest in the development of other people.
  • Inventiveness – someone who is open to new ideas and to different ways of doing things. Someone who perceives different and useful connections and patterns, and is a good, creative problem-solver in his/her own right.