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THE Scottish Wholesale Association is inviting experienced individuals working within the wholesale and retail sectors or wider food and drink industry to consider volunteering as a mentor for the trade body’s successful Mentoring Programme.

SWA says that ‘several ambitious individuals currently working for SWA member wholesalers in the key areas of buying, sales and management are waiting to be matched’ to a suitable mentor as part of the programme which was established five years ago to improve skills and nurture emerging talent within the Scottish wholesale industry.

Individuals are matched with a mentor who could be from within or outside the wholesale industry. Mentees benefit from regular one-to-one sessions with their mentor plus unlimited telephone contact and, crucially for employers, the programme is structured around the individual needs of the employee in line with the business vision.

Sandie Holmes, managing consultant at 121 HR Solutions, the SWA’s training partner, is facilitating the programme. She explained: “We’ve been delighted to have benefited from the input of several inspiring men and women who have worked with our mentees since we launched the programme back in 2012.

“However, we are now inviting a fresh batch of enthusiastic people who would like to give something back to the wholesale industry by working with an employee to give them the benefit of their experience in business but also helping them develop in solving problems, challenging themselves and even changing the way they do certain things.”

Most mentees, she added, had benefited by becoming more confident, more focused on making decisions and more willing to take on board new ideas with no fear of the risk factor. “Sitting down with a mentor from outside their own business has helped many of our mentees challenge themselves by focusing their minds on how they do their job and how they could do it better.

“This could be the way they present and articulate information, how they interact with other members of staff or how they go about planning their day – even very small changes can have a positive effect on a person’s ability to do their job to the best of their ability and a fresh perspective from someone outside the organisation can often be a constructive catalyst for making changes and improvements.”

Mentors, stressed Holmes, can also benefit from the experience. “You don’t have to be a chief executive or a managing…