The mentee becomes the mentor and good things happen

Mon 24 February 2020

Two men standing together in corporate attire, both holding PACE completion certificates. Australian Network on Disability banner in the background.

Image: Benjamin Lung standing with PACE mentor Christian Almeida.

 

Christian Almeida has been supported by some incredible mentors throughout his career, something he says has been of enormous benefit to him in his journey to become Senior Financial Analyst at global technology leader, Cummins South Pacific. So, when the opportunity arose to become a mentor himself, through Australian Network on Disability’s PACE program, Christian jumped at the chance.

Positive Action towards Career Engagement, or PACE Mentoring, connects jobseekers with disability to mentors from leading Australian businesses. The purpose of PACE is two-fold: to improve employability for job seekers and students with disability, as well as to increase disability confidence in employees and mentors.

Christian was matched with student Benjamin Lung who was looking to learn more about how the finance function operates in large companies, as well as how to tackle interview situations, in preparation for when he completes his studies and begins his job search.

The pair immediately hit if off. At first, they used a questions and agenda sheet provided by the PACE team, but soon they were running their own race.

“After a couple of meetings, Benjamin had plenty of questions as well as some real-life scenarios to discuss,” said Christian.

The pair talked about business processes, the operational environment and the finance industry in general. Benjamin gained insights and strategies which would help not only in his future career, but also immediately, in his studies.

“My mentor guided me in how to lead a team, giving me advice on how to negotiate and get the best outcomes,” said Benjamin. “I used my learnings in a group assignment at university where I was nominated leader, and we got full marks! It was great to be able to put his advice in to action and enjoy the rewards.”

Ben came into the program relatively shy but had a goal to build confidence, and it’s a goal he and Christian both agree he’s achieved.

“At the end of program event, I barely got a chance to speak to Benjamin because he was so busy networking with other candidates and mentors. It was just so rewarding to see him in action” says Christian.

“On a personal level. I gained important insights into how workplaces can make simple adjustments to better accommodate employees with disability. At Cummins, disability is not seen as something that’s out of the ordinary, but I’ve still learned so much more from my time with Ben than I even expected – a truly rewarding experience!”

About PACE Mentoring 

PACE Mentoring offers a unique opportunity for professionals to build their leadership skills and disability confidence by mentoring talented jobseekers with disability. 

Any employee of an AND Member organisation can become a PACE Mentor. All they need is a willingness to share their experiences, skills and knowledge as they support their mentee to achieve their career goals. 

If you're looking for an effective way to build disability confidence and engagement in your organisation, contact Program Manager Isabel Heiner on 03 9621 2276 or isabel.heiner@and.org.au, or visit our PACE Mentoring pages to find out how it works. 

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