Industry Mentorship Program builds confidence and inspires career paths
For SAIT student Jorden Fanson, returning to post-secondary meant jumping back into the books, dusting off the resume and looking at new career opportunities. Two years after completing her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at the University of Calgary, Fanson decided to enroll in SAIT’s Bachelor of Applied Technology Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program.
To help with the transition back to school and future career shifts, Fanson looked into SAIT’s Industry Mentorship Program. This initiative connects students with SAIT graduates already working in the student’s desired industry and gives them the opportunity to grow their professional skills, build their network and explore potential career paths.
“When I was at the U of C, I did the mentorship program there and found it very beneficial,” says Fanson. “Making a career change, I figured talking to someone in the industry would be beneficial, and I wanted to get insight into the different types of GIS jobs.”
Guidance and motivation
Fanson was paired with SAIT graduate Kori Ford (GIS ’17) as her mentor. Through her work in the industry as a Content Fulfillment Manager at Hexagon Geosystems, Ford provided knowledge and motivation to Fanson as she continued her journey.
“Providing guidance in the form of mentorship can really help them see the ‘big picture’ coming out of their program and into the industry,” says Ford. “Stepping into a professional environment can be daunting as a new graduate, and the transition from student to early-career professional can be challenging in many ways. So, I think having input from someone in the industry who has walked that path — better yet, attended SAIT and took the same program — can help ease some of the anxieties that often come with putting yourself into unfamiliar territory.”
That same belief resonated with Fanson.
“Applying for jobs and preparation is something everyone can improve on, and it helps to have someone who is in the industry work with you on it,” she says. “Kori helped me with my resume and cover letter, helped me prepare for an interview and helped me feel more confident in changing careers as well.”
The program’s benefits go in both directions, as mentors also have the opportunity to enhance their leadership and coaching skills.
“The opportunity to mentor someone really helps you develop your teaching and coaching abilities, which is always a valuable skill to have, particularly as you grow in your career and need to employ similar skills with new hires and early-career professionals,” says Ford. “I also enjoy the satisfaction of helping someone in the early stages of their career, particularly in aspects that I believe would have benefitted me back when I was a student.”
Want to get involved and inspire current SAIT students like Jorden? SAIT’s Career Advancement Services is looking for mentors for the Winter 2023 Industry Mentorship Program. This 12-week program starts on February 6, 2023, and runs until April 14, 2023, matching industry mentors with a SAIT student studying in your industry.
Visit sait.ca/alumni/get-involved to find out more.