The Advancement and Alumni Relations Office at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) recently hosted a Mentorship Webinar, via MS Teams.
In relation to nurturing links with alumni, who have an important role to play in the development of the institution, the Advancement and Alumni Relations Office also announced the establishment and launch of the Durban University of Technology (DUT) Alumni Mentorship Programme.
The guest speaker at the webinar was Arusha Dasrath from Supreme Consulting, who is the managing member in the company which offers HR Services and Expertise. She is also personally involved in managing all business and partnerships. Dasrath is registered with the HPCSA as an Industrial Psychologist. Whilst completing her Master’s Degree, she began her career in the Public Sector; in the Human Resources Department of the eThekwini Municipality. After registering as a psychologist in 2004, her experience in the discipline steadily strengthened, as her career progressed in the Private Sector.
Dasrath’s 15-year tenure within the corporate environment had provided her with the opportunity to lead various teams: from specialised teams in Assessments as well as Recruitment and eventually heading the HR Division with a team of HR generalists reporting to her.
She spoke on the vital role and importance of a Mentorship Programme, explaining the definition of mentorship which is a learning and development relationship in which a more experienced, knowledgeable, and empowered person helps to guide a less experienced or knowledgeable person become empowered to enhance or improve their skills that will allow them to integrate into the world of work or take them closer to accomplishing their goals.
She also defined what mentoring meant which is a process between the mentor and the mentee that involves communication to impart knowledge and to provide psychological support that the mentee feels is relevant and necessary for work, career or professional development.
She stressed that there are three things necessary for the programme to be successful.
“The personal one on one aspect, understanding your role as a mentor and a mentee, as well as playing your role and being 100% commitment,” she said.
Furthermore, Dasrath highlighted the role of a mentor, saying that a mentor must have the willingness to spend time with one’s mentee.
“Be someone with a plan. Set the foundation at the outset and let your plan be goal driven. Always begin with positives and do not praise natural talents. Praise behaviours. Have the courage to correct behaviour and the ability to assist by drawing in a solution,” she said.
Dasrath emphasised the crucial role of the mentee. “As mentees you need the willingness to learn, grow and expand. Having the willingness to learn requires being open to receiving feedback and communicating without fear. Have a conversation with yourself: What is your strengths, what do you really do well and what are some of your challenges,” she said.
Dasrath relayed that there is a need for mentees to understand who the individuals are in the relationship.
“In your first meeting, highlight pertinent points that you have from your introspection notes. Understand expectations and the way forward. Listen for understanding and ask questions of clarity. Also, being honest, motivated and serious about all tasks increases the connectivity between the mentor and the mentee,” she stressed.
In addition, she spoke about the benefits of the mentorship programme, indicating that the mentee will benefit by gaining practical advice, encouragement and support. They will learn from the experiences of others and increase their social and academic confidence. She then explained on the institute and mentor, relaying that it is seen for developing a well-rounded set of individuals with skills and attributes that prepare them for their journey after campus.
“This programme increases the visibility and recognition of the institute as you are seen for growing future leaders with some practical experience. It also supports a learning culture,” she said.
A question and answer session ensued with a vote of thanks given by Fundraising and Alumni Relations Manager, Mrs Nishie Govender and Alumni Relations Co-ordinator, Ronelle Lyson.
Pictured: Arusha Dasrath