Saturday, November 14, 2009

Careers brilliant

The mentoring program. A self-interested manoeuvre I can understand.

HR might sell the concept as a one-sided transaction in which seasoned solicitors tend selflessly to the budding talent, but we all know it's about keeping the milkers in the pens.

A sense of belonging goes a long way, as any cult leader could tell you.

I deeply respect the cynicism of it all, I really do. But I worry when the big end of town takes to the streets to twist its mentoring tentacles around the yoof.

In a recent initiative, some Sydney shops have teamed with a posse of merchant banks and management consultants (amongst others) to mentor secondary students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Maybe it's wrong to tar all corporate cats with my disaffected, middle-class brush, but - in case I haven't been explicit - I'm not sure this life is worthy of emulation.

With that in mind, I've instituted an informal mentoring program of my own at the factory and I hope to roll it out across secondary schools in the inner-west before 2010.

I peddle a message of hope to kids at risk of taking a wrong turn into mercenary mean streets.

The results thus far have been positive: at least one aspiring lawyer has enrolled instead in Liberal Arts and a young merchant banker has taken to macrame basket-weaving with gusto.

I call it Talent Redistribution.

It's a richly rewarding way of giving back to the community.

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