Egin is a Peer Mentoring programme, where groups who have never worked on climate action before are linked up with people who have the skills, experience and know-how to help them get their ideas off the ground. Peer mentoring is not the same as consulting an expert – it’s about having somebody like you who’s been already done what you’re aiming to do who will talk to you as a friend or equal.
Our vision at DTA Wales is of thriving and resilient communities across Wales, places of possibility where people can take control of their lives, through community enterprise, social action and community asset ownership. Peer to peer mentoring is at the heart of this approach. Through some of our other programmes apart from Egin, we bring a strong network of peer mentors from across Wales with a diverse range of experience and skill. Read more about DTA Wales’s other programmes here.
What is Peer Mentoring?
Peer mentoring is a partnership between two people (mentor and mentee). It is a helpful relationship based upon mutual trust and respect. Peer Mentors use their past experiences and knowledge to help guide or direct the person or group they are mentoring in a supportive and empowering way.
Egin’s Peer Mentors are community members who have direct experience with taking action on climate change and sustainability at a local level. They are willing to share their knowledge and skills to support and empower other community groups to reach their goals.
Peer mentoring places emphasis on personal growth, self-discovery, and the development of skills. It does not provide specific recommendations on matters with significant legal, technical, or financial consequences, including planning. It also doesn’t mean carrying out a group’s work on their behalf – a Peer Mentor’s role is to provide guidance and support as groups do these activities themselves, fostering their growth and self-sufficiency, being on hand to help groups develop solutions and ideas.
The Benefits of Peer Mentoring
DTA Wales has been collecting feedback from our mentees and mentoring programmes for the last 10 years, and so these benefits are drawn from our own action research. For an individual or group receiving peer mentoring, some of the benefits include:
- Skill building: Mentoring provides timely access to skills and expertise, serving as a catalyst for positive transformation and growth.
- Tailored Support: Mentees receive detailed, skilled and customised support from a diverse pool of expertise, complementing other sources of advice and guidance.
- Building Confidence: Learning from experienced peers who have achieved similar aims boosts the mentee’s confidence and belief in their own abilities.
- Knowledge Transfer: Mentoring facilitates the transfer of knowledge and skills, empowering mentees to take informed action, enhancing their overall competence and capacity.
- Expanded Networks: Mentees gain new connections and expand their networks with like-minded individuals, offering inspiration, encouragement, and opportunities for collaboration.
- Cultivating Creativity: Peer mentoring cultivates creative approaches to working and engaging with people, increasing the likelihood of success in achieving goals.
- Personal Growth and Development: Mentees benefit from various personal growth outcomes, including learning new skills, setting goals, adjusting to change, building confidence, developing communication and personal skills, and transforming weaknesses into strengths.
- Problem-Solving and Decision-Making: Mentoring helps mentees develop strategies for navigating challenges, making better decisions and being better resourced to solve issues.
- Support System: Mentees connect with someone who believes in their abilities, providing encouragement, guidance, and support through difficult situations.
- Self-Reflection and Direction: Peer mentoring aids mentees in identifying goals, and establishing a sense of direction.
- Fostering resilience: Mentoring equips mentees with tools and techniques to overcome obstacles and face challenges head-on, fostering resilience and capacity to handle change and difficult situations.
“My mentor supported me to keep going through tough times and to build my confidence that I had meaningful contributions – it made a difference to have someone rooting for me, especially because climate action has many challenges,” Renew Wales mentee who later became a Peer Mentor, feedback from 2012-2022.
However, it is not only mentees who benefit from peer mentoring. It is a mutually beneficial relationship which can foster innovation and new ideas. Some of the mutual benefits to both mentor and mentee include:
- Continual cycle of innovation and best practices: Through the exchange of varied and novel ideas, peer mentoring fosters innovation and drives positive change. This leads to stronger networks and long-term benefits for everyone involved.
- Building a culture of sustainability and resilience: Peer mentoring encourages a broad culture of social change and care for others. By placing sustainability and resilience at the heart of communities, it promotes long-lasting positive outcomes.
- Encouragement in the face of challenges: Meeting passionate, committed, and diverse individuals serves as a continuous source of encouragement when facing obstacles. This cultivates a powerful positive narrative within the sector.
- Constructive challenge and collaboration: Peer mentoring creates a culture of constructive challenge and multi-disciplinary collaboration. This approach improves problem-solving and leads to shared solutions, opening up new pathways for innovation and building resilience.
- Unexpected outcomes and ripple effects: The peer-to-peer relationship in mentoring often catalyses unexpected outcomes. These can include ripple effects that extend beyond the directly related project, creating additional positive actions and successes.
Finally, there are many benefits that come to the peer mentor themselves: mentoring provides an opportunity for an ethical livelihood that is consistently in demand, allowing you to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others. Your expertise and guidance as a mentor are highly valued, offering a chance to contribute to the growth and development of mentees while experiencing the rewards of positively influencing their journey.
Mentoring is a continual process of action learning that enhances your own work. By sharing your knowledge and experience, you not only support the growth of others but also deepen your understanding and refine your skills. Additionally, mentoring allows you to strengthen and contribute to resilient networks within a larger movement. By actively participating as a mentor, you become part of a community that shares similar values and goals, fostering collaboration and collective progress. It opens doors to new contacts and friendships with individuals who have similar aims and values, expanding your professional and personal network and paving the way for future collaborations.
Egin is currently keen to hear from potential Peer Mentors with experience in energy – for example, renewable energy, and community energy projects – in North Wales. In particular, we want to hear from Mentors who can converse confidently in Welsh. We pay between £250 and £300 (depending on whether you are hosted by an organisation or not) a day and we provide a rich schedule of CPD sessions throughout the year – read more about how to apply here.