Group Mentorship Program
What is the Group Mentorship Program?
Initially launched as a pilot to put into practice various aspects of the sponsorship model, the Group Mentorship Program (GMP) engages newly-arrived refugee individuals or households in need of additional support and connects them with a local group of volunteers in their community who have been screened and trained to provide that support.
You can watch the following video to see what the Group Mentorship Program looks like in practice.
What is a Mentor Group?
A mentor group is a group of at least five individuals who live in the same geographic community and are keen to provide practical support to refugees. The groups complete an internationally-developed training course and undergo basic application and screening process in preparation for providing this support. Mentor groups are made up of friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues – basically any group of Australians who feel they have the capacity to give time each week to helping a refugee newcomer.
Group members should come from more than one family or household to ensure that the group can keep supporting their refugee mentee household should any one mentor move away or become unable to continue their mentoring work. Having a varied group of mentors will also provide your refugee mentee(s) with the benefits that come with being able to access a broader network of support, knowledge, experience and expertise.
What do Mentor Groups do?
Mentor Groups provide holistic and ‘whole of family’ settlement support to refugee households. Groups work with mentees to identify areas where support is needed, supplementing the support that is provided by any government-funded settlement services with the added elements of the extra time, social capital and networks, deep local knowledge and friendship that can be offered by a group of local members of the community. Mentor groups leverage their own local knowledge, networks, expertise and experience to help refugees achieve their personal goals and successfully integrate into their new community.
The following list outlines some of the things mentor groups provide support for:
- Finding suitable employment
- Securing suitable housing in a regional area with no migrant settlement services
- Enrolling and better participation in education
- Practicing English
- Learning to drive
- Understanding how to have overseas qualifications recognised
- Establishing a small business
- Accessing previously unknown local services
- Making new friends
Who are the Mentees?
Mentees are refugee individuals or families who have arrived in Australia in recent years, who would benefit from additional support with their settlement. They are people who hold a refugee or humanitarian visa and can include people with temporary humanitarian visas like a TPV or SHEV. Mentees can be already located in the same area as mentor groups, or be looking to relocate to the community where a mentor group is based.
- Mentees participating in the 2020/21 program were mostly looking for support with learning English, career development, their studies and making social connections
- Households can be made up of couples, siblings, family units and single adults
- Mentees age range varies with family members aged from 0 to 60+
How can you get involved?
After the success of our initial pilot program in 2020, we are excited to announce our plans to run the Group Mentorship Program for a second time, starting in August 2021!
We have scheduled two (2) public information sessions for you to gain a better understanding of the program and to find out if it’s right for you. You can register for either of these sessions using the links below.
Alternatively, to make sure you’re notified when this program opens, please register your interest here.
Individuals don’t need to already have a group to register interest. If you are interested in forming a group we can try to put you in touch with others known to us who are in your local area.
We are also interested in involving Supporting Community Organisations in the next iteration of the program – organisations such as schools, clubs, businesses, churches and other faith organisations. If you’re involved with a local organisation and interested in knowing more about how your organisation can be involved, register here for our information session specifically for organisations. Alternatively, you can complete this form (EOI) and we’ll be in touch.
Where are current mentor groups located?
This map shows the location of local mentor group members involved in the 2020 pilot mentorship program. You can read more about our pilot program here. If you’re interested in learning more about how your local group can get involved, please complete this expression of interest form.