The programme was brought to inception by Adrian mc Kenna in conjunction with Social Care Ireland, it was designed to facilitate access to the annual conference for social care students who ordinarily would struggle with self and professional autonomy. It was piloted with two students being supported by two mentor’s for the two days of the conference. Those original participants evaluated the process and Social Care Ireland decided to support a greater number of students at the 2023 conference. The student profile could include those who came through the college access programmes, those who have come through the care system, those who come from marginalised groups in society, those in recovery from poor mental health and or addiction etc and or any student that has struggled to get to where they are today.
How do we support them?
The support is twofold, it includes the financial and a mentoring component. The financial cost can be borne by an individual or an organisation, the cost covers two nights in the hotel, tickets to the conference and tickets to the awards ceremony. The mentoring component is fulfilled by an individual or organisation volunteering an experienced senior social care professional taking part in the conference and giving all their time to the student to enhance the students experience of the event.
What does the Mentor have to do?
The mentor needs to be available from the day before the conference, all mentors and students will meet on the evening prior to the event and at that stage we will link the students with their mentors. The mentors need to be caring, Kind and supportive practitioners. They should have a strong professional assurance and an understanding that this mentoring process is entirely focussed on the student. The expectation is that you spend time with the student and support them to select what talks and workshops they want to go to and that you attend all those workshops with them. During the three days you should be with the student at all meal times and as much as the rest of the time as possible. All mentors and students will meet for the awards ceremony and have dinner together. This programme is about you exampling to the students what professional autonomy looks like, help them experience networking and generally set them up so that they see the value in themselves and value in being involved in conferences and with social care Ireland. Most of all we should be able to enjoy the whole experience.
To get involved as a sponsor or mentor please contact Charlotte Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org