IPEd National Mentoring Program: what goes on behind the scenes?

by Ted Briggs, Geoff Dawson and Elizabeth Manning Murphy

You think you'd like to be mentored in some aspect of editing, or you have some skills that you'd like to share with a mentee who wants help. Good first step! Welcome to the IPEd National Mentoring Program. We'd love to have you on board. Here's how you can get involved:

First, please read the Mentoring Program Guidance Notes, the latest version of which is on the Canberra Society of Editors website and on the IPEd website.

Then contact your local state coordinator. [Maryna Mews is the Victorian coordinator – contact her at edvic.mentorship@iped-editors.org if you have any questions or would like her to assist you with mentorship matters.] The coordinator will be happy to discuss your situation and can send you an application form to be either a mentor or a mentee. Write as much as possible about yourself, your needs or skill areas in particular, and return the form. The more information you give about yourself, the easier you make it for your local coordinator to find a match for you. You need to meet three simple requirements:

  • You must be a member (at any level) of a recognised editing group.
  • You must have undertaken some training (university or local workshop) in basic copyediting.
  • You must have done at least some copyediting, either paid or voluntary. The program is not designed to teach basic copyediting.

Then book in for a mentoring workshop. This is a must for prospective mentors, but it's open to everyone, even people who don't qualify to be part of the program yet. It's free and it's usually run by Skype, so distance is not an issue. It usually lasts 1.5–2 hours (from 7.30pm Canberra time), depending on how chatty we all become. Workshops are run on an ad hoc basis, when there are sufficient people on a waiting list. We usually run about three workshops a year with anything up to about eight participants. We can also run workshops in person by arrangement with coordinators.

What happens during a mentorship?

When someone wants a mentorship, the state coordinator finds a mentor for them using the information that mentors have given us about their skills and interests. The IPEd program is different from most other mentoring programs in that no topic is out of bounds. A mentorship can be about any aspect of editing. It can be something quite short like helping you to update in certain technology, or it can be something quite complex like helping you to transition from in-house editing to freelancing. There are suggestions for possible topics at the end of the Guidance Notes.

Your mentorship can be as long or short as you want to make it, but the average is about eight sessions of approximately one hour per session – in person, by email, by Skype, whatever suits you best.

The mentee pays a fee (approximately what it might cost you locally to attend a workshop in any aspect of editing). This fee is paid to IPEd. Part of the fee is then paid as an honorarium to the mentor. The remainder stays in a mentoring fund for use in bettering the program in one way or another.

During a mentorship, both mentor and mentee have access to the local coordinator and, if necessary, to any of the national coordinators. They can give advice and discuss any problems. All advice is confidential.

At the end of a mentorship, both parties are invited to give feedback on how it went. This information is also confidential to the coordinators and can help us improve the program for future participants.

Many mentees have so enjoyed the experience that they have gone on to become mentors themselves. We hope that might be the case for you too. Local and national coordinators are available by email to answer any queries, help resolve problems, whatever is needed.

We look forward to welcoming you to a workshop if you haven't attended one. Contact one of us, and we'll take it from there. You'll enjoy the evening, particularly as we ask you to bring your own choice of drinks and nibbles to the Skype table with you. It's meant to be informative but also a fun experience. Enjoy!

Ted Briggs AE tedbriggs@grapevine.com.au

Geoff Dawson AE geoffdawsoneditor@gmail.com

Elizabeth Manning Murphy DE emmurphy.words@gmail.com

Joint National Coordinators