University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Mentoring a Part of Social Work

Program brings back master of social work alumni to help new grads develop job search strategies and make contacts

In 1993, at the height of the recession, students finishing their Master of Social Work degree faced a bleak job market. To counteract the despair that these graduates and alumni felt about their slim prospects in the workplace, a pilot mentoring program was launched. Now, 250 mentorships later, the program is still going strong even in a brightening job market. The mentoring program matches new graduates with social work professionals who help them develop job-search strategies and make contacts. Mentors also offer support, from providing guidance on work-related issues to developing on-the-job skills. The program offers career seminars and presents guest speakers on a variety of social work topics; it also allows mentors, many of whom are alumni, to reconnect with their faculty, says Sylvia Miller, program co-ordinator. “Mentors get a sense of what the university’s program is like, and a sense of the calibre of the students graduating into the profession,” she says.

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