Business mentors recognised with new qualification

Volunteers who mentor businesses across Lancashire will soon have their skills and experience recognised through a new SFEDI Award qualification.

SFEDIBlackburn-based Community Business Partners (CBP) has supported the launch of a qualification pilot based around Understanding Business and Enterprise Support.

CBP has more than 200 mentors who use their knowledge and experience to help business owners and senior managers across Lancashire as part of the Growth Mentoring programme.

The qualification recognises the experience each mentor has built up through their successful business background and volunteering at CBP, and has been developed by Meryl Levington, Leigh Sear and Petrina Lynn of SFEDI (Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative).

Jane Houghton-Fenning, business development director at CBP, explained the nature of funded support using mentors is changing.

“Understanding how the business and skills agenda will be integral to future support will be important to any voluntary mentor in the future to work with clients on Boost Business Lancashire’s Growth Mentoring programme. We also wanted to offer our mentors the chance to gain a new qualification. It recognises our mentors’ prior learning and it includes various assessment methods to take account of all learning needs,” Jane said.

“In the future, this training and the updates will be part of mentor Continual Professional Development (CPD) for those working on programmes such as Boost, so this is a great chance to get in at the start,” Jane added.

Jane explained the qualification takes into account each mentor’s knowledge and experience, as CBP has business mentors across every sector, and covers a very wide skillset. “The course will be offered in various locations and on various dates across Lancashire, to accommodate our large mentor bank. This is just a part of the way we ensure a high calibre and consistent approach to business support, inclusive of the skills agenda,” she said.