Mentoring in social work practice
Mentors provide their expertise to less experienced individuals in order to help them to advance their careers, enhance their education, and build their networks.
Social work practice is an integral part of Social work studies at Vytautas Magnus University, School of Social Work. The key role in this process plays practice supervisor – mentor.
The aim of the research is to reveal and elaborate the organizational aspects and functions of mentoring in social work practice.
The research problem includes the following question: what are the organizational aspects and functions of mentoring in social work practice?
The first part of the article focuses on the concept of mentoring and main functions of the mentor. Still, there is no common agreement on the meaning of mentoring conception. Despite different conceptions presented in scientific literature, mentoring could be characterized as two – way relationship in the process of the individual and professional development. The key role in this process plays mentor – a person, who has the greater knowledge and experience at the particular area in his or her disposal.
The second part of the article presents organizational aspects of mentoring. Despite the particular difficulties in mentoring process, mentoring provides benefits to all participants of the mentoring relationship: mentee, mentor and organization. In nowadays society called as „changing society", the benefits of mentorship are essential.
The third part of the article presents the mentoring aspects in the practice of social work. The role of the mentor (main professional supervisor in particular organization, which offers the possibility to fulfill social work practice), has the main importance in implementation of social work practice program. Mentor encourages students' reflection also professional an individual development performing the career and psychosocial functions.