At KMF, we look to develop and support our staff whenever and wherever possible, and we and have a real focus on apprenticeships, developing the next generation, but also developing those who are more experienced within our company, too.
We spoke to three members of the KMF team that are involved in the mentoring process within the company – apprentices Ed Paget and Alex Jones, and their mentor Nathan Tomkinson – about their involvement in mentoring at KMF and specifically what they got out of it.
Based in Machining in Unit 4 at the company’s HQ in Newcastle-Under-Lyme site, Nathan has only been mentoring Ed and Alex since November, but they can all see the advantages that this system produces. The two Machining apprentices have been with KMF around eighteen months and agreed that “it’s a really good place to work, as everyone is so friendly.”
It’s great to hear, because we know from experience that a positive and happy working environment is always conducive to a progressive and more successful company. But what do they see as further examples of the advantages of a mentoring system within the KMF workplace?
“I think it’s really good because I want to learn from other people’s experiences”, stated Alex, before continuing “and it helps with things such as communication skills, getting to know those we work with more”.
“Yes, I think it gives us more confidence when we learn directly from Nathan who gives us the benefit of his experience. It makes us think a lot more about the work that we are doing and how we can improve”.
It’s also been proven that a positive, sharply focused mentoring system in the workplace helps mentees with key skills such as self-awareness, increasing self-reflection, and improving goal-setting skills. Factor in the apprentice’s level 3 studies on day release at college, and the holistic package for them both seems a fulfilling one.
And the positives don’t end with the mentees. Nathan, who is a CNC Operator, has only been with us at KMF for eight months, but was happy to take on the role of Apprentice Mentor last month and also sees the benefits of the regular intervention, support, and planning that the system provides.
“When I was asked to mentor the two lads I jumped at the chance”, comments Nathan. “I’m really enjoying it and I think it shows how the company thinks about those who work for it. The lads really enjoy the practical side of their work – such as the machining. But they need to know that their studies are really important too, as is the overall work environment and experience in general.
I really like to offer instructions on how to perform particular tasks or develop useful skills, and I think youngsters starting their career can benefit from guidance like this. I think a big part of mentoring is helping them to feel comfortable in the role more quickly.”
Mentoring is going so well, that Nathan is looking to commence even more regular face-to-face sessions in the new year with Alex and Ed, and he’s also looking to take on more mentees from the start of the next educational year, too. He admits that it’s increased his leadership and communication skills and has also given him more confidence and new perspectives on how different people work.
This is another apprentice success story for a company that fully understands the benefits of having a flourishing apprenticeship scheme that upskills and educates the next generation.
At KMF, we see mentoring as learning through sharing, and we believe that people can learn from others regardless of age or position. Learning can be through shared work experiences, but also life experiences, too. Our overriding belief is that mentoring is about providing a range of key professional and personal skills and experiences for mentor and mentees alike, is a key part of what we do, and is something that we will be building upon in 2024.
Mentoring also has a wide range of benefits for the company too. These include improving company culture; sharing expertise and knowledge; developing leaders and managers; producing an even better connection with our valued staff and showing our staff that we really do care about their development and happiness; fostering inclusion and diversity; retaining and recruiting talent; improving employee engagement; and improving productivity.