Hydrography Mentoring Program

Aim of the Hydrography Commission Mentoring Program

The SSSI Hydrography Commission Mentoring Program (HCMP) is an initiative to involve and encourage the development of young professional hydrographic surveyors in the Commission’s activities and events by connecting them with certified Level 1 and Level 2 hydrographic surveyors. The broad aim of the mentoring program is to encourage young professional hydrographic surveyors to work towards certification, be involved in the industry and Commission, and network with other professionals who they may not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with. More specifically, the program will ensure that Mentees working towards certification have identified knowledge gaps prior to the Panel assessing their application. The Mentor will provide guidance on how best to remediate these gaps.

The program is scheduled to commence on 1 July 2020.

Interested in the HC Mentoring Program? Register your interest here.

Mentees

Places on the program are available to any professional in the Hydrography Commission. These can be students, recent graduates or members working towards certification; however all potential Mentees must have current SSSI membership.

Mentors

The Mentors will be selected from a pool comprising of Certified Professional Hydrographic Surveyors (CPHS) at Level 1 or Level 2 with a minimum of four years of experience. These surveyors, as part of maintaining their certification, will be current members of the SSSI and current with CPD requirements.

The program is not compulsory for certified surveyors and involvement in the program will be voluntary.

Prior to the start of the program, Mentors will undertake an information session with the AHSCP to gain a further understanding of the Level 1 / Level 2 certification requirements. This workshop will also provide the Mentors with suggestions for areas of focus, or where recent candidates for certification have had weaknesses. Throughout the program, Mentors will have access to members of the Certification Panel to assist with pathway questions they may receive from Mentees.

Matching of Mentees to Mentors

Applications will be received from young professionals, graduates, students and members of the Hydrographic Commission. Upon the review of the application, the HCMP representative on the Hydrographic Commission National Committee (HCNC) will contact a potential Mentor to seek permission to connect the Mentor and Mentee. Mentees can organise a Mentor directly if possible.

The following will be considered when matching Mentees to potential Mentors:

  1. The Mentees location (local certified surveyors will have priority)
  2. The Mentees field of interest (i.e. nautical charting, port surveying, offshore construction etc. will be matched with a Mentor in that field).
  3. Current Mentee list of potential Mentors (the aim will be to ‘share the load’ amongst certified surveyors and not assign multiple Mentees to one Mentor).
  4. The Mentees goals for the program – i.e. are they working towards Level 1 or 2 certification or something else?

The above will apply in the default application, however Mentees may wish to ‘diversify’ their understanding by requesting a Mentor from a different field or location.

Program Structure and Details

It is the responsibility of the Mentee in the first instance to contact the Mentor and introduce themselves and provide any guidelines for communication between the two. This could be done via email, telephone or the Mentor may wish to meet the Mentee in person if convenient. The Mentor may also wish to advise the Mentee of any conflicts of interest, or any topics they are not willing to discuss.

After initial introductions, the Mentee prepares a letter of intent in cooperation with their Mentor, which is co-signed by the Mentor. This one-page letter should consist of:

  • What the Mentee would like to achieve through this program.
  • What knowledge gaps are present (dot point).
  • A list of competencies believed to be already achieved (dot point).
  • If they would like to first like to go through the SSSI Young Professionals 12-week mentorship program which focuses on career development or go straight into the HCMP which focuses on achieving certification.

The letter will later serve as a record of development that the Mentee can use to demonstrate knowledge gained during the program.

It is the responsibility of the Mentee to initiate communications. The Mentee shall provide a pre-meeting brief identifying any questions, advice requested regarding certification or otherwise to the Mentor. This will allow the Mentor to prepare and formulate answers prior to the meeting for discussion.

The Mentor will provide the Mentee with advice on their Certification application, logbook, completing their competency matrix, and most importantly identifying knowledge gaps. It is unlikely that the Mentor will sign-off logbook entries where direct oversight has come from a certified professional working on that job.

Some suggested meeting topics for Mentors to begin with their Mentees are:

  • Overview and explanation of the hydrographic syllabus,
  • Correct etiquette for logbook entries and matching experience to the syllabus modules,
  • Access to resources; SSSI will provide a document with suggested readings, webinars, and other online resources.

Following each meeting, the Mentee will provide the Mentor with a post meeting report to establish new objectives or goals.

There are no requirements for minimum or maximum frequency of contact between the Mentees and Mentors. As a suggestion, the Hydrography Commission recommends meeting every 1-2 months. However, if the Mentor feels the workload is too great or that communications are excessive, the HCMP can approach another potential Mentor to share the Mentee if required. Mentees may need to approach other certified professionals to remediate missing competencies identified with their primary Mentor.

Length of Program

The length of the Mentorship can be decided upon between the Mentor and Mentee, although the HC recommends a duration of one year, aligned to the SSSI membership year commencing 1st July. A second opening will also be available on the 14th January.

After one year, there will be a brief review/summary from the Mentor to the HCMP representative and any Mentees who are not actively involved in the program will be removed from the program. The emphasis on this program is that it is an opportunity for the Mentees to develop their career, network and work towards certification or other career goals and it is their responsibility to show interest and initiative when communicating with the Mentor. It is very important that the Mentor treats the Mentee with respect and responds to their communications in a professional, thorough and timely fashion.

In the case of any inappropriate or unprofessional conduct between the Mentor or Mentee, either or both can contact the HCMP representative to advise of this conduct and request the mentoring to cease.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

CPD points are awarded to Mentors and Mentees in accordance with the SSSI CPD policy. CPD points will be accrued for all Mentor/Mentee meetings at a rate of 1 CPD point per hour, to a maximum of 5 points per year.

For Mentees that do not currently have a Level 1 or 2 certification, CPD points achieved through the mentorship program can be saved for use in their first year of certification. The number of CPD points that can be carried forward after certification is outlined in the SSSI CPD policy.

Conflict of Interest

There is the possibility during the program that the Mentee may be employed by the Mentor’s competitor. In such a case the Mentor may wish to withhold details of work methods or similar. In instances such as this it is entirely at the discretion of the Mentor to withhold or refuse to communicate certain details as they see fit.

It is important to note however that the program is not aiming to allow Mentees to ask questions specific to a survey or project. It is rather designed for broader questions on career progression, training, and certification. Ultimately the information provided to the Mentee is at the discretion of the Mentor, noting that best practice methods should be shared and encouraged wherever possible. It is for the benefit of the profession that all its members are performing work to the highest possible standard.

If there appears to be too great a conflict of interest, the Mentor can request from the HCMP representative that the Mentee be transferred to a different Mentor.

Why Get Involved

Mentors

The primary reason for being involved in the mentoring program is having the opportunity to network with the younger generation of hydrographic surveyors and contribute to the future of the industry. There will be opportunity to claim CPD points for being involved in the mentoring program.

Mentees

The benefit for the Mentees is the opportunity to be involved in the Hydrography Commissions activities and networking opportunities at a level that they find appropriate and to receive guidance for the pathway to Hydrographic Certification.

Anyone is still able to apply for certification; however, the mentorship program is encouraged and provides additional interaction points with the Certification Panel and certified professionals.

Mentees should note that participation in the program does not guarantee a successful application for certification. However, what is does do is ensure that if an application does not meet the requested criteria, it is identified in advance. The program will help Mentees identify and work on knowledge gaps prior to any application.

Questions

Questions can be forwarded to the HCMP representative via the Hydrography Commission chair.

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