The Capital Heritage Mentorship Program connects experienced senior managers in the Ottawa culture and heritage sectors, with graduate students and recent graduates wishing to embark on a career in heritage, and emerging professionals who wish to move their career to the next level. This project will serve emerging heritage professionals who will be matched in small groups, led by a mentor in a specialized heritage-related field. This initiative will allow Mentees to gain valuable experience to further develop their careers. The program will begin in September and will run for 5 months.
The initiative will invite 8 developing professionals to participate in groups of 3 (2 Mentees and 1 lead Mentor) in a strategic program to help transition and plan for the coming years of your heritage career. The focus will be on networking (how to effectively create and build on professional connections), career development (creating and setting personal career goals with next steps), and leadership (developing the required skills and knowledge to become a leader in Ottawa’s heritage sector).
The ultimate outcome for this project is that Mentees expand their networks and build on their professional development goals. The Capital Heritage Mentorship Program supports youth, new graduates or new professionals in the Capital – those that are currently in search of work or have just begun their career. The project invites all applicants including those in: Indigenous communities; ethno-cultural and racial minority communities; individuals living on low incomes; newcomers; Francophones; and the LGBTQ+ community. They will be empowered by Mentors who are experts in the field. Mentors may benefit from building on their mentoring skills, gaining new insights on the heritage sector, and planning for succession of the sector through training tomorrow’s heritage leaders.
The Connexion recognizes that not-for-profit culture and heritage organizations are facing challenges in planning for the future. For heritage institutions across Canada, it is estimated that as many as 38% of the employees may be leaving the field in the next five years, assuming that the demographics of the heritage labour force are consistent with the general labour force. While younger staff may have great educational backgrounds and potential, they often lack the experience and training to assume highly responsible, increasingly complex roles. Engaging youth and emerging professionals in this mentorship program will help sustain the heritage community in the years to come.
The internship component, in particular, seeks to address the implications of unpaid internships in the heritage industry. The normalization of unpaid internships makes it still more difficult for those from marginalized communities to enter the heritage field. By adding a paid internship component, we seek to remove barriers for aspiring young professionals and allow them to feel valued for the work that they do.
These internships will be enriching experiences for unemployed or underemployed emerging professionals and allow for further mentoring in the workplace. Unlike other internship programs, this initiative would invite Mentees to apply with no limit to age or time graduated from school.