Cultivate Success is a unique project seeking to deliver strategic mentorship and collaboration to the UK farming industry thanks in part to a bursary made available by the Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust. It has been launched by Yorkshire farmer’s daughter and 2022 Nuffield Farming Scholar, Helen Wyman.
“Mentoring is now standard practice in the corporate world and has been proven to develop people and businesses. Yet far too often farmers overlook the value of mentoring programmes, instead relying on peers, paid advisors and social media groups instead,” she explains.
“Whereas these sources of guidance can and often are extremely useful, when it comes to gaining a wider perspective of your business, sector or personal situation having a mentor can provide useful and impartial point of view.”
That’s where well-matched mentoring fits in, she goes on to add. “Cultivate Success aims bring together technology, farming and funded programmes in a first-to-the-market venture.”
Mrs Wyman’s Nuffield Farming Scholarship took her on a three-month journey looking at the impact of mentoring on driving positive change in agriculture. “I travelled to North and South America as well as Scandinavia and observed many examples of mentoring, some more successful than others. Yet many of these programmes were dependent on participants being matched on criteria such as geography, sector or age group and failed to take account of the finer chemistry of what makes a truly successful mentoring relationship.”
“This degree of poor matching between the mentor and the mentee can result in those involved losing interest and failing to achieve key results.”
During Mrs Wyman’s travels in Canada she met the CEO of a company which has worked for more than 10 years developing software that uses advanced psychometric algorithms to match mentors with mentees, with huge success in the agricultural sector amongst others.
“On my return to the UK, I realised establishing strong mentoring relationships based on science could have huge benefits for UK farmers and their businesses. Cultivate Successwill work with this tried-and-tested software to deliver effective and successful mentor-mentee pairings.”
The software can also be used to establish wider networks based on any number of parameters such as gender, sector and knowledge transfer for dedicated programmes.
“I believe Cultivate Success will provide the opportunity to make positive and lasting impacts on the lives of UK farmers by allowing them to thrive both personally and professionally,” explains Mrs Wyman.
Cultivate Success Objectives
- Drive positive change in UK Agriculture through innovative and tailored mentoring solutions
- Enhance personal development and well-being among farmers through regular and straightforward access to confidential and independent one-to-one mentors
- Deliver mentoring at scale for farmers across the UK, and eventually globally
- Mentoring without bias
- Secure funded places on programmes from companies across the industry and beyond from businesses wishing to drive positive change in the agricultural sector
The project has already secured the initial support of the Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust and will be offering a preliminary round of funded mentoring packages from September 2023. Applications are now open for both mentors and mentees via the website, closing date 30 July 2023 (www.cultivate-success.com).
This initial round will offer full training to both mentors and mentees alongside six-hour-long online sessions over a four-month period, the frequency of each to be set by both parties.
Cultivate Success is now looking for participants to take part in this initial stage, both as mentors and mentees.
“We are searching for people who would like to be challenged, offered a different perspective and who are willing to immerse themselves into the mentoring process.”
“Through the Cultivate Success programme we will deliver access to knowledge, experience and impartial views to help you identify your goals and ultimately fulfil your potential,” says Mrs Wyman.
What makes a good mentor?
- Be a good listener first and foremost
- Be honest, open and willing to share your expertise
- Ideally possess some leadership or management experience within the agricultural sector
- Able to dedicate adequate time without overstretching your own life
What makes a good mentee?
- Willing to share and listen
- Open to new ideas and advice
- Able to be challenged
- Willing to dedicate time and commitment to the process
Funding from industry
Mrs Wyman believes there is an opportunity for the project to be largely funded by both agricultural and wider industry going forward.
“My vision is for programs to be funded by businesses looking to support the professional development of the farming industry.”
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