Unsure how to supervise students during their placements? In this section, you'll be able to find FAQs to help ensure a successful student placement at your organization.
There is a difference between supervision and mentorship. Supervision is typically task-oriented, for example, completion of a specific work plan activity. Mentoring is more about fostering long-term development and is often less formal. Keep in mind that a student can have a different supervisor and mentor. Although some supervisors may at first want to fill the mentor role as well, students can benefit from having multiple people help guide their professional development.
Effective supervision requires ongoing and clear communication between the student and supervisor as well as a structured work plan or assignment. Regular check-ins will ensure the student is on track and understands the required tasks and timelines. Be available and allow enough time for discussion and clarification.
With a focus on longer-term development, good mentors set mutual goals for development, allow students to make their own decisions, stimulate thinking and reflection, and help open doors and identify opportunities. Mentors should be well established employees with a broad understanding of the organization. In addition, mentors should be strong communicators, flexible, empathetic and available.
A successful work-integrated learning experience is more than just a job title or project. Students that are well integrated members of the team experience a more positive work-integrated learning placement. With this in mind, treat students as you would any other employee and make the effort to include them in a range of activities. The following are some tips for integrating students into your workplace:
Mentoring is a one-to-one relationship based on encouragement, constructive feedback, openness, mutual trust, respect, and a willingness to learn and share. Mentoring typically exists between a more experienced employee (sometimes, but not necessarily, a supervisor) and a less experienced employee or student. The goal of mentoring a student is to transfer skills, knowledge and experiences. The relationship benefits students (mentees) by helping them to develop new skills and interests, career paths and a larger network. The mentor can benefit by giving back to the organization, and building capacity and leadership skills.
The mentor serves as a role model, a cheerleader and a counsellor to the student. The following are some mentor responsibilities:
For more information on mentoring and the benefits to both students and employers see the Government of Canada’s Guide to Mentoring Students.
It’s important to get things back on track as quickly as possible with the student. First, it’s helpful to ask yourself a few questions to be sure you understand the root of the problem:
Actions to address underperformance: