The IOBM — the Institute of Builders Merchants — has taken another huge step on its mission to promote and advance the profession of merchanting with the launch of an online ‘Mentoring Platform’ that should prove rewarding for members at every stage of their career.
The new Mentoring Platform has been designed to facilitate the Mentor-Mentee relationship, by enabling wide-ranging access to industry resources and suggesting suitable matches. The simple, easy to use platform is open to all IOBM membership grades, from student through to fellows and corporate members.
While it will, of course, support the individual advancement of new talent joining the industry or in the early years of their career, the mentoring arrangement offers benefits to both mentor and mentee as a wealth of knowledge is shared between them.
Since the IOBM became a brand of the BMF last year, it has built its membership at every level, drawing in communities of apprentices, junior and middle managers and, most recently, the top 100 merchant influencers were rewarded by being made Fellows of IOBM to celebrate their contribution of the industry.
“The Mentoring Platform is first for this industry. I meet so many experienced people with so much knowledge, and they want to pass it on. If the younger generation can take the knowledge and ideas and expand on them, then we can catapult ourselves to being a world class industry.”
The skills, knowledge and experience of these colleagues is invaluable to the mentoring programme and will add gravitas to the mentee journey. Equally, the experience of young managers will also be extremely valuable to those just entering the industry, helping them to gain a strong foothold on their career ladder.
Early adopters of the Mentoring Platform have come from every level. For instance, Marianna Peet, Early Careers Lead at LEAP, the BMF’s apprenticeship partner, is an IOBM Student Member and has just signed up as a Mentee.
Marianna said: “I signed up to the IOBM mentoring programme as I am passionate about developing my career within the construction industry and I feel the value of networking outside of my own organisation. I am excited to meet with my mentor having been matched through the skills criteria, and kickstarting my mentee journey. The sign-up process was simple and there are some great resources too!”
IOBM Member Ed Parlato, a Buyer at Browns Builders Merchants in Derby, and Vice-Chair of BMF Young Merchant Group believes the platform will have a huge influence on the industry. He said: “The Mentoring Platform is first for this industry. I meet so many experienced people with so much knowledge, and they want to pass it on. This platform gives them the opportunity to do that. If the younger generation can take the knowledge and ideas and expand on them, then we can catapult ourselves to being a world class industry.”
At the other end of the scale, Dave Saunders is an Honorary Fellow of the IOBM who sits on its management committee and was one of the first to sign up as a Mentor. Dave explained: “The Institute’s new Mentoring Platform is a much-needed resource for all members to utilise and improve their professionalism. Whether you are a Student or Associate wanting assistance in a particular area of development, or a Fellow who can offer much needed support as a Mentor, there is something for everyone in our industry.
“It is one of the most exciting programmes I have been involved in since joining as a Student myself.”
Being the member of the IOBM is the mark of excellence for an individual in the merchant sector. If you are not a current IOBM member, contact Richard.Ellithorne@BMF.org.uk to find out about joining.