Mentorship Program FAQ's
How long is the Program?
Our Mentorship Program is structured in 3 month cycles. So, once matched with your mentor/mentee, you will commit to a 3 month partnership.
How much time is expected of me?
We expect our paired partners to commit to a minimum of 4 hours a month (one hour a week) of contact time. We ask that mentors/mentees schedule contact at a minimum of once every two weeks.
Who can be a Mentor?
Anyone over the age of 18 who is a blacksmith with a minimum of 3 years experience can apply to be a mentor. SIBs’ stated purpose is to serve underrepresented populations in the smithing community, but anyone who has the benefit of professional success is qualified to provide mentorship. Sharing your time and insights can mean so much to someone who is working towards realizing their dream of becoming a blacksmith.
Who can be a Mentee?
Anyone over the age of 18 can be a mentee, but you must have access to your own workspace and tools. We aspire to provide mentorship opportunities to smiths at all career levels, and hope that as mentees advance in their career journeys, they will return to the program as mentors. We look forward to seeing you succeed as a mentee in our program!
Are there restrictions on who can participate?
Our only limitation at this time is that you must be at least 18 years old to participate. However, we prioritize smiths from historically underrepresented populations as mentees, in keeping with our Mission Statement. We strongly encourage anyone with over 3 years professional experience to apply as a mentor. We here at SIBs recognize that it is critically important for any and all smiths to both provide and receive mentorship. If we are able to match all mentees and have additional space in the program, we will include all mentee applicants.
What is expected of all participants?
All mentors and mentees agree to abide by the SIBs Code of Conduct, and to sign and abide by the SIBs Mentor/Mentee Contract. All participants are expected to complete the mentorship program Exit Survey, in order for SIBs to evolve and improve the program over time. We ask each mentorship team to commit to a minimum of 4 hours of contact time a month over a designated three-month period.
What is a Mentor expected to do?
The Mentor is expected to provide career advice, professional introductions as appropriate, general guidance, and insight into professional industry norms and standards. The object of the program is to provide a formal framework by which emerging or inexperienced smiths can familiarize themselves with either the industry as a whole, or some aspect of it with which they have not yet gained skill (e.g., public art; production work; teaching; time management; being a working parent/artist; navigating a disability; tool making...) The mentor is expected to be thoughtful and kind when delivering critique of technique, content, or professional activities their mentee has pursued. Mentors are expected to be supportive, encouraging, realistic, and honest.
Mentors are asked to commit to an average of 4 hours a month of contact time, including email, phone conversation, video conferences, or time spent cultivating professional contacts for their mentee.
What is a Mentee expected to do?
Your mentors are here advise you on your career, career goals, aspirations, disappointments, and the dangers and pitfalls associated with the job. They will guide you to available resources, introduce you to the larger community of blacksmiths (with its collective experience and knowledge), and try to arm you against the problems you may experience. Isolation and inexperience are barriers to growth; we are here to provide you with community and knowledge. Mentees are expected to come prepared to meetings, take critical advice with an open ear, and be honest and forthright about their dreams and aspirations.
Mentees are expected to commit to an average of 4 hours a month of contact time, whether via email, phone conversation, or video conference. You should be prepared to ask pertinent questions, take advantage of resources and opportunities provided, and follow up with your mentor about your progress.
What does it mean if I don’t get matched?
If you are not matched, it is not a reflection on your abilities. We just may not have the right mentee/mentor for you in this round. We appreciate your time in putting together an application! We will happily keep your application on file for the next round if you wish, just let us know.
This FAQ didn’t answer my question. Who can I contact?
Please send any additional comments or questions to SIBs at firstname.lastname@example.org.