Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Farming Connect mentors

By Eirwen Williams

Wales

The Farming Connect mentoring programme is targeted at all farmers and foresters, including:
  • New entrants
  • Businesses considering significant strategic changes (diversification, added value, expansion, new enterprises)
  • Individuals looking to exit the industry
  • Businesses or individuals facing difficulties or hardship.

The service is also suitable for individuals looking for a second opinion, sounding board or support with day-to-day business.

Our mentors have ‘been there, done that’ and can develop relationships based on trust and respect. They are able to share their knowledge, experience, and impartial views to help identify your goals and fulfil your potential. It’s an opportunity to develop communication skills, to listen, learn and expand your viewpoints, which in turn may help you find new ways to approach situations and deal with challenges.

Mentees find mentors via the Farming Connect website, and tell us what they would like to discuss. No mentees have ever applied for a mentor because of a mental health issue, but, poor mental health has raised its head when mentors visit the farm. It is often unexpected and hardly ever something the mentor is made aware of in advance. It is something which presents over time as trust and rapport is built. To address this, 14 mentors received mental health first aid training with the DPJ Foundation. This has enabled them to identify the signs and signals of poor mental health and support mentees who are going through a mental health crisis.

When asked about lessons learned through mentoring, mentors said:

  • “I need to trust my judgement and try not to over worry”
  • “The opinion of others causes you to reflect. It is easier to make changes than you think, you just have to try”.