How To Use The Benchmarks

1. Benchmark

Each benchmark indicator is an essential feature of a quality mentoring program. Together they provide a model of quality practice. Not all benchmark indicators will apply to all programs. For example if your program works with young people aged over 18 years Working with Children Checks may not apply. Common sense is required when applying the benchmarks.

2. Guidance

The guidance section provides an explanation of what may be required to achieve the particular benchmark indicator.

3. Checklist

The checklist is a list of possible resources, forms or policies you could have in place as evidence of meeting the benchmark indicators.

New programs

The Benchmarks can be used as a step-by-step process for planning a quality mentoring program. Between 3 and 12 months is common for the planning phase.

Taking adequate time to consult, design and plan is essential for an effective and achievable mentoring program.

Existing programs

Existing programs should use the Benchmarks as a target to further improve their program.

The Australian Youth Mentoring Network has developed the Online Self Assessment Tool (OSAT) to help those running an existing program review their program against the benchmarks. Using OSAT allows users to anonymously assess how well their program is meeting each benchmark indicator and to determine a program’s weaknesses and strengths. OSAT also provides links to specific online resources to help further improve the quality of these programs.

The Australian Youth Mentoring Network recommends programs in the development phase should be reviewed every six months to ensure they still meet the benchmarks. Once a program is established it should be evaluated and reviewed annually.

The outcomes of these reviews may affect strategic plans, action plans, forms, policies and/or procedures.