SMN: European Mentoring Summit 2018

27 March 2018

SMN: European Mentoring Summit 2018

Iain Forbes, Scottish Mentoring Network’s Strategic Development Manager was invited to present a workshop on SMN’s Project Quality Award at the European Mentoring Summit in Berlin earlier this month.  

Iain was pleased to attend the Summit along with colleagues Miranda McIntosh, Head of the Scottish Government's Looked After Children's Unit, Susie White of Inspiring Scotland, Mike Kerracher of YMCA Edinburgh and Alastair Wilson of the University of Strathclyde.  In addition Sandra Brown and Garry McGregor from Befriending Networks also attended.

There were over 200 delegates representing 19 different countries at the 3 day Summit held in Humboldt University from 14 to 16 March.  There was a very full programme with keynote speeches on the topics of the importance of mentoring in social work and social science; research on the quality of mentoring relationships; impact measurement of mentoring programmes and, mentoring with immigrants and refugees.

Delegates were able to choose 3 (out of 30) 45 minute sessions on a wide range of topics before the network dinner on the Thursday evening.  On Friday morning there was a choice of 9 workshops each lasting three and a half hours plus a session for the research hub. The closing panel discussion was on what had been achieved during the summit.  Iain led the discussions with the UK and Irish delegates together with colleagues from the USA, Denmark and Norway and fed back on the outcomes.

Last year at an event at Stenden University in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands which houses the European Centre for Evidence Based Mentoring Iain gave a presentation on the work of Scottish Mentoring Network and how it supports our diverse range of 200 member projects in Scotland.  During the last 12 months there has been dialogue between the Centre and SMN about our Project Quality Award and how this might be used as the basis of an award for use in other European countries.  Iain took attendees at his workshop through the reasons for and the mechanics of the quality award and how successful attainment of the award helps projects demonstrate to funders and other stakeholders the high standard levels at which they are operating. This has stimulated even more interest in the award and we look forward to further discussions on how a partnership might be developed to make wider use of the SMN award.

The conference was an excellent networking opportunity for delegates to share good practice and experience and many business cards were exchanged! It was really a full on programme with unfortunately no time for sightseeing. Our German hosts can be both relieved and delighted at the outcome and the extremely positive feedback on a really well organised event.

 The progressive work of SMN and its members in taking the lead in Europe in a number of areas of mentoring was formally recognised in the opening speeches both by the Berlin hosts and the Head of the European Centre for Evidence Based Mentoring. There was considerable emphasis from all the main speakers about the growing importance of demonstrating both the quality and the impact of mentoring. Both of these are high on the agenda of SMN as we continue to promote our quality award, accredited training and work with policy makers, funders, partners and, of course, members in how best to demonstrate the impact of mentoring in Scotland.

More information on the Summit can be found at and a report on the full summit will be available there in the next few weeks.

(Image caption, from left to right: Alastair Wilson, University of Strathclyde; Miranda McIntosh, The Scottish Government; Iain Forbes, SMN; Susie White, Inspiring Scotland; Garry McGregor, Befriending Networks)

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