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Vygo commits $100k to student mentor training

Australia peer-to-peer mentoring startup, Vygo, has announced it will commit AUD$100,000 towards a new platform to train student mentors in a bid to help Australian universities ensure their international and domestic students succeed.

Hallett said the mentoring success depends on the mentor's abilities. Photo: Kobu Agency/UnsplashHallett said the mentoring success depends on the mentor's abilities. Photo: Kobu Agency/Unsplash

First-year university, industry and international student mentoring are among the key focus areas of the platform

The Mentor Academy, which is calling for expressions of interest for its January 2020 launch, is a free and publicly available mentor training platform for education providers to support their student mentors and help skill them up to meet the needs of mentees.

“A big part of the success of the mentee is the mentor’s ability”

“We’re passionate mentors, and we really believe in the opportunities, not just for the mentees but the mentors,” said Vygo chief executive and co-founder Ben Hallett.

“We wanted to create an opportunity where anybody could go online, find a really highly engaging training, understand what it’s like to be a mentor, understand what it takes to be a mentor, and what it looks like to be a good mentor.”

Speaking with The PIE News, Hallett said the platform would extend beyond only Vygo’s partners, and look to help universities address areas such as the student experience, first-year student retention, employability skills and mental health for both international and domestic students.

He added first-year mentoring, industry mentoring, and international student mentoring were some of the key areas the platform would help train mentors.

“A big part of the success of the mentee is the mentor’s ability, and now that we have some of the capacity and resources, we wanted to take on that part of the equation as well,” he said.

“We think one of the best ways to address some of those opportunities and challenges is to create more and better student mentors.”

Hallett said both Vygo, which is a member of startup accelerator EduGrowth, and the Mentor Academy came from his and co-founder Joel Di Trapani’s experiences mentoring refugee students while at The University of Queensland in Brisbane.

The Mentor Academy’s free training will be available from July 2020, and the second and third stages will be aimed at increasing accessibility and global reach, such as additional languages and the development of programs for specific subjects and cultural contexts.

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