Define your mentoring program scope

Define your mentoring program scope

Define your mentoring program scope

There are a number of factors to consider when planning and designing Mentoring Programs, and decisions that will help to determine the scope of the program.

There is no one size fits all approach.

Mentoring is flexible and can - and should - be tailored to suit the individual needs of the young people who will be involved in the program.

What works for one community may not work for the next, so an assessment of the community’s needs is recommended to ensure the program is what the young people want and ensure it can be supported by the community.

LDATs can follow the steps outlined below to determine clear program criteria to define the scope of their mentoring program. The steps are intended as a guide to designing a mentoring program. The priority is to create a safe place for conversation and learning.

Steps to designing a Mentoring Program

1. Young people and mentors

Absolute clarity of the purpose of the Mentoring Program is needed from the very beginning. Whose interests are being served? By who and in what way/s?

Define the population the program will serve – the target audience

(see Recruitment of mentors & mentees: Eligibility Criteria)

All young people can potentially benefit from mentoring.

Mentoring Programs can be designed to consider the interests, needs and aspirations of various target groups. Programs may be developed to engage with a range of young people and may include people who are:

  • disengaged or at risk of disengaging from the education system
  • moving from school to work
  • involved in, or seeking to transition from, the justice system
  • socially isolated, for whatever reason
  • young parents
  • seeking to connect, or reconnect, with cultural identity
  • wanting to further their sporting/athletic potential
  • keen to increase their career options.

Identify target mentors

(see Recruitment of mentors & mentees: Eligibility Criteria)

2. Focus

Determine the focus of your program, considering the five broad areas outlined below. Your program can have more than one focus. The focus areas you choose should align with the outcomes you are trying to achieve.

Social and emotional wellbeing

Mentoring to assist young people to increase their self-esteem, confidence and resilience by actively supporting their social and emotional wellbeing. The focus includes improving the young person’s life skills and the positive connections they have with their community.

Individual talents and leadership

Mentoring to assist young people to further develop their individual talents and/or leadership skills in a specific area (e.g. sports, photography, drama) in order for them to reach their full potential.

Identity, culture and faith

Mentoring to assist young people to grow in their understanding of their faith and/or culture and cultural identity. The program actively supports young people to be proud and confident of their identity and culture and to be able to exercise this in their community.

Youth justice and crime prevention

Mentoring to assist young people to avoid antisocial and offending behaviours by encouraging connectedness with positive elements in their community and increasing protective factors known to reduce harms from AOD.

Education, training and employment

Mentoring to assist young people to positively engage in, and maintain, their participation in education, training and employment. These programs assist young people to develop a vision for their future and provide support to achieve their education, training and career goals.

3. Mode

Delivery method

Select a delivery method. Some programs may choose to use a combination of face-to-face and e-mentoring/online.


The mentoring sessions are held in person, face-to-face.


Electronic mentoring uses technology to connect the mentor with the young person. This can be text based or utilising Voice over IP (Internet Protocol) and video technology (e.g. phone, Zoom, Microsoft Teams).


Select a relationship
One-to-one mentoring

One mentor matched with one young person.

Group mentoring

One mentor with a small group of young people (for example, up to four young people), or two-three mentors with a larger group (up to 10 young people).

Team mentoring

Two or more mentors matched with one young person.

4. Setting

Consider the setting for the mentoring sessions. It's important to meet young people where they are at, and where young people prefer to meet. Face-to-face mentoring sessions may occur in a physical setting (one or a number of the site-based locations listed below), or the sessions may occur online.

The setting you choose may impact on operational aspects of the program such as screening, monitoring and support. It may also have further implications on policies and procedures.


Mentoring occurs on the school premises.


Mentoring occurs within the local community, utilising community spaces such as parks, cafes, libraries, etc.


Mentoring occurs on the business premises.


Mentoring occurs in other site-based locations including, but not limited to, universities, juvenile justice centres, youth centres, sports clubs.

5. Duration and frequency

Determine the length of the mentoring relationship, including the frequency and duration of meetings. This will be influenced by a number of factors, including the needs of mentees. Other practical considerations such as program funding will also influence the length of the program.

To optimise outcomes, aim for quality, regular contact (weekly/fortnightly) between mentor and mentee.23

Learn: mentoring activities and case studies

Mentoring activities and case studies

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