VPPPA’s mentoring program is a free member benefit that encourages, assists and develops companies that are striving to achieve safety and health excellence. The program pairs sites that have achieved Star status with sites that are just starting their VPP journey, need additional program guidance or are looking to improve best practices at their facilities. The association’s vast network of Star sites, spanning dozens of industries, utilizes federal and state safety and health officials, VPPPA regional board members, regional coordinators and our passionate membership base of safety and health leaders. Companies interested in working with a mentor should complete the mentoring form, and will then be matched with an appropriate VPP Star site. The mentoring committee coordinators consider similar experiences, industries, geographic location and union representation when choosing prospective mentors.
What Will I Gain From a Mentor That I Can't Find Anywhere Else?
1. Mentors provide free guidance on achieving VPP, may do mock audits for the sites they are mentoring, and will provide assistance in-person or through regular phone calls. A mentor has been through the audit process several times and will know what auditors are going to look for that may not be perceived by the organization. More importantly, a mentor will offer guidance on how to address any shortcomings and provide advice on sustainable, long-term solutions.
2. Mentees learn from someone who has successfully achieved VPP and understands the struggles that a site is facing. This is an opportunity to get hands-on training and guidance from a seasoned professional who has been in the exact same position that your site is in. A mentor understands the frustrations and setbacks as well as the milestones, triumphs, realities and success. Since the mentoring committee pairs mentors and mentees who are in the same or similar industries, mentors often understand challenges that are unique to a site’s specific situation, such as improving management commitment, employee engagement, recordkeeping, PPE or implementation.
3. Mentors not only teach the sites they are working with, they advocate for them. This could be in the form of sharing best practices and experiences or using a vast network of other safety and health leaders to find answers. VPPPA mentors have been in the safety and health industry for years and have built a network of trusted friends and colleagues who can help tackle unique problems.
4. Mentors also learn from the sites they are working with. Many VPPPA mentors have seen different approaches to problem-solving that they can bring back to their sites and share with their own employees. The mentoring process is a two-way street.
How Do I Get Started?
Getting started is simple – contact us!
Potential Mentors – If you are interested in learning more about how you can help other sites achieve safety and health excellence, let the mentoring committee know!
To get started, please visit the Become a Mentor page to fill out a form.
Potential Mentees – To get started, just fill out our form requesting a mentor. Provide information about your site, industry, where you are in the process and goals. The VPPPA mentoring committee will take all information into consideration when matching a mentor and mentee company. We work hard to make sure that industries are similar to ensure that the mentor understands the unique challenges being faced at interested sites. A mentoring coordinator will contact interested companies and explain the mentoring process and provide the site with an application form. This form is very important because it contains all the essential information that factors into the matching process: location; number of employees; SIC or NAICS; a description of what activities the site engages in; and whether or not unions are present at the site.
To get started, please visit the Request a Mentor page to fill out a form.
Why Become a Mentor?
Mentoring is truly mutually beneficial. Mentors also have an opportunity to improve their safety and health knowledge during the process. They will learn new ways of doing things and feel empowered by contributing to another site's success. Both sites can learn from each other and strengthen their safety and health management systems along the way.
"I have mentored many sites, and the best reward was not the thanks for your help, but the dedication and commitment by labor and management to develop a partnership of trust and be recognized for their success. And every time I go away from the experience with new ideas, new best practices and new energy and motivation. Safety and health excellence truly feeds off itself."
- Jack Griffith, CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company, Richland, WA
While working as a mentor, my experience talking to personnel in a facility has taught me that effective employee involvement is most important to being successful in safety. Mentors gain a deeper insight into how the nuts and bolts of another site’s safety program works. I have been able to acquire new ideas from other facilities that have improved my company. Therefore, you not only help a site achieve a goal and improve safety by giving them suggestions, but you also will learn something new from them that you can share with all employees at your site.
- Steve Nikkel, UCI, Wichita, KS