A range of different channels have been created through which advice can be sought and expertise shared, headlined by what the professional body describes as “light” and “full” one-to-one mentoring.
The light service sees the mentee paired with an AFP board member or committee member, who will then spend an hour a month providing free mentoring, generally through a video call. It is expected that this will be used to provide younger or less experienced fleet managers with an opportunity to regularly check their overall approach to handling fleet issues.
Full mentoring is more intensive and includes regular coaching and ongoing support, as well as on-site meetings if they are required, but stops short of providing hands-on style consultancy. Because of the time commitment involved on the part of the mentor, this level of mentoring is chargeable.
Paul Hollick, AFP chair, said: “With a lot of fleet managers closing in on retirement, there is a danger that much of the experience in the sector could be lost in the next few years as seasoned experts retire. This is an issue of which the AFP is very much aware and we have been examining a range of solutions.
“Mentoring is one of the answers we have so far identified and is a great way for experienced fleet managers to pass on their knowledge to new entrants to fleet. It creates strong relationships across different age groups and experience levels, and is good for individuals and the profession as a whole.”
Other mentoring options created by the AFP include the fleet operator open forum, a quarterly online relaxed discussion designed to enable members to talk about issues they are facing, and hear the views and experience of others; the AFP fleet operator WhatsApp, which allows individuals to post questions informally and ask for advice from other professionals; and finally, the member area of the organisation’s web site, where questions can be posted to ask the views and advice of others alongside a searchable database to check whether topics have already been covered.
Paul said: “The fleet industry has arguably never before faced so many challenges and changes, requiring fleet managers to develop new skillsets in areas some may find unfamiliar or even daunting so the ability to be mentored by a more experienced fleet professional who can give some additional support and guidance can only be beneficial.
“We’re also like to hear from any fleet managers who would like to get involved in the mentoring initiative, whether as mentor and mentee.”