Taking mentorship online

Webcams, webinars and web-based matching help build relationships across the country
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/14/2011

There are many remote areas in Canada and that can be a challenge when it comes to recruitment and retention of particular occupations. So Sue Stewart, a pediatric physical therapist at Sunny Hill Health Centre in Vancouver, decided to launch a pilot project a few years ago as part of her master’s program.

“The problem for therapists out here in British Columbia, and it’s the same really across Canada, is that new grads are often being hired in rural places and they have no experience,” she says. “I was looking at the whole idea of recruiting people to the North and retaining them. One of the ways of doing that was this notion of electronic mentoring.”

The six-month pilot involved two new grads, both physiotherapists, who moved to small towns in B.C. Each was provided with a laptop and a webcam and they “met” once a week with Stewart, for about 40 minutes to one hour. The three also connected online once a month to present particular cases.