Grow the forest sector and inspire youth as a Green Mentor

Étienne Vézina, mentor, and Catherine Langille, mentee, Facetiming as part of their monthly conversations for PLT Canada’s Green Mentor Program.

One third of the forest sector’s workforce is set to retire in the next decade. Mentorship is an important way to inspire and help recruit the next generation of forest leaders.

Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada), an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), launched its Green Mentor program to help young people expand their forest and conservation knowledge, goals and network.

The second cohort is running from January to June 2021, and applications for mentors close Nov. 16. If you have over three years of professional experience, are available for 2-3 hours a month, and want to share your experiences with young people interested in Canada’s green sector, you should apply. You might even meet potential future employees!

Mentorship is a great way to develop leadership skills, hear new perspectives and foster the growth of the forest sector. PLT Canada’s mentors said that they gain just as much from the program as their mentees.

Étienne Vézina, Resolute FP’s Manager of Forestry and Certification and a Green Mentor, helped his mentee, Catherine Langille, become more aware of all the opportunities awaiting her in the forest sector.

He said Langille became a source of motivation for him beyond the calls—her questions reminded him of some of his own experiences.

“The benefits are for both parties. I think people with less experience are looking to be introduced to the forestry sector in general, and it brings you to think about stuff that you’re not really looking at on a day-to-day basis,” he said. Another benefit is that the program can bring new people into forestry.

Vézina said the best part of the experience was seeing Langille evolve over the
six-month mentorship.

“Even a small step forward is a great achievement for a mentor to see—the mentee ready to go toward their objective and what we have discussed,”
he said.

Andrew de Vries, Manager of Indigenous Opportunities & Government Relations at Tolko Industries Ltd., was matched with Vicky Papuga. He said he was surprised at how well the mentorship matching software worked.

“It was very interesting to see how much we shared in common—not just academically, but personality-wise,” said de Vries. “I liked the structure of the mentorship program and the resources that were available because it allows you to focus the discussion.”

And de Vries said being a mentor is a chance to give back.

“I got to provide Vicky with some of the insights and knowledge from all the different folks that I’ve learned from and continue to learn from in my career,” he said.

PLT Canada’s Green Mentor program connects young people aged 18-30 with Green Jobs professionals with an industry-leading algorithm to create successful mentorship matches based on personalities, goals, interests and more.

Forest professionals who want to inspire the next generation of leaders, recruit employees and gain new perspectives should apply to become mentors.

Learn more about PLT Canada’s Green Mentor program!