The Scottish Wholesale Association is inviting applications from prospective mentees and mentors for its innovative, new Mentoring Programme.

Launched at the trade association's annual conference in June, the SWA's groundbreaking Mentoring Programme sets out to improve skills and nurture emerging talent within the Scottish wholesale industry. Ambitious individuals currently working in the key areas of buying, sales and management are eligible to apply and, if successful, will be assigned a mentor.

Crucially for employers, the Mentoring Programme is being structured around the needs of the business so will happen within the workplace. It has been carefully designed to allow individuals to realise their own capabilities and potential, so matching people with a suitable mentor forms a critical part of the process.

SWA president George Benson explained: "What we want to do is identify talent and retain that talent within our industry. Investing in our people builds trust and helps achieve better results, and we need the right people with the right attitude and the right skills to create a truly world-class industry in order to remain ahead of the game.

"The return on investment for wholesalers will also be evident as they see their managers develop and grow."

Employees, endorsed by their manager, must apply to be considered for the programme with acceptance based on evidence of relevant experience and achievements with the industry. The SWA is also asking applicants to provide a supporting statement as to why they believe they meet the criteria of 'emerging talent'.

Mentoring will cover a 12-month period after which candidates will have the opportunity of starting to work towards a professional qualification via the SWA's Training Programme.

Meanwhile, the application process for prospective mentors is also under way. Mentors from within and outside the wholesale industry will be selected after providing evidence of their relevant experience and achievements within their industry/areas of expertise. All prospective mentors will be interviewed by the SWA Board of Trustees and, regardless of any previous mentoring experience, will be required to undertake specific training for the role.

The SWA has created this exciting, new Mentoring Programme in collaboration with its training partner, 121 HR Solutions, which will govern and supervise the initiative. "Participating in this new programme is a big undertaking for both mentee and mentor which is why the application process is so detailed and thorough," said Benson.

"Places for mentees are very much at a premium so we want to ensure that we allocate them to the best candidates showing the most promise. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, that we assign each mentee to a suitable mentor who is best placed to help him or her takes the right steps to fulfil their potential, realise their aspirations and further their career."

Any prospective mentee interested in participating should, in the first instance, speak to their manager then submit an application form to the SWA. Senior industry figures interested in becoming a mentor should contact George Benson, via executive director Kate Salmon, for an informal discussion before embarking on the official application process. Please contact Kate Salmon on 0131 556 8753 or

Application forms and further information can be found here.