The concept of mentoring has been around for a very long time; the idea was first introduced in Homer's Odyssey in the 8th Century BC. When Odysseus went to fight in the Trojan War, he left his son in the care of his old friend Mentor who provided support and encouragement to the boy. As time has passed, the word mentor has become to mean someone who acts a guide and advisor. There are numerous modern definitions and descriptions of mentoring and one of the best known is by Eric Parsloe of the Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring. He describes the purpose of mentoring “to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be”.

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