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Mentoring Complements Good Work of Apprenticeships

LIUNA General
and LHSFNA Labor
Armand E. Sabitoni

Thanks to the rigorous classroom education and the hands-on training provided by LIUNA’s apprenticeship programs, new Construction Craft Laborers hit the ground running when they begin their careers. During those early days on the job, it was helpful to be paired with an experienced Laborer who can be a role model and a mentor.

“Journeymen Construction Craft Laborers have expertise that can only come with time spent working in the field and the information they can share with an apprentice is invaluable,” says LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer and LHSFNA Labor Co-Chairman Armand E. Sabitoni. “It’s also a two-way street. When journeymen mentors discuss and demonstrate the best way of performing tasks that are specific to that worksite, they are essentially taking a refresher course themselves.”

Being a mentor comes with a lot of responsibility. Laborers who are mentors or who are interested in being mentors can benefit from the below information. It was adapted from a summary on mentoring compiled by the UCLA Graduate Division.

What Makes a Good Mentor?

Mentors listen. They maintain eye contact and give new Laborers their full attention.
Mentors guide. They help new Laborers find direction but do not push them.
Mentors are practical. They provide counsel for keeping on task and setting goals and priorities.
Mentors educate. They educate about life and their own careers.
Mentors provide insight. They use their personal experiences to help new Laborers avoid injury on the job.
Mentors are accessible. They are available as a resource and as a sounding board.
Mentors criticize constructively. They point our areas that need improvement, always focusing on behavior, never character.
Mentors are supportive. They always encourage new Laborers to learn and improve.
Mentors are specific. They give advice on what was done well, what could be perfected and the benefits of various actions.
Mentors care. They care about the professional progress and the personal development of new Laborers.
Mentors succeed. They are successful themselves and foster success in others.
Mentors are admirable. They are well respected in their organizations and in the community.


Being a mentor takes time, but it’s time well spent. Reaching out to someone else and seeing them advance is one of the most rewarding things you can do. These relationships benefit you, the new members and everyone else on the worksite. Workplace productivity goes up and fewer mistakes are made that can lead to injuries and costly compensation claims.

[Janet Lubman Rathner]

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