Today’s post is authored by Monique Steensma, Acting Manager of Mediate BC’s Court Mediation Program. Monique is an experienced civil mediator and conflict specialist and her post today highlights the wide applicability of the skills learned in the practicum – read on!
At the Court Mediation Program, a new group of people is participating in our Small Claims Practicum! Historically, this program has attracted people wanting to gain the necessary experience to build or launch a mediation practice, and we still get many students in this category. However, we are also seeing a new stream of students—professionals from other fields who want to apply their conflict resolution training in a practical environment.
This new stream of participants is indicative of the many professionals who wish to enhance their career opportunities by demonstrating that they can apply the skills that experienced mediators use every day: high level communications, facilitation, conflict resolution and negotiation. Just one example of the importance of these abilities emerged in a recent study by Futurestep, which found that conflict resolution skills were “in short supply” in the industrial sector, and that 19% of human resources professionals named conflict resolution as the most difficult skill to develop in new hires.
While traditional mediation training, including role-play, helps to teach necessary skills, nothing beats live practice in a real conflict situation to help you to apply these skills effectively. Conflict is an unavoidable part of working life and how it is approached determines whether it is divisive and destructive, or creative and constructive. The complex mix of people that make up any workplace including management, employees, clients, suppliers, regulators and other stakeholders means that someone who wants to skillfully manage conflict needs the ability to apply these skills on their feet in an ever-changing mix of people and environments. The Court Mediation Practicum provides this real experience, along with coaching and feedback from experienced mentors.
While this new group of practicum participants may never go on to work professionally as mediators, their experience at mediating in diverse situations will demonstrate a key aspect of leadership that they can benefit from on many different career paths.
The Court Mediation Practicum is still accepting applicants for its Fall 2012 class, and we are currently planning two more in-takes for Spring and Fall 2013. Applicants must have completed at least 5 days of interest-based mediation training (typically 40 hours in total), including at least 10 hours of role-play experience. The Program Manager has the ultimate discretion to determine whether an applicant’s training meets the qualification requirements. Applicants for the Fall 2012 class must be available for mandatory orientation sessions on September 18, 2012, and October 16, 2012.
Participants attend two orientation sessions to prepare them for the specific requirements of mediating small claims court disputes, after which they participate in ten real mediations with a variety of experienced mediators as mentors.
For participants who wish to eventually apply for the Mediate BC Civil Roster, the assessment forms completed by mentors for sessions 8, 9 and 10 may be submitted as the equivalent to two letters of reference required for admission to this Roster, and completing the ten mediation sessions in the practicum is accepted as fulfilling the Roster’s requirement to complete ten civil mediations.