Finding a Sponsor
This Policy is to ensure enrolled members develop and demonstrate competency skills enabling them to qualify for registration, and most important, guide them through the initial period of their career. This policy is meant to ensure competence through accountability. It is the sponsoring forester’s obligation to ensure that the individual enrolled as a Forester-in-Training or Forestry Candidate is gaining the professional experience required and obtaining the information necessary to build a sound knowledge base.
If you, as an applicant, are not immediately aware of a professional forester in your area whom you would like to work with as your Sponsor; you should look at the "Member List" under "Contacts" for the names of professional foresters in your immediate vicinity. Alternatively, you can work directly with the Registrar to locate a sponsor most suitable to you.
Scope of Practice
There are five broad practice areas for professional foresters. These are essential in meeting the definition of “practice of professional forestry” under the Foresters Association Act.
a) Planning and management of forest resources
b) Inventory & information management related to forest resources
c) Forest resource operations and systems
d) sustainable development and management of forest resources
e) Business processes
The basics for a successful sponsorship/mentor relationship are:
- Regular contact between the sponsor and member where information is transferred; regular contact makes each party more comfortable on a personal level and tends to make the contact periods more productive.
- The sponsor shares relevant professional material by sending it to the member being mentored or advises where the information may be obtained.
- If a sponsoring forester is not employed by the same organization, this in some circumstances can impede his/her ability to assist a member. Therefore, establishment of a regular communications schedule between the enrolled member, sponsor, employer and member may be necessary.
- The sponsor can assist in the mentorship a member by inviting him/her to seminars or special events which are likely to contribute to professional knowledge and provide the opportunity for valuable contacts to be made.
- The sponsor invites the member to attend or participate in presentations that involve public groups such as government and/or community organizations which provide an opportunity for the member to see how formal, and informal, processes work and, in the process, gain exposure to individuals who relate to forest, environment, economic and social issues
- The sponsor and member, at the beginning of their relationship meet to develop a professional development plan. The format, for the time being, is left to the individuals (keep it simple). The sponsor must approve this plan and sign-off on it. Such a plan is very much tailored to meet the individual’s needs. The plan is periodically reviewed together over the mentoring period and can be revised according to accessed need. Changes to the plan must be recorded.
- The member is required to track work experience in a diary. The sponsor signs-off on the diary (periodically) to verify the individual has gained the required work experience ( a signature on the diary itself or a letter to the member would suffice). It is left to the sponsor to determine the most appropriate means to verify the diary content. The diary will assist the sponsor in providing valuable feedback to the member and in monitoring progress against the plan. The diary format is by mutual agreement of the sponsor and member.
- Opportunities are provided each member to learn to both manage and communicate with people. This suggests a variety of situations and people will be involved in providing these important interactions. These in turn should permit the member to develop what is commonly referred to as “people skills”.
The RPFANS Board of Examiners requires a report from the sponsoring forester. The Board has the right to request and review the professional development plan and the diary in fulfilling its duty.
Council hopes that by establishing a policy in this area of endeavour, all will see the importance being attached to registering new Association members. It is expected that the sponsoring forester may be enriched in this role through personal fulfilment, increased knowledge and a lasting friendship(s).
If you are looking for a forester to sponsor you, please view list of RPFNS Members to locate one in your area.