You do not need any formal qualifications to apply to become a mediator.
All new mediators attend a training course which will equip you with all the skills needed to start mediating. From then on you will be assigned to cases with a co-mediator (an experienced mediator to start with). Evidence of your experiences and knowledge can be used in building up your own portfolio, which is externally assessed and you can be awarded Competent Mediator Status.
Listening is an essential skill for a mediator, some people are naturally good listeners, and for others this can be learned. An ability to remain impartial and not to judge people is also necessary. It is very tempting to take sides in a situation especially if you think someone is in the wrong, but mediators need to remain neutral at all times, and also keep any information they hear confidential. A friendly personality is an advantage as is an ability to work as part of a team, as mediators need to be able to communicate well with their co-mediator, clients, and the office team.
The initial training course is 5 days spread over 4 weeks. During the course there is also a requirement for some weekly written work. After this, mediators usually spend 2-3 hours a week on cases. Support meetings lasting 1.5 hours are held six times a year.
Mediators always work in pairs with support from the office. In most cases, mediators visit clients in their own homes to find out what problems they are experiencing. All visits are within the Hastings and Rother boundaries. Access to a car is ideal, although it is possible to volunteer without one.
Mediators will visit both parties to hear about the issues from their points of view. Brief notes are taken on each occasion and the office is kept informed of progress. Hopefully all parties will agree to a joint meeting and this will be arranged by the mediators, who will be there to manage the process. Mediators will make sure that what is agreed is done so willingly.
Yes, all travelling and telephone expenses will be reimbursed at a specified rate. If you have small children, the service may be able to pay some money towards childcare expenses.
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“I would like to take this opportunity to express what I have felt since entering the Hastings and Rother Mediation Service and seeing at close quarters how different areas of our organisation work that we really do give a Rolls Royce service to users. I say this because I have experiences various other agencies that make high claims but on closer inspection prove very disappointing on what they actually deliver. The high standard of initial training is built on by the support and on-going development of mediators, the administration seems to run like clockwork and the monitoring of the work done ensures high standards are maintained." E -volunteer mediator