A different career path

1A friend of mine is considering taking a turn in his career path. Having spent five years in the IT industry working for a company specializing in programme design and development, he has grown tired of dealing with “inanimate objects” – writing programme codes and running tests on programmes they develop. He wants to become involved more in communication and interaction with people. What’s more, he wishes to contribute to working out difficult situations and finding proper resolution for disputes. He has spent the past few years studying a law degree and is now targeting to become a mediator, a profession which he thinks is meaningful to making the world a better place.

He has looked through the internet for information about the mediation industry. From his online research, he has come to understand that the Hong Kong Mediation Council, a division under the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), organizes a wide range of activities such as mediation training courses each year to help mediation practitioners in Hong Kong meet the requirements of accreditation. Among these activities, the HKIAC Accredited Mediator CPD Programme is especially offered with the purpose of enhancing the skills and knowledge of accredited mediators. The areas of study include communication, negotiation and problem-solving skills, legal awareness, conflict management and understanding of dispute resolution process. Every HKIAC course and event such as a CPD for lawyers is carefully designed to give participants useful information about changes of mediation practice and rules, examples of case studies, as well as practical workshop to illustrate how knowledge can be applied in real cases.

My friend understands that it might still be a long way to go before he finally becomes an accredited mediator. Anyone who wishes to become an accredited mediator must have at least three years full-time working experience before submitting an application as a candidate for consideration by the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Ltd (HKMAAL). The candidate will also need to complete a minimum of 40 hours of training courses and pass the assessment including the successful of two simulated general (non-family) mediation cases.

In the past decade, mediation has become a popular means of settling disputes as more people are aware of the large amount of time and money that might need if they choose to resolve it by way of legal procedures. Mediation is a much faster and less expensive option, and can cause less damage to all parties involved. A mediator is the key person to bridge the gap of difference between two opposing parties, helping them work out ways to achieve a win-win instead of making the situation into a zero-sum game.

My friend will soon resign from his present job and pursue to becoming a mediator. He is prepared to make all the necessary efforts in order to be an accredited mediator.