Business people and employers are being urged to volunteer to take part in a hugely successful mentoring scheme aimed at helping high school students gain the confidence and employability skills they will need in later life.
North Walsham High School will launch the fourth year of its acclaimed Mentoring Scheme in February – an initiative which has been emulated by high schools as far away as Truro.
Mentors take on between two and five Year 9 student mentees, and meet regularly with them over a two and a half year period, as well as being available via email and telephone, to offer support and advice on qualifications, skills needed to progress towards their ambitions, and to help motivate and inspire them.
Currently more than 280 students at the school are benefitting from having a mentor, with around 70 mentors taking part.
Students who have taken part in the scheme have spoken about how the experience helped build their confidence and self-esteem, as well as guiding them in their choices for the future. Mentors have also reported that taking part has been a rewarding experience, helping their own personal development, as well as ensuring that tomorrow’s workforce has the skills needed to be useful employees.
“Our mentoring programme is designed to provide role models for our students,” said Paul Leaver, who is leading the initiative. “We want them to be inspired, motivated, confident, and full of self-belief.
“We need to develop their ‘soft skills’ to improve their long-term employment prospects, because the latest research shows that this has huge benefits for both students and employers in the medium and long term. Employers have highlighted that employability skills are lacking in young people, so our aim is to build on these to enable them to progress in the world of work.”
“We believe that all of our students benefit from mentoring, and it should be an entitlement for all. Limited aspirations, low confidence, a weak sense of personal urgency and a limited understanding of career opportunities are shared across all ability levels.”
Employers and business people who are interested in taking part in the NWHS Mentoring Scheme are being invited to a business breakfast at the school to find out more. The event takes place on 24th January from 7am-8.30am. Those interested in attending can reserve a place by contacting Kate Lawn Monday to Wednesday on 01692 402581 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2017 scheme will be launched at a ‘Speed Networking’ event at the school on February 8. Mentors receive training, and are required to complete a DBS check.
Mentor Carla Daniels has been mentoring three current Year 11 students for two years, and meets with them regularly. The accountant with local firm Lovewell Blake says that the experience has been positive for both her mentees and herself.
“I have enjoyed being a mentor a great deal,” she says. “As business people we have a responsibility if we want young people to become well-rounded individuals who are ready for work.
“I have enjoyed every session I have had with my mentees, and I will definitely be re-joining the scheme with a fresh set of Year 9 students.
“ I have a daughter myself who had nothing like this at school – as an employer I can really see the value of the scheme, and I have also learnt a lot myself from taking part.”
Mentor Carla Daniels from Lovewell Blake (left) with NWHS student mentees (from left) Carly Meizner, Harleigh Byers and Marcia Pegg (Picture: Andy Newman)