Chris Tomlinson of Westover Veterinary Practice in North Walsham

Business People And Employers Urged To Take Part In Ground-Breaking Mentoring Scheme


Posted on: 4th December 2017

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 fifth 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.

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 Kate Lawn, who is co-ordinating 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 23rd 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 lawnk@nwhs.uk.

The 2017 scheme will be launched at a ‘Speed Networking’ event at the school on 7th February.  Mentors receive training, and are required to complete a DBS check.

Case Study

One current mentor at NWHS is Chris Tomlinson, director at the Westover Veterinary Practice in North Walsham.  He says that being a mentor enables him to give something back to the community, as well as interact with the next generation.

“When you are 14 or 15, you often don’t know what you want to do, and hearing from someone who enjoys their job, and for whom life is exciting, can be motivating.

It’s about sowing the seeds into their lives, challenging them, and showing that they can aspire to be something special – that is really important.

“But it’s not just about what the students get out of it.  After 30 years as a vet, I enjoy being able to give something back into the community, as well as having the opportunity to interact with the next generation. 

“Being a mentor has given me the satisfaction of knowing that life is more than earning money, it’s about building communities.  They say it takes a village to raise a child, not just a mum and dad, and it’s really satisfying to contribute to that process.”


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