Can you make a difference to the next generation?

Posted on: 3rd January 2019

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 sixth year of its Mentoring Scheme in February.

Mentors take on between five and ten Year 9 student mentees, and meet regularly with them over a two and a half year period, 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. 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.”

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 22nd 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 2019 scheme will be launched at a ‘Speed Networking’ event at the school on 13th February.  Mentors receive training, and are required to complete a DBS check.

Diane Evans, Business and Skills Support Coordinator at North Norfolk District Council says “Embedding mentors from a wide range of organisations has given young people the opportunity to be coached about the world of work and encouraged them to believe in themselves. Mentors make an invaluable contribution to the development of young people in order to prepare them for future careers and to contribute to society. It is a worthwhile opportunity to influence the future workforce. My views are that the scheme should be run by every school.”

Case Study

One current mentor at NWHS is Gail Adams, owner of Holiday let company, Pack Holidays.  She says that being a mentor gives her a lot of inspiration for the future:  ‘It is well worth your time spending a little while with young, developing and curious minds.  The students I mentor are a fabulous set of young adults who are mature, kind, intelligent and engaging.’

“I've worked with schools in various voluntary forms over the years, and worked in a private school.  I have 17 year old twins and I find it easy to communicate well with young adults.  (And hopefully, they find it easy to communicate with me). It is personally important to me to help others (and I have other voluntary roles too) but most important of all, this is about helping the future and we should all take pride in doing that.”

We asked Gail, why she thought others should take part in this scheme, she told us “It's a bit of a privilege to work with a future generation.  Enable, not disable. Learn a bit more yourself - these young adults will, without a doubt, educate you as much as you can educate them. Let them learn from your mistakes - let them see that life is about learning - we've all had to develop.  They can learn from your achievements, successes, struggles and mistakes.  And..... you are not a teacher.  You are external to their everyday learning experience.  You are their outside world coming in.”

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