As part of his role, he was given responsibility for developing relationships with Mosaic, of which UKIM is a key partner. Mohammed believed the best way to learn about Mosaic’s work was to attend one of the charity’s events, and so he went along to a special celebration held at Aston University to mark Mosaic’s achievements in the West Midlands.
Mohammed said: “I was overwhelmed with the fantastic and inspirational testimonies presented by parents and pupils at local schools and felt the best way to learn more about Mosaic was to participate as a mentor. As a qualified accountant I had previously mentored trainees looking to achieve their CIMA qualifications, but nothing as recognised as Mosaic’s programmes.”
Mohammed went on to mentor a group of Year 8 and a group of Year 10 pupils at Kings Heath Boys School in Birmingham as part of Mosaic’s Secondary School programme. He explained: “As I grew up in the local area and from a similar background, I wanted mentees to identify with me. My aim was to reinforce the message that despite life’s challenges, our backgrounds and circumstances, education is a wonderful tool to liberate oneself and create opportunities for a rich and vibrant future.
“The three main areas we focused on were confidence, self-efficacy and employability. We developed a series of interactive workshops to address these areas specifically and help mentees develop tools and skills to not only recognise their importance, but also how to maximise their own potential. It was great to see the transformation in some of the Year 8 students in particular, from being quite shy and reserved initially to much more vocal and confident participants in the later sessions.”
Mohammed has since gone on to mentor on the Secondary School programme at Arc Boulton Academy, and more recently, support Mosaic’s Enterprise Challenge programme at Small Heath School and Hodge Hill College.
He said: “With the Enterprise Challenge, I used my accountancy background to help illustrate the difference between gross profit and net profit using a Profit & Loss Account format. This was a major hit across both groups and I will always cherish the Thank You card I received from my group at Small Heath School who despite initial reluctance to engage, flourished by the end of the sessions.”
Mohammed believes he has gained as much from mentoring as the pupils he has supported. He explained: “Mentoring with Mosaic makes me feel part of a positive, enlightened community of like-minded people who are sincerely committed to helping youngsters to fulfil their potential. I have learnt quite a few new tools and techniques that I have used to motivate and build confidence in my youth group at my local mosque, which I have helped run for the last 10 years.”
“One of the key things that stood out for me is the importance of listening to mentees and not quickly jumping to offering a solution – but instead to help each pupil find their way to the answer with encouragement, ideas and positivity. I found the sessions to be deeply fulfilling and rewarding and hope that I had a positive effect on the lives of some of my mentees.”
Mohammed also says he has made many friends through mentoring with Mosaic. He added: “Potential mentors should not underestimate the opportunities for networking with like-minded people and building rich friendships. I have kept in regular contact with my fellow mentors, to the extent that I consider several of them amongst my closest/dearest friends.”
Mohammed is now part of Mosaic’s West Midlands Regional Leadership Group and in addition to his work with UKIM, he also volunteers for the Muslim Council of Britain (Youth Development Programme).