Award winning West Midlands social housing association Midland Heart recently teamed up with Mosaic West Midlands resulting in a number of benefits for both organisations.
Martina Honeyghan, Diversity and Policy Officer at Midland Heart explains the reason for choosing to work in partnership with Mosaic: “When we heard about the mentoring programme offered by Mosaic, we were truly inspired by its aims. We could clearly see our role and the positive impact of working with school students to develop their confidence and support their educational/career aspirations.
We recognised almost immediately that Mosaic had great experience in bridging the gap between education and business; and that by working in partnership we could make a positive contribution to not only schools but to young people and the communities they belong to, in and around the areas we operate in.
We currently have a number of staff involved in both the Primary and Secondary school mentoring programme and it has been great to hear that they have not only found both programmes thoroughly rewarding but that it has given them a chance to use their own life and career experiences to inspire young people.
There a multitude of benefits that the programme offers; from the positive impact on schools and communities to supporting our commitment to the development our staff. Ultimately, we recognise that businesses like us have a big part to play in inspiring the futures of our young people in as many ways as we can and we are ready for the challenge!”
Mosaic West Midlands Regional Manager Annalisa Lockett added: “There is great synergy between our two organisations: we both aim to transform the lives of our most disadvantaged and deprived communities. Our partnership may be in its infancy but a dedicated team of staff from Midland Heart have already supported students at four Secondary Schools and mums and girls at two primary Schools.
One of the key benefits of working in partnership with an organisation such as Midland Heart is the ability to tap into the diversity of its workforce. So many of the young people and communities that we support don’t have access to positive role models and have little idea of the variety of roles and range of opportunities that employers can provide. Mentors from Midland Heart include heads of departments, support workers and senior project staff. Students benefit from engaging with Mentors but also get an insight into the variety of roles on offer and what they may consider as a career.
We are now exploring the possibility of taking a group of secondary students to visit some of the offices and housing developments at Midland Heart as part of a World of Work visit. I am very excited by this relationship and look forward to further developing it over the coming months.”
When asked what motivated them to become Mosaic Mentors, Midland Heart Team Leader Julie Pearson eagerly commented: “Reading the literature that initially was sent out requesting mentors, a key phrase that kept jumping off the page and hitting me was ‘close the gap between those aspirations and their attainment.’ This phrase took me back in time, to when I started on my career path and the people that were around me in the early years. The inspiration and knowledge gained from their experience provided me with the support and guidance to prepare for my role. I wanted to give back, what others had given to me freely.”
Mel Davis, Operations Manager, Catering Services remarked: “I first noticed that within the list of schools, there was Heath Park School; my old school of more than 30 years ago. I was intrigued to say the least. Secondly, I have in the past been mentored myself and have found it to be really beneficial, in and out of work situations.
Going back to school after all these years was really strange, there seemed to be very little change to the building and some of the children we met reminded me of myself at that age (quiet, lacking confidence and worried about what others may think) but with help from others, time and experience that has changed for me. I wanted to ensure others in similar situations had some the opportunities I had.
As the programme progresses I have seen positive changes in the way the students respond to taking part in the sessions, just showing the students there are people who care and are prepared to help, will hopefully enable them to take their experience of the sessions away with them, helping them to achieve their personal goals.”
Sasbina Yasmin, Accommodation Access Worker added: “We have a responsibility for our youth and their futures. I think mentoring is an excellent opportunity to try to encourage, promote the importance of education and to inspire young people in a proactive way”.
Sarah Clee, Head of Marketing and Communications commented: “I have been lucky enough to have amazing support and mentoring from some very special women from when I was at school and still today and I know how much that has helped me to develop in my career and personally. The opportunity to offer even a fraction of that support to someone else is a privilege”.
When asked why she had become involved, Susana Topiol, Business Support Analyst said: “I have been looking for volunteering opportunities within Midland Heart and I enjoy working with young people. When I found out about the Mosaic Mentor programme I thought it would be a great way to get involved in the community.”
Mosaic West Midlands is now recruiting mentors to support our primary and secondary programmes commencing Autumn 2013. To register your interest, or if your company would like to support a World of Work visit, please contact Annalisa.firstname.lastname@example.org.