Since Mosaic’s inception, volunteer mentors recruited from the world of business have been an essential component in delivering its various programmes across schools and prisons. The experience, advice and encouragement that someone who has succeeded in their career can bring to a group of young people is of an undeniably high value.
Mosaic is particularly thankful to our headline supporter Human Appeal, alongside the Aziz Foundation, TRS Foundation, John Laing Foundation and the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery for their generous support of the primary school mentoring programme.
Although Mosaic welcomes individual mentors from any type of company, it’s relatively common for several members of staff from one organisation to volunteer at the same time and in cases such as they can quite easily be placed in the same school. This has numerous benefits, not simply in terms of logistics but for the support that mentors can give each other in what for most of them is the first time they’ve set foot in a school since they themselves left education.
One such company is BP which provided mentors to deliver Mosaic’s Primary School Programme at Kenyngton Manor Primary School in Surrey during the 2015/16 academic year.
This programme sees mentors working primarily with young girls and their mothers, often in areas of deprivation, with the aim of building confidence, fostering communication skills and opening the eyes of both the girls and their mothers to the almost limitless possibilities that are available to them once they’ve finished in education.
At the end of the programme, the BP mentors were able to join their mentees from Kenyngton Primary on a special trip to the University of Surrey. During the day the girls, along with their parents and teachers, were given a campus tour, an introduction to life at the university and insight into the hundreds of different subjects that are studied there. The girls were also presented with special certificates during a ‘graduation’ ceremony to commemorate their successful completion of the mentoring programme.
The whole project was declared a success by all involved with BP mentor Emma Stevenson commenting: “It’s great to be there for these young girls and I feel I would have liked the same opportunity when I was younger. It’s rewarding to see that your input makes such a difference.”
This sentiment was echoed by the mentees, one of whom said: “The programme was really helpful in building my confidence. I’ve always struggled with this but I’ve come to realise that I can do anything and this has made me more confident.”
One of the parents, Justine Wilkes-Kendall, whose daughter had participated in the mentoring scheme said: “The best thing was spending time with my daughter while she was really learning. I think it’s so important that she has learnt to think past gender stereotypes in terms of careers. She could be a builder or engineer if she wanted. Having mentors come in and talk about their careers and what they do for their jobs really helped to break any barriers to what my daughter thought was possible.”
Another parent, Klara Kingdon, was similarly positive about the mentoring experience with her daughter Annabella: “The mentors we had from BP were fantastic. It was interesting to see the girls grow. At the first session they were all hiding behind each other, but over the course of the programme they really grew in confidence. Having mentors from different backgrounds who are really accomplished in their fields working with the girls really helped to inspire confidence in them.”
Mosaic is always looking for volunteers to continue and extend its mentoring programmes so if you’re interested in joining our team please sign-up here.