As part of its commitment to helping shape the lives of young people from disadvantaged communities across the country, Mosaic partnered with NatCen Social Research (NatCen) in 2014 to carry out a five year evaluation of its Secondary School mentoring programme.
This longitudinal survey tracks young people’s progress on the programme using both online and paper questionnaires to measure the impact. Mosaic has worked with NatCen and taken a selection of the anonymised students’ stories to share as case studies.
Mosaic is particularly thankful to our headline supporter The Al Faisal without Borders Foundation, alongside Sir John Cass’s Foundation and the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery for their generous support of the secondary school mentoring programme.
Below, two mentees reflect on their experience of the mentoring programme:
Amelia decided to take part in the Secondary School programme when she re-took her final year of college in order to improve her grades and get into university.
Amelia was introduced to the programme by a guidance counsellor who encouraged her to take part when she was struggling to decide what she wanted to do while all of her friends had already gone off to university.
Amelia didn’t know anything about Mosaic before starting and in fact feared it could be a waste of time because she was older than the other participants and worried that the skills would be too basic. However, after speaking to one of the mentors about her desire to do an apprenticeship or go to university she was encouraged.
Amelia said: “I realised it fit in quite well because it gave me more hope and faith that I could go to university and do what I wanted to do, then find a job that I want.”
Amelia also greatly valued her mentor, with whom she built up an important relationship. She found having the opportunity to discuss her future, one-to-one, with somebody who was outside of her immediate family was especially helpful. The fact that her mentor had left school at 16 and worked her way up to a respectable and highly paid job was particularly inspirational for Amelia.
Before she left college, Amelia recommended the programme to younger pupils: “I told them if they get the chance to do it then do it!”
Amelia is now at university and really enjoying her course. She has made new friends, is socialising more and is beginning to think about what she might do once she finishes her course.
“Advertising is looking quite appealing to me at the moment and I am enjoying the directing and film making side of my course,” she said.
Amelia continues to use the techniques she learned on Mosaic’s mentoring programme, which she feels have helped to build her self-confidence, clarify her goals and have a positive influence on her approach to work.
She added: “It had a good impact in the sense that it made me work harder. I have had interviews for new jobs and the techniques I was taught have stuck with me.”
Ali completed the Secondary School programme when he was in Year 11 having being told about the initiative by one of his teachers.
Ali explained: “The sessions took place fortnightly, with 15 to 20 students split into smaller groups of five and one mentor for each group. Every two weeks or so we went into a room, sat in a circle and spoke about what we were getting on with, what we wanted to do in the future, how things were going and all the type of things that would benefit us in the future.”
Ali enjoyed all of the sessions but said he found the one focused on careers the most helpful because it was not something he had received support on up until then. He developed a good relationship with his mentor, feeling she was easy to talk to and understood where he was coming from.
The programme also helped encourage Ali to focus his efforts on a particular career path, pursuing one ambition and sticking to it. He said: “I remember my mentor telling me that you should always stick to one thing first and get far at it before then going on to something else.”
Ali is now at college and enjoying his course. He has a good relationship with his peers, gets on well with his lecturer and feels very motivated having decided on plumbing as a career choice.
He says he would recommend the mentoring programme to others, in particular pupils who might be confused about what they want to do in the future.