West Midlands Police force has worked closely with Mosaic since 2012. During this time, the force has facilitated three ‘World of Work’ visits and over 40 staff members have signed up and volunteered as mentors for Mosaic.
Currently there are over 20 employees, ranging from officers on the beat to those working in forensics, working across the breadth of Mosaic’s education programmes – Primary School, Secondary School and the Enterprise Challenge.
Aksar Bashir mentors at Small Heath secondary school in Birmingham. He said: “I found that the mentees were struggling with self-confidence and some direction for what they wanted to do once they leave school.
“I helped by providing real life experiences and having come from a similar background to most of the students I felt they could relate to me just as I could to them. The transformation of some of the mentees was really rewarding, seeing what a positive change mentoring can make.”
One of the other schools in the region to benefit is Rockwood Academy, where Carl Hallbrook is a mentor. He explained: “Mentoring for Mosaic has allowed me to use some of my skills in an area I would not normally be involved in. I worked with Year 10 students who had issues around self-confidence and communication, helping them to improve their confidence and their ability to converse and communicate as well as develop lateral thinking skills.
“This helped them in their other classes where they were able to contribute in ways that they would not normally have done. I can say that the team of mentors and the support given to me was excellent. The one thing I would say to any young person looking to succeed is to be brave. You never know where this will take you; but it is sure to be a better place.”
David Hollies is a Response Inspector based at Stechford Police Station. He has been mentoring with a group of pupils aged between 11 and 12 at Hodge Hill College and says that each individual mentee had different strengths and weaknesses.
“I think it would be fair to say that most lacked confidence in their own abilities and were quiet,” said David. “Our aim was to bring them out and make them realise what they had to offer. Although the impact I feel we were able to have was relatively limited in the time we had, you could see the change in a few of the pupils who were initially less confident and by the end expressed their views more and became more engaged.
“I enjoyed the extended engagement with the young people, which is not really something I get to participate in through my role at work. I really wanted them to realise they had options they could pursue in their lives’ and to try to ignore those who told them they couldn’t do something. The whole experience also made me feel positive about giving something back to the community at the same time as gaining new skills myself.”
A group of 15 pupils aged 13 from Waverley School have also benefited from mentoring. Police officer Julie Marshall explained: “At first it was daunting being faced with a group of secondary school students all waiting to be told what to do, but you get plenty of resources to work from and soon get to know the group.
“Many of the young people had no confidence and no idea of what they wanted to achieve or how, but it is fascinating to watch as trust in the mentors grows and the group builds confidence to tackle activities they would not have done before.
“There is a real sense of achievement and it is really rewarding at the last session to hear from the young people what skills they have learned and the impact it has had. Seeing a mentee standing confidently talking in front of a large group where a few weeks before they had been perceived as shy is humbling and rewarding.”
Navdeep Kaur has been mentoring a group of Year 7 and 8 pupils. She said: “At first they were very shy and reluctant to engage, but throughout the weeks we spent with them they seemed to come out of their selves and build confidence not only in themselves but working in groups too. It was a great experience, especially seeing those with very little confidence grow and become a different person because of the experiences and confidence you have shown them.”
She added: “I learnt that even little things like showing the confidence you have and to talk about where you have come from to get where you are can really trigger those with less self-esteem to start gaining confidence in themselves.”