Pupils from six primary schools across Leeds recently graduated from Mosaic’s Primary School mentoring programme at a pair of special ceremonies held over two days at Leeds Trinity University.
In the presence of their mentors, teachers and families, pupils from Dixons Marchbank Primary School, Fagley Primary School, Horton Grange Primary School, Field Lane Primary School, Hillcrest Primary School and St Matthews C of E Primary School shared their experiences of participating in the programme.
The events featured keynote speeches from Laura Boocock, Station Commander at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service; and Irna Qureshi, Co-Director of the Bradford Literature Festival.
Irna Qureshi said: “The work that Mosaic does is amazing and potentially life-changing for the young people involved. It was a real honour to speak at the ceremony and be in a position to help raise the aspirations of the children. I felt privileged to be able to make a contribution to the work that Mosaic does all year round.”
The event was also witness to a special moment in Mosaic’s history when Jazibah Ziarab, a Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds, addressed the audience. Jazibah was one of the mentors for the pupils graduating from Horton Grange Primary School, having herself been a mentee when she was in Year 10 at Belle Vue Girls’ School in Bradford.
Jazibah, who has also just been announced as a prestigious Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador, said: “It’s been brilliant to see the young people graduate. When I started mentoring they were very quiet and reserved. After a few sessions it was very noticeable many had become much more open to speaking in front of the whole class. We did a group activity where we picked two of the quietest girls to be spokespeople. It was amazing how they got up and spoke in front of the whole class with so much confidence.”
“I was 14 when our teachers told us we would be taking part in Mosaic’s mentoring programme to help us with our employability skills and self-efficacy. I clearly remember being so aloof before starting. I had no intention of going into higher education and didn’t know what career I was interested in. That all changed after taking part in Mosaic’s programme: now, when I’m in situations where I am very nervous I am able to portray myself as being confident.”
Mosaic’s Primary School programme seeks to equip young people with the skills and confidence they need to connect education to a work at an early age. Often the programmes focus on girls and their mothers, raising aspirations and broadening expectations of what’s possible in adult life. Volunteer mentors from professional backgrounds act as role models to the pupils and encourage them to aspire to careers in a range of different sectors.
Leah Larkin, Mosaic’s Regional Manager in Yorkshire, said: “What a lovely day it’s been and a proper celebration of both the achievements of all the young people and also the team of mentors who freely gave up their time to inspire them. It’s always a joy to hear pupils talk with such positivity about the future and I am certain they will have been encouraged further by the words of advice given by our two superb keynote speakers.”
The graduation events were made possible by the generous support of Human Appeal and Leeds Trinity University.