National Mentoring Day: Spotlight on ELBA Mentoring

 In Community, Education, News

ELBA is celebrating National Mentoring Day (October 27th) by shining a spotlight on some of the mentoring relationships that we have brokered and hearing from those who have benefitted from them.

ELBA has delivered mentoring programmes for over twenty years, recruiting mentors from our business partner companies and pairing them with a wide range of east Londoners. Our Mentoring Works Programme has sourced mentors for over 5,000 east London School pupils, our Higher Education Mentoring Programme supports students from east London’s universities and our Executive Partnerships Programme facilitates mentoring relationships between Senior Managers from our business partner companies and those in corresponding positions at east London charities. This article will take a look at mentors and mentees from ours programmes and explore what participants have learnt from their experiences.

Mentoring Works: Nephertiti (Haggerston School) and Louise (UBS) – 1996

In the very early days of Mentoring Works, Nephertiti, then a 14 year old student at Haggerston School, joined the programme and was matched with Louise from UBS. 19 years on the two are still in close contact and both recognise the impact and influence mentoring and their continuing supportive relationship has had on their lives.

Nephertiti said:

“Louise always believed in me. My after school mentoring sessions helped with everything from coursework and revision to being rewarded for my commitment. We just clicked and liked each other straight away. Mentoring gives you the confidence and empowerment to make good decisions. I could have gone down other paths, but with Louise’s support I have chosen the right path”.

Louise said:

Nephertiti was an outstanding individual. Living in London, people are fairly separate. Mentoring is about getting to know your neighbours – if you only ever know people just like you, then you don’t really know people, you’re just staying in your comfort zone. Mentoring is essential for everyone”.

Mentoring Works: Changyi (Our Lady’s Convent School) and Andy (Aviva Investors) – 2009

Andy from Aviva Investors mentored Our Lady’s Convent School sixth form student Changyi in 2009. When they first met, Changyi had recently arrived in the UK from China. As her grasp and use of English was very restricted, they used mentoring sessions to work on her spoken English and Changyi insisted that Andy should correct her whenever she made a mistake. The time and effort they both put in soon paid off as her language skills improved rapidly.

Andy said:

As a mentor, you are not a teacher, more of a worldly wise friend. Someone they can trust, and ask for help with complete confidence, and without fear of judgement. For example, this could be help and advice on issues at school, advice on career paths, advice on types of qualifications, help with university applications, understanding British culture, and help to get work experience. The key is not to put in hours of work, but to broaden the students’ horizons, and to act as a catalyst and facilitator for them. I cannot put into words how rewarding it was for me to watch Changyi develop her understanding of English, study for her GCSE’s, and to go on to win a place at University College of London. It was a privilege to be her mentor, and I am sure that she will go far in whatever she chooses to do; something that might not have happened if it were not for the mentoring Programme”.

Executive Partnerships: Jess (Bonny Downs Community Association) and Melissa (Morgan Stanley) – 2017

Jess was paired with Melissa through ELBA’s Morgan Stanley Emerging Women Leaders Programme. As the Marketing & Fundraising Coordinator at Bonny Downs Community Association, Jess is tasked with generating funds in an increasingly challenging economic climate. Melissa, from Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Division, volunteered to support Jess to overcome some of those challenges.  

Jess said:

Having access to a mentor was an opportunity to learn and to get fresh eyes on the day to day pressures of working in the 3rd sector. I have learnt practical lessons that have directly improved my performance at work such as presentation structuring and it has been really refreshing to have an honest space in which to discuss challenges”.

Melissa said:

“I wanted to give back to the community I work so closely to, but have no real understanding of, and to hopefully provide some genuine support using my experiences. It has been both a joy and learning experience to understand more about BDCA’s amazing work. They support so many people and give so willingly without any thought for themselves”.

Both Jess and Melissa agreed that their relationship was ‘A mutually beneficial process, a chance to gather thoughts and to learn from others’.

ELBA has found mentoring to be an incredibly effective way in which to support someone to develop professional skills, overcome challenges, increase confidence and raise aspirations. A positive mentoring relationship can have a profound impact on an both an individual’s professional and personal life as we discovered recently when we caught up with Nusrat Zamir. We are proud to have played an active role in creating a legacy of mentoring in east London and are excited to continue brokering relationships that help to create thriving communities.    

ELBA continues to expand its accredited year 10 mentoring programme, see here for an update on this year’s launches and how ELBA have spread our mentoring model all the way to Brighton.

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