Celebrating good times with Mentoring Works!

Written by Merossa Cofie and Maria Tonchievici, Mentoring Works, ELBA

ELBA and BIG Alliance’s Mentoring Works programme is celebrating the achievements of the 2020-21 Year 10 cohort with a series of 10 Celebration events with our company and school partners, across June and July.

The events have kicked off with two so far; the first was a session for ELBA partner Fitch Group, who joined the programme for the first time this year and are matched with Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney and the second was for BIG Alliance partner Expedia Group, who are matched with City of London Academy Islington.

With mentors and mentees exclusively having telephone based mentoring sessions this year, due to the pandemic, it has been fantastic to bring the mentors and mentees together in a virtual setting, to share their successes and highlights. We have heard so much great feedback about amazing mentors and mentees, about how much mentees have changed, how they’ve been given more structure and have become less stressed and far more self-confident. Mentors also learnt so much about themselves, have developed their own skills and feel incredibly proud of their mentees. They have been really inspirational and feel-good events and the Mentoring Works team are rightly proud of themselves too, for navigating such a complex year and still providing so much impact to mentors and mentees alike.

The Mentoring Works team, facilitating the events, have incorporated an interactive element for the mentors and mentees, actively engaging them in a bitesize mentoring activity where they are asked to create an elevator pitch about the skills they’ve improved or developed through mentoring. Even though we know public pitching can be daunting, the mentees, supported by their mentors, rose to the challenge and enjoyed this activity. This proved to be a fantastic opportunity for students to elevate their presentation skills but also collaborate with their mentors for the first time in a virtual setting.  

The Celebration events also included a spotlight on mentors and mentees who kindly agreed to give speeches to share their mentoring experiences.

One of the mentors from Fitch Group reflected on how much he also learned about himself from his mentee:

“The thing I have taken away and learnt is that mentoring is two-way traffic and communication. You learn about your mentee and you learn about yourself. One of my problems, which I learnt from my mentee, is that I tend to have ideas but no execution plan, now I am taking it more seriously and having plans to back up my ideas. I am also thinking about going into motivational speaking for young people – and that’s what I am going to take on with my next journey. Thank you to my mentee for challenging me, I learnt a lot from you”.

His mentee from Mossbourne Community Academy credited his mentor for helping him build desired and necessary structure to his life:

“My mentor has been amazing during this mentoring programme. We looked at developing skills, like how I can have more structure. Before I was all over the place because of school, homework and general life. I developed lots of skills with my mentor’s help, he’s really helped me and I have to thank him for that.”

Even for the other mentees mentoring has been truly transformational as one City of London Academy Islington student outlined in her speech:

I found the Mentoring Works programme very useful. My mentor provided me with advice and a lot of information about career pathways and universities. He’s also helped me become more motivated to achieve more in lessons and in life in general, in order to get the best grades and to find a good job in the future. My mentor has also boosted my confidence by a mile and has improved my communication skills.

Likewise, her mentor from Expedia Group acknowledged that he really enjoyed the programme and saw improvements in his mentee’s confidence as the programme went on. Even more, he concluded: 

“At times you have big career goals and challenges that can seem overwhelming but I’ve learnt that there’s so much value in breaking them down into much smaller parts – you find that it’s not too difficult, once you’ve taken that first step and that is definitely something that I will take away from this experience.

As a final thought, we asked everyone to reflect on their mentoring experience by answering this question on Mentimeter: How would you sum up your mentoring experience in one word? Words included: rewarding, positive, eye-opening, inspirational, enriching, motivational, empowering, engaging, and the list can go on and on. This demonstrates how much of an impact the experience has had on both mentors and mentees and we look forward to collecting formal feedback and sharing more widely in due course. 

The Mentoring Works team can rightly say that these Celebration events have been so uplifting and inspirational and we are so looking forward to the rest.

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