Our group mentoring programme is aimed at students in years 8-10. Working with volunteers from a local business or organisation, students gain knowledge of opportunities, work-place skills and employability pathways. It aims to inspire and motivate students to raise their aspirations and stay engaged with education. The activities encourage students to set personal goals and work out their own plans for achieving them.
Six sessions take place over a twelve week period. Over time, students build trust and rapport with their adult mentors, helping to improve communication skills and confidence.
Each school is partnered with a local company which supports the programme by providing adult
mentors. The mentors are trained and given support from the WEM Project Manager.
Following a tried and tested model, the students build relationships with the volunteer mentors who provide positive role models throughout the programme. Mentors support and advise the students as they work through the activities in small groups.
At least one session of the six (often more) takes place at the business premises. The students have
the extra benefit of experiencing the real life working environment.
How can we measure the impact of mentoring?
Six sessions are a short intervention, but they can have surprisingly evident impact on students’ self-esteem, aspirations and participation. We collect qualitative views from students and teachers before and after sessions take place, and are happy to share findings with schools.
We can also include measures requested by the school, such as RONI indicators, attendance, English levels and behaviour.
Reflecting their contributory funding, we are also required to share anonymised impact findings with The Careers & Enterprise Company.
We see a clear difference in students’ effort and attainment from participating. It’s also
interesting that our recent head boys and girls and other students who have stepped forward to run things were also those who had taken part. This year, 60 students heard a
presentation by the previous year’s mentees and mentors, and 55 applied to join the
programme.” Teacher, Bristol secondary school
Last year, participating teachers reported that their students showed clear improvements in:
My favourite thing about the group mentoring sessions was how they were teaching us something that we haven’t learnt or thought about before. We found all the people very helpful and encouraging and they all were very kind-hearted people to work with” Year 9 student
Once students have completed their group mentoring sessions, they are offered a peer mentor
training session and have the opportunity to mentor younger students – either those that follow them
onto the WEM programme or other students with specific goals they can help to address.
Our existing work has shown the enormous value of peer mentoring, both to mentees and to young mentors through feeling responsibility and trust. Students participating in WEM are invited to train and return as peer mentors for younger students.
Through the training and support of peer mentors, students can access additional one to one mentoring beyond the core six-session programme. Additionally, through their continued engagement as peer mentors, we can track impact on participants over a longer time period.
Schools are asked to nominate an internal co-ordinator to manage the referral of students, project participation, timetabling and travel, and to support impact reporting on each student.
Co-ordinators are supported by the WEM Project Manager and often build a great relationship with their partner organisation’s mentoring champion too.
Schools are asked to contribute £50 per student to help cover the costs of delivering mentoring.
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