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Could you become an employer mentor?

Inspira has been awarded a contract by the Careers & Enterprise Company to deliver a programme of employer mentoring in schools in Lancashire and Cumbria. The programme will help young people to build sustained relationships with volunteer mentors from the world of work. Mentors will promote positive career aspirations and encourage young people to improve attendance, behaviour and attainment at school.

There’s no single blueprint for the perfect mentor – we’re looking for people from all sectors of working life: from major national and international corporations to local SMEs; from senior executives to shopfloor workers; from new entrepreneurs to established businesses.

That said, all great mentors will share some important qualities. By far and away the most important is a genuine passion for helping to unlock the potential of young people.

Whatever your background or experience, as a mentor you will be:

 A consistent, encouraging role model

 Interested in young people

 Committed to helping young people succeed at school and have positive aspirations

 Able to offer insights into the world of work (or self-employment)

 Able to commit to a regular schedule of face-to-face contacts (see overleaf)

 Non-judgmental, tolerant and impartial

All mentors will be asked to complete Disclosure and Barring Service checks and will be made aware of arrangements for safeguarding young people during their induction training.

Your Commitment - What’s Involved

Mentors will be matched with young people selected by their schools to take part voluntarily in the programme. Young people will normally be between 13 and 15 years old, identified as needing support to improve attendance, attainment or behaviour. Schools will determine the precise criteria - often they will select young people who are performing below their potential ability level.

Each mentor will be matched with up to three young people (usually from the same school). Mentors and young people will exchange brief pen-portraits outlining key background information that they want to share ahead of matching, including what they hope to gain from the mentoring relationship.

Mentors will meet with young people on an individual, face-to-face basis once every month during the academic year. Meetings will normally last in the region of 30 minutes and take place on the school site.

Mentors will aim to develop sustained, supportive relationships, encouraging young people to be aware of career opportunities, aspire to a positive future and keep engaged and motivated at school. They will be encouraged to take an interest in the young person’s academic progress from one session to another and to discuss their wider interests, goals and concerns.

We ask that mentors complete a very brief and simple summary of each session, so that teachers and parents or carers can stay informed and engaged.

Research shows that mentoring relationships are most effective when they are sustained over a significant period of time. We ask that mentors commit to the programme for a full academic year wherever possible to help young people get the maximum benefit.

Remember, mentors aren’t expected to be magicians or miracle workers – but never under-estimate the power of an encouraging listening ear and a positive relationship with a supportive adult role model.

What You Can Expect from Inspira

We are committed to properly equipping and supporting you as a volunteer mentor. We will provide you with:

 Induction training alongside other volunteer mentors covering: The aims of the programme; role of the mentor; how progress and performance is measured in school and what mentors can expect from schools; practicalities for mentoring sessions; an introduction to basic mentoring skills; and ongoing support arrangements.

 A practical handbook including suggestions for themes mentors may want to explore, tips on how to approach different topics and guidance on how to structure sessions. The Handbook will also include supporting materials such as information about local labour market opportunities for young people.

 Ongoing support from your local coordinator. Coordinators will contact mentors on a regular basis to check how their mentoring relationships are progressing and how well practical arrangements are working. Mentors will be able to contact the local coordinator at any point during the programme if they have questions or concerns. Coordinators will also liaise with schools in order to gather and respond to feedback and will organise joint school and mentor meetings in local clusters during the academic year.

We will ensure that you receive feedback from school on the impact of your mentoring and a certificate to recognise your work with young people.

For more information contact Daniel.Carter@inspira.org.uk