Lee Teideman, Regional Manager, Adviza


Each of Adviza’s employability programmes can change lives for young people. They do this by giving young people confidence, motivation and inspiration, by teaching them employability and team-working skills and by giving them crucial exposure to the world of work.

This final component—exposure—helps young people to understand more about the array of options available to them, the skills local employers are seeking and what it’s like to do a particular job. A lot of the young people we work with will feel that doors have already been closed to them. They can’t guess at the multitude of career choices ahead of them, nor of the many routes, qualifications and training that could yet see them achieve their ideal career.

Local employers can change that. And one of the most valuable ways they can do that is through mentoring. I’ll briefly discuss two of the mentoring formats we see within our programmes.

Volunteer mentoring in The Prince’s Trust Team programme

We’re fortunate that we’re able to recruit volunteer mentors who come into this programme to support young people with their activities. A current mentor on The Prince’s Trust Team programme describes it as “very comprehensive, giving the young people exposure to many different facets - from working on a business plan and a community project to team building both indoors and outdoors.” Reflecting on her experience so far, she says, “I have enjoyed seeing the young people work on these different activities as you get to witness their strengths and growth progress...I have learnt the importance of being patient, observing without judgement as well as just listening. I have also been giving the opportunity to help the young adults with their CV’s, which is really exciting.”

Employer mentoring within regional programmes

Regional employability programmes such as Skill Up Bucks (SUB) and the Berkshire Education Employer Partnership (BEEP) help to align local employers with schools and colleges and engage future talent with local opportunities in the hope that they will be the future workforce. For these programmes, employers can work with young people in schools, talking to them about the careers they offer, the skills they hire and routes into particular careers.

Why mentoring works

The power of mentoring is that young people are in a context in which they have signed up to learn more about careers or training and they get to meet adults outside of the delivery team and benefit from their real-life experience. It’s a valuable addition to the workplace skills and employability training or projects they’ll be participating in alongside this.

When a mentor speaks about their profession they can do so authentically, with a professional’s knowledge of what skills are really important, what it’s really like to do the job and the challenges that nobody tells you about. Mentors can spark something: young people may look at them and think “that’s who I want to be.”

Our mentors present widely-different experiences and journeys into a career. Some will have followed an academic route; others will have apprenticed. Some will have “fallen into” a career and discovered they love it. No way is the right way, and these mentors can become an example or an inspiration to our young people, helping them to make informed decisions.

How much time do mentors need to give us?

The beauty of volunteer mentoring is that it doesn’t matter. For young people, every interaction with an adult in a careers context might inspire them, open their eyes to a local employer, provide them with a career option they’d not consider before, or taught them something new about how to get into their chosen career. If you can come in for one session on one programme and speak to one young person about what you do, you’ve added value. You may have inspired that person.

You could deliver a one-off talk about your industry for an hour. You could facilitate or lead a session for a day a week, for months. Some of our mentors build great relationships with the young people they’ve inspired, and they go on to support those individuals as they take their first forays into a career.

What’s in it for the mentors?

Many of our employability programmes provide unique talent pipelining opportunities. They are in part about keeping skills within a region, so our mentors get the chance to build profitable bridges with young people locally. But aside from that, our mentors consistently remark on how much they enjoy working with young people. It’s rewarding, enriching and fulfilling to inspire young people and help them make better career choices. In the course of doing so, our mentors often further develop their communication, presentation and leadership skills.

Which employability programmes need mentors?

The Prince’s Trust Team: A 12-week employability programme for young people who are NEET (not in education, employment or training). Over two-thirds of people who complete the course go on to employment or training within three months.

Berkshire Education Employer Partnership (BEEP): A programme to align young people (including NEET individuals) and businesses in Berkshire, encouraging employers to create opportunities and nurture talent while developing employability skills in individuals.

Skill Up Bucks (SUB): A programme that creates opportunities for people aged 17+ to meet and interact with employers across Buckinghamshire.

In each of these programmes, participants gain confidence, work experience or greater knowledge of career choices, inspiration, motivation and employability skills.

Want to learn more or get involved?

Our next Team programme for The Prince’s Trust begins in January 2023, and our other employability programmes are ongoing, with new ones likely to appear in the future. If you’d like to have a no-pressure chat about how you can be involved in any of our programmes as a mentor, please contact Lee Teideman on [email protected].


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