by Margo Milne, director at DYW North East
I signed up as a mentor with MCR Pathways in the summer of 2020.
Supporting young people to achieve their goals has always been something I’m passionate about.
I’m a firm believer it’s our responsibility as adults to do what we can to help them against an ever-changing employment landscape.
Signing up to become a mentor with MCR Pathways was easy and the programme they offer for mentors is outstanding. It covers all the bases with ideas on relationship-building.
The satisfaction you feel when a young person actively engages and shares their thoughts and feelings is hard to describe. Margo Milne · Director, DYW North East
I was matched with a 16-year-old male student at St Machar Academy in Aberdeen and we got together once a week for an hour-long chat.
I have to admit that making the connection was slightly more difficult with everything online due to Covid restrictions. Ideally, we’d have met in the school or around the school grounds – there’s nothing quite like face-to-face interaction, as we’ve all learned in recent times.
We got there through talking about mutual hobbies and interests and we started to cover a wide range of subjects. In our time together, we’ve discussed his career aspirations and how to set goals, as well as looking at any concerns and issues he has, including how he engages with the school environment.
It is really important for young people to “learn” the act of networking and engaging with people they don’t know, and I hope I’ve played a part in that.
In a previous life, I was involved with a local school as a partner employer through DYW and I got to see first hand the difference employers can make through working with schools.
The benefit that young people get from these interactions shouldn’t be underestimated.
And it’s what led me to look at becoming a mentor to support a young person developing their life skills and building their confidence. Even having someone to speak to - who isn’t a teacher - is important for them.
And it’s not a one-sided relationship at all. My skills have developed, particularly in active listening and communication, and I’ve been able to support them by sharing real-life stories.
The satisfaction you feel when a young person actively engages and shares their thoughts and feelings is hard to describe.
As adults, our role is to build their confidence as they transition onto their next phase. We need to provide them with real life experiences of the world of work and let them experience how they’re different to that of school.
The global pandemic has had such an adverse effect on young people and education, it’s important that we’re there for those who need more support to consider their options for their future.
Being a mentor with MCR Pathways has allowed me to feel like I’m making a difference and having a positive impact on a young person’s future.
MCR Pathways recruits, trains, matches and supports volunteer mentors to inspire vulnerable young people in Scottish secondary schools to realise their full potential through education.
They do this through school-based mentoring programmes – matching young people with a fully-trained volunteer mentor. No prior experience is needed just the ability to listen and consistently be there.
If you would like to discover why you should consider becoming a mentor, check out our 'Five reasons to become a mentor' article. If you would like to find out more about mentoring in the North-east, get in touch with DYW North East at email@example.com today!