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School’s mentoring scheme offers chance to help shape the next generation

PUBLISHED: 14:02 03 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 January 2019

Students meet business people at a North Walsham High School mentor speed mentoring event. Picture: NWHS

Students meet business people at a North Walsham High School mentor speed mentoring event. Picture: NWHS

Archant

Employers and business people are being urged to take part in a school’s mentoring scheme aimed at helping students gain the confidence and skills they will need when they join the workforce.

Gail Adams, owner of North Walsham-based holiday let company, Pack Holidays, is taking part in North Walsham HIgh School's mentoring scheme. Picture: NORTH WALSHAM HIGH SCHOOLGail Adams, owner of North Walsham-based holiday let company, Pack Holidays, is taking part in North Walsham HIgh School's mentoring scheme. Picture: NORTH WALSHAM HIGH SCHOOL

Mentors taking part in the North Walsham High School programme take on between five and 10 mentees, who they meet with regularly over a two-and-a-half year period to offer support and advice on qualifications, skills needed to progress towards their ambitions, and to help motivate and inspire them.

Kate Lawn, co-ordinator, said the scheme had proven a success since it was launched six years ago.

Ms Lawn said: “Our mentoring programme is designed to provide role models for our students.

“We want them to be inspired, motivated, confident, and full of self-belief.

“We need to develop their ‘soft skills’ to improve their long-term employment prospects.

“Employers have highlighted that employability skills are lacking in young people, so our aim is to build on these to enable them to progress in the world of work.”

Diane Evans, business and skills support co-ordinator at North Norfolk District Council, said: “Embedding mentors from a wide range of organisations has given young people the opportunity to be coached about the world of work and encouraged them to believe in themselves.

“Mentors make an invaluable contribution to the development of young people in order to prepare them for future careers and to contribute to society. It is a worthwhile opportunity to influence the future workforce.”

Students who have taken part in the scheme have spoken about how the experience helped build their confidence and self-esteem, as well as guiding them in their choices for the future.

Mentors have also reported that taking part has been a rewarding experience, helping their own personal development, as well as ensuring that tomorrow’s workforce has the skills needed to be useful employees.

Potential mentors are invited to a business breakfast at the school on January 22 from 7am to 8.30am to find out more, call 01692 402581 Monday to Wednesday or email lawnk@nwhs.uk to book a place.

The 2019 scheme will be launched at a ‘speed networking’ event at the school on February 13.

Mentors receive training and are required to complete a DBS check.

One mentor’s view: Enable, not disable

Working with the next generation is a privilege that benefits both sides, according to one of the scheme’s mentors, Gail Adams.

Ms Adams, owner of North Walsham-based holiday let firm Pack Holidays, said the programme had given her inspiration.

She said: “It is well worth your time spending a little while with young, developing and curious minds.

“The students I mentor are a fabulous set of young adults who are mature, kind, intelligent and engaging.”

Ms Adams said she would encourage others in business to consider becoming mentors themselves.

She said: “It’s a bit of a privilege to work with a future generation.

“Enable, not disable. Learn a bit more yourself - these young adults will, without a doubt, educate you as much as you can educate them.

“Let them learn from your mistakes - let them see that life is about learning - we’ve all had to develop.”

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