North Walsham students helped into world of work by mentors

Mentor Kathryn Hirst (middle) from Hansells with North Walsham High pupils Ella Walters and Zoe Guti

Mentor Kathryn Hirst (middle) from Hansells with North Walsham High pupils Ella Walters and Zoe Gutierrez. Picture: NEWSMAKERS - Credit: Jason Bye

A pioneering mentor project will see three north Norfolk school-leavers take their first steps into the world outside the classroom with two years' worth of wisdom from an employment solicitor.

Kathryn Hirst, of Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers, is taking part in the scheme devised by North Walsham High School to enhance young people's preparation for life beyond school.

Miss Hirst, who heads up the firm's employment team said: 'The project is unique to Norfolk and I'm really looking forward to it.

'It is a big commitment, but I believe it is a good way for Hansells to put something back into the community which supports us as a business.'

Miss Hirst held her first mentoring session with two of her Year 9 nine pupils recently - although it was not the first time she had met the girls.

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The project was launched at a 'speed-dating' session on Valentine's Day, when almost 150 pupils whizzed from table to table, meeting 38 potential mentors from the world of work.

The trio Miss Hirst will be mentoring are Chloe Adams, Ella Walters and Zoe Gutierrez.

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Miss Adams has dreams of being a solicitor, Miss Walters a photographer and TV camera operator and Miss Gutierrez a pastry chef.

The group will meet together at least once every half term for the next two school years to be coached in key themes such as CV writing and interviews, study skills, self-awareness, motivation, life skills, prioritisation and team work.

And as well as the planned sessions, Miss Hirst expects to be in regular contact with the trio by email or phone.

The mother-of-two added: 'It is quite scary to realise how deprived some young people are when it comes to future aspiration.

'I want to see the young people I work with fully motivated for their future life.

'I think this is a very forward-thinking move on the part of the school.

'I understand similar projects have been undertaken in inner city schools and private schools, but North Walsham is the first school of its kind to demonstrate such enterprise.'

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