North Walsham

Mentors signing up for third year of school project

Just Regional
Feb 1, 2016 3 mins read

North Walsham professionals were provided with a networking opportunity with a difference when they were joined by high school students at a business breakfast held in the town, with the aim of encouraging them to take up the role of mentor to young people.

Around 40 business people from the town met over coffee, croissants and bacon rolls at North Walsham High School to hear about the school’s groundbreaking mentoring scheme, which is about to be launched for its third year, and which has been emulated by high schools as far away as Truro.

Prospective mentors heard from four professionals who have already participated in the scheme, as well as a number of student mentees, who spoke about how the experience had helped build their confidence and self-esteem, as well as guiding them in their choices for the future.

More than 280 students are currently benefiting from having a mentor, with over 70 mentors taking part.  Now the school is encouraging more to come forward to become mentors to current Year 9 students.

Mentors, who generally have between two and five mentees, meet regularly with their students over a two and a half year period, as well as being available via email and telephone, to offer support and advice on qualifications, skills needed to progress towards their ambitions, and to help motivate and inspire them.

“Mentors from the world of business can help teach the soft skills we can’t provide in the classroom, and the experience we can’t provide as teachers,” NWHS assistant head Paul Clark told those attending the business breakfast. “It is so important to help young people be ready for the world of work, and to realise that they can have higher aspirations.  That is such an important part of their education, complementing our core task of helping them achieve the qualifications they will need in later life.”

Current mentor John Fleming, who runs a handyman business in the town, added: “The media keeps saying that our young people have no direction, and this is a way we can give them that.  We are adults in the real world, and the knowledge and experience we can give the students is really valuable.  It is good to be able to put something back in.”

The 2016 scheme will be launched at an event at the school on Friday, February 12.  Anyone interested in becoming a mentor can contact Paul Clark at  Mentors receive training and are required to complete a DBS check.

Pictured at the NWHS business breakfast are (from left) Paul Clark and mentors Suzanne Lakin, John Fleming and Martyn Sloman


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