On your side mentoring

 

The ‘On-Your-Side Mentoring’ programme is in pilot phase in Glasgow and will roll out across our project areas over the next three years. The programme is managed by Nikki Stein our Mentoring Project Manager. The aim of the programme is to provide on-going support for our young people as they negotiate their route towards a thriving adulthood, through matching them up with adult mentors.

Success with WorkingRite is not enough. Life’s challenges are only just beginning. In their late-teens/early 20’s; these are the years when a young person needs someone to be on their side; an ally along their road to adult independence. We have identified the gap in our current model: the absence of on-going relational support after they have left us, with the associated risks of them falling through the often unpredictable cracks of early adult life. We have identified the need from many of our former trainees, in terms of the challenges they have faced since leaving WorkingRite and the kind of mentoring support that would have helped them. We have identified the desire to help from potential volunteers, willing to fill that gap and meet this need.

This is a major new development for WorkingRite; one that will widen the reach of our mentoring methodology to support sustainable thriving futures for our young people. As a concept it has already generated wide support. The pilot will create a network of local volunteer mentors, willing to give their time and compassion to support a young person through the snakes-and-ladders of post-adolescent life. The pilot will include a development stage to build the operational and support structures needed to support our volunteers and ensure training and safeguards are in place.

As a relationship-based model, On-Your-Side will use the experience WorkingRite has built up from over a decade of delivering our core mentored work-based training model, and draw on the knowledge and good practice of our close partner, MCR Pathways, who share ‘mentoring’ as a core practice in their successful transformational model.

On-Your-Side will be:
• A one-to-one matching of a volunteer mentor with a prospective mentee to create the conditions for a long-term relationship
• Asset based; our volunteer mentors will build on the strengths their mentee has achieved in their time with WorkingRite, and the breadth of assets they have within themselves
• Nurturing of the resilience skills they will need to achieve their goals
• Celebratory of the skills and successes they achieve
• Enabling of the mentees own authentic voice
• A re-designed mentoring model – to meet the needs of the post-training world our young people will face
• Innovative, in that it will create a replicable model of sustained mentoring that will span the early years of adulthood, and potentially, if appropriate, beyond
• Involving our young people in the design, development and pilot stages through discussions with current and former trainees (initial interviews commenced)

The outcome of the pilot and roll out across the charity will aim to produce a model that could be adapted and/or adopted by other practitioners. We would also aim to create a new expectation on charities who support young people – that time-limited training is not enough, and that truly transformational support needs to be both relational and long-term. This in turn should be driver to influence policy and procurement practices going forward.

For more information about becoming a volunteer mentor, or if you are a young person seeking a mentor, email Nikki or call her on 07759 123114.

The pilot project is funded through the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.