He knew that he had the potential for a great job, but didn’t know how to get there. His MCR Pathways Coordinator, Sharon, knew just the right person to help. She matched him with Iain, a retired business owner who ran his own consultancy company, who met and mentored Samuel each week.
Before mentoring, he admits he wasn’t the best pupil. Samuel shares that he struggled with, “getting to know people better, working together with others, and communicating.”
He also got into a bit of trouble at school, he admits a little embarrassed, “In first to 4th year I wasn’t that well behaved, I was always in trouble. But I started settling down when I had exams and then in 5th year I met up with Iain. I enjoyed school then, I could get out an hour a week.”
Iain had spent his career mentoring young business professionals. He found out about the programme from a friend, who told him he would be a great fit for the role. Passionate about helping young people find their right career, Iain felt mentoring fit perfectly.
“I really believe that every young person should have the absolute best opportunity that they can. And if they don’t do it when they’re young it can be much more difficult. I wanted to give them the best possible opportunity that they could have,” He said.
Right away the two bonded and they quickly found a good routine. “We talked about what I want to do when I leave school and what my goals are, and what exams and stuff I was going to be doing. And then I got help with that,” Samuel recalls.
After ruling out the army, the two quickly set about trying to find a new direction. “Iain helped me think about what to do and I came up with a few things that I wanted to do, outdoor stuff and admin, and I ended up choosing admin.”
With a path in mind, they next came up with a gameplan. Samuel describes how they would, “Sit with [Iain’s] tablet and show me stuff I had told him about what I would like to do, he showed me what I could apply for and that he could help me with my CV, application and interview.”
Samuel found a Modern Apprenticeship that looked promising and Iain helped him prepare by giving him interview questions to practice. Their hard work paid off and Samuel was chosen for the apprenticeship position working in admin in a school and nursery.
Now, a year after leaving school, Samuel is wrapping up his apprenticeship and looking for a full-time job.
Iain reflects on how Samuel has changed since their first mentor meeting. He says, back then, “you didn’t have a great deal of confidence about what you were going to do, you knew what you wanted but weren’t sure of how to get there.”
“The difference compared to now is obvious,” Iain continues, “Now you’re really standing on your own two feet. That confidence is there and you’ll do a great job of getting that job and that makes me feel good. He did that hard work, not me.
“It absolutely reinforced in me that mentoring works in the right context. If nobody can explain to people what your options are in terms of education or work or apprenticeships or whatever you might go down a blind alley. Mentoring hasn’t been fully adopted into the education system but it will be, I believe it should be, it’s really important in the development of young people.”
Samuel agrees, saying how it was thanks to Iain that he, “actually secured a job. He helped me get the modern apprenticeship and have applied for a full time post and I’m waiting for the interview.”
Become a mentor
Iain and Samuel met for just one hour a week, but the difference it’s made on Samuel’s future is undeniable. Mentors aren’t experts, social workers or teachers – they’re just people who care and want to make a difference in a young person’s life. Can you become a mentor and support a young person like Samuel to find his path?