Future First welcomes government mentoring initiative

News that the government is launching a pilot scheme which will use mentors to help tackle persistent student absence has been welcomed by Future First.

The Department for Education is looking for a contractor to recruit and train mentors in an effort to bring down the high levels of student absences which have failed to drop to pre-pandemic levels.

Future First has long recognised the positive impact of mentors on young people’s education and welcomes the initiative to trial their impact on this entrenched issue.

The charity’s Programme Director, Naomi Barker, said: “Future First has long recognised the powerful impact good mentors can have on young people. We have been trialling different approaches, testing the power of mentoring to support young people at risk of exclusion, and those in danger of becoming NEET, or disengaging from their studies or school life.

“Whilst it is vital to recognise the context in which young people live, and the complex reasons that may be beneath persistent absenteeism, mentoring may well be beneficial for some students, especially where the mentor is a relatable person with similar lived experiences.

“More generally, I believe mentoring has a role to play in supporting students’ confidence, motivation to study and resilience to persist when things are difficult. Our new pilot mentoring scheme, Guided, will build on the success of our Future Me programme which saw us connect more than 430 students across the UK last year for nine weeks of online support. This support ranged from general advice such as working from home during school closures, to help with university and job applications, and saw some positive results.”