Why Molly became a mentor at her old school

Find out why Molly volunteered to return to her old school and be a mentor on Future Me Mentoring Programme.

I wanted to sign up for the Future Me Mentoring Programme because I thought it would be a good way to give back. I wanted to see where the current students were thinking of going and it ended up challenging me too because I had to look into something I wasn’t aware of. My mentee wanted to look at degrees and apprenticeships and though I definitely have knowledge of apprenticeships I had to do some research into degrees. It also made me critique my own path and reflect on what I’d done.

I see a difference in my mentee from the first to the last session, she is still undecided on what she wants to do but now she’s aware of what she needs to take into consideration when looking at different options. We looked at the cost of university compared to apprenticeships but also the practicality of life at university, asking questions like could she move away from home, would she rather be at home, would she need a part time job to help pay for the course? We made a pros and cons list and looked at comparing the different courses and it’s hopefully given her the tools to be able to make the decision on her own.

When I was at school we never had anything like this mentoring programme, I would have benefited from it massively. I was one of the very few people out of my friendship group who didn’t finish A levels and go on to university. I finished Year 12 and then went on to an apprenticeship and that wasn’t seen as the norm. There was no one there helping me look at apprenticeships and make any decisions which is why I wanted to come back and see if there was anyone like me who needed some support.

I think it’s important that the mentors on the programme are alumni of the school, it helps the students know that someone from here can do it. Dagenham has got one of the highest rates of poverty in the country and I think if they hear from someone who lives in a more affluent area and how they’ve gone on to do well it isn’t relatable for them. Someone who went to this school, who lived down the road to them, who knows the same streets, helps the relatability factor which is so important.

I would definitely recommend being a mentor. Taking away from the fact that you’re helping someone, I think personally it really helps you as well. You’re developing your own skills; perhaps skills that you need when you have someone who you’re line managing at work or if you’re inducting new employees. Of course it’s also great to be helping someone and using your own experiences to give them help, it makes it worth it to know that all my advice has helped someone else succeed.

Sign up here to volunteer at your old school or college.