5 Discussion Topics for Volunteer Mentors to Include in Their Mentoring Sessions

5 Discussion Topics for Volunteer Mentors to Include in Their Mentoring Sessions

Volunteers What's new?

As a mentor, you want to help build your mentee’s self-confidence and help them to be more positive and goal-orientated, while also making sure that they are well-adjusted to the world around them. But how will you go about doing this during your mentoring sessions?

The easiest way to achieve this is to make sure you pay attention to your discussion points during each mentoring session. Discussion points help you to get to know your mentee better so that you can advise them and help them to come up with the right strategies to reach their goals. Here are five discussion points that will help get you started.

Ask them about their interests and hobbies
A great way to get to know your mentee would be to discuss their interests and hobbies. Finding out what they like to do in their spare time can help you find a common ground to gain their trust. It is also good to start with this to help your mentee to feel more relaxed and open. Everyone has at least one hobby that they love to do, so this will most certainly get them talking. From this, you will be able to expand the discussion.
For example, if reading is their hobby, you can discuss some of the books they’ve read and why they enjoyed some titles more than others. If it is music, you can discuss some of the artists they prefer listening to and why they may be more drawn to those artists. This can help you to understand more about them as a person.
It would also be useful for you to do some research on their hobbies and interests so that you can relate to them and encourage them to tell you more about themselves.

Find out what their favourite subject at school is
Finding out their favourite subject will help you to further identify with your mentee. It will help you to understand what they are good at since most people tend to like a subject that they excel in. From this, you can develop an understanding of the way they think. If they like maths, then you will know that their mind is more analytical and numerical, or if they like art, then you will know that their mind is more creative, and so on.
You can then find use this understanding to delve into other topics such as career goals.

Ask them about their strengths
Beyond their interests and favourite subjects, you can also directly ask them about their strengths. This can include an aspect of their personality that they may be proud of or a soft skill that they may have. For example, your mentee may feel that their strength is their patience or that they can communicate very well. If your mentee shares these personal attributes, it means that they are becoming more comfortable with sharing a more personal side of themselves with you – this is a big step in the mentoring process.
Sometimes they may not be aware of their personal strengths. This will be the perfect opportunity to tell them about a positive trait that you have noticed in them. It is always good to show your mentee the positive qualities that they possess to build up their self-confidence.

Talk about their career goals
One of the main aims of the mentoring programme is to help young people to reach their career aspirations. So it is always a good idea to discuss what your mentee would like to do after school and which career path they want to take.
Usually, they will have an idea of what they would like to do after school. In this case, you can help by shedding more light on the career they have chosen to follow, including providing a detailed explanation of what is required of them and what the actual job entails. This can include practical tips such as what they need to study in school, which university should they go to, should they do an apprenticeship etc.
Sometimes a young person may not know what career path they would like to pursue. In this case, you can help by looking at their interests and their favourite subjects in school. From this, you should be able to come up with a list of careers paths that your mentee might be inclined to. You can then discuss each career path in detail while encouraging them to decide for themselves.

Ask them where they see themselves in 5 or 10 years from now
Discussing their future will encourage them to raise their aspirations and work towards their goals. This can also perfectly tie up everything you may have gone through with the first four discussion points.
If you know their future goals, you can also help to set them up on the right path to achieve them. For example, if your mentee wants to study at Oxbridge, you can assist them by explaining the application process or helping them to write the best personal statement.

These discussion points are a great start to your mentoring sessions. However, every mentee is different and they may have different needs or may want to discuss different topics. You should always keep your mentee’s interests as the priority, while still maintaining control of the direction of your mentoring sessions. This will make your mentoring sessions both impactful and insightful.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

7 Practical Tips For Online Tutoring

7 Practical Tips For Online Tutoring

Volunteers What's new?

In a world dominated by technology, online tutoring has become a convenient and reliable solution for young people seeking a tutoring programme. 

Although mostly similar to the classic method of in-person tutoring, there are a few differences that both the tutor and the student need to adapt to. This will ensure that they are able to reach their academic goals and get the most out of the tutoring programme.

Here are a few tips that tutors can use to make online tutoring work best:

  1. Set up the perfect learning environment
    Since the tutoring will be done online, most of the ‘human feel’ can be lost. However, this can be overcome by creating a more natural and relaxed environment for your student to feel welcome and not feel like they are alone in a room. Doing simple things such as asking the student to get a cup of tea or a glass of water can make them feel more at ease.
    You should also ensure that you have chosen a quiet and private place to do your tutoring so that you are not disturbed or bothered by loud noises. This helps you to remain focused and make the student feel like they are your first priority. Any distractions can cause your student to be unfocused, so you can also ask your student to put away their mobile phone so they are not tempted to check their messages or play games. Remember, young people will follow your lead so you should remove all distractions from your side as well.
  1. Be well organised
    To make sure that your time is used efficiently, ensure that you have structured the lesson well by making a lesson plan that is well organised. You should focus on reaching specific goals, while also allowing sufficient time for interaction and for the lesson to digress a little as you want it to feel more relaxed and not too rigid. However, if you find that the lesson is digressing too much, gently steer the conversation back to the problem at hand. You should also ensure that you have additional material in case you have a fast learner or if tutoring went by swiftly.
    On the technical side, ensure that your laptop or computer is fully charged and that there is no lag or delay with your internet connection. No one wants to be tutored if they have to keep waiting for the screen to stop buffering. If there is a technical glitch, ensure you have already established a back plan so that you and your student are aware of what to do should you be disconnected.
  1. Be easygoing and open while still maintaining professionalism
    The best way for a student to feel relaxed and at ease is to be open and easygoing, while still maintaining a level of professionalism. Finding the right balance can be hard, but with time, you’ll find it easier. You can use ice-breakers to make things lighter. You can also mix in a bit about your personal life in the conversation, but you don’t need to reveal too much about it. For example, it is fine to share some of your hobbies but it is not appropriate for you to share your dating plans. You should also keep conversations age-appropriate and avoid letting your personal problems from affecting your lesson as young people can sense when you are not in the right space of mind.
  1. Encourage discussion and interaction
    Always ensure that you set aside sufficient time for discussion and feedback. You can even allow for a few minutes of downtime by doing something that can allow them to refocus. It can be difficult to monitor their engagement during online tutoring so ensure that you make use of props, charts, or objects to help keep the student engaged. You can also find something that will allow you to connect with your student, such as music or making reference to movies or to a hobby that they may be interested in.
    You should also set realistic expectations, as each child has unique learning capabilities and will learn at their own pace. Do not rush through each lesson but rather be patient and remain focused. It will also be useful to develop an understanding of the kind of student you are tutoring. Some can be very direct and will give you a lot of feedback, while others can be more reserved and prefer that you do most of the talking.
  1. Set objectives and specific targets
    When planning your lesson, you should also set objectives and targets that you can use to measure your progress. Try to be slightly ahead of your targets so that if you fall behind a little, you will be able to easily catch up on your lessons. You should also ensure that you do not rush through your curriculum and that you adjust your lesson plan depending on the speed at which your student is learning. This means that your lesson plan has to be tailored to suit each student to ensure that you cover all sections of the subject that you are tutoring. You do not want to be rushing the last section if you did not plan correctly.
  1.  Prepare tests and quizzes
    The best way to measure your student’s progress and ensure if they have understood your tutoring is to set tests, quizzes, and assignments. Setting tests can help train the student to utilise their time well for their real exams. It can also help to specifically see where your student is excelling or falling behind. Tests can be scheduled ones so that your student can prepare for your test but it is also beneficial to set a spot test or two to ensure that your student is able to understand the work rather than just memorise it. Assignments help to allow the child to work independently and figure the work out on their own.
    Don’t set too long assignments or tests as this can deter them from doing the work since they already have homework from school. If they do fail the test, do not get upset or angry. Rather be supportive and encouraging as students thrive better in a positive environment. Use words like, “Let’s see where WE went wrong” or “Let’s see how WE can find another way to arrive at the correct answer.” Always be optimistic.
  1. Know your student and make tutoring fun
    Part of making online tutoring a success is to make sure you fully understand your student and what their needs are and how much can they retain before they become disengaged or uninterested. It is also important to keep tutoring fun so that the student is excited to learn and does not feel anxious or stressed for the tutoring session. Everyone retains much more when they are having a good time, so make sure to keep sessions exciting.

With these tips, you should be able to make your online tutoring sessions productive, impactful and useful so that your student can reach their academic goals.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

How you can make a difference as an Events Team Volunteer and help us at our events, workshops and courses!

How you can make a difference as an Events Team Volunteer and help us at our events, workshops and courses!

Volunteer roles Volunteers

About GT Scholars
The GT Scholar’s programme is a social enterprise that consists of two programmes: The Academic Programme which offers online one-to-one tutoring and the Awards Programme that focuses on mentoring.

As part of both programmes, we also offer free access to our enrichment and skill building events that are hosted throughout London.  These events are designed for young people aged 11-18 years of age and include activities such as STEM activity days, study skill workshops and career days and trips to the city. We also run parent workshops and community engagement events to ensure that parents are aware of the academic and career opportunities available to their children.

What makes us different?
There are a range of charitable organisations and social enterprises offering programmes to improve the life chances of young people. However, The GT Scholars programme has the capacity to work with all state school pupils, not just those on Free School Meals. This means that pupil parents do not have to be on benefits and pupils do not need to be referred by their school in order to qualify for support.

What does volunteering at an event involve?
Volunteers who are interested in getting involved and supporting us at our events can help assist with various tasks and responsibilities.

  • You will need to arrive on time. If an event starts at 10:00am you will need to be there by 9:30am to meet the team and gain an overview of the event with the event coordinator.
  • You will help with setting up and clearing up at events.
  • You will assist to coordinate a smooth arrival and registration as well as departure for attendees and other guests. This can also include maintaining the register and managing any late attendees.
  • Assist with the coordination of lunch or refreshments for attendees.
  • Support workshop facilitators with managing groups of young people or parents.
  • Help with the distribution of stationary and workshop material.
  • Assist the event coordinator with ensuring the health and safety of attendees and overall risk management at events.
  • Give feedback to the event coordinators and programme managers at the end of each event.

When and where do our events take place?
Our events take place throughout various parts of London. Our events mostly take place on Saturdays from 10am to 4pm and we often have some events on weekday evenings, like our volunteer meetups, which takes place from 6pm to 9pm.

How much time do Event Team Volunteers commit to?
This is a flexible volunteering role. You will be volunteering as part of the Events Team and you’ll need to be available for approximately 6 events per year. All of our events take place on the weekend or weekday evenings and range from 2 to 8 hours in length.

To get started you’ll need to:
Be passionate and committed to tackling educational inequality

  • Be able to support at events as part of a diverse Events Team
  • Enjoy working with children and young people
  • Be able to remain calm under pressure
  • Be punctual and organised
  • Possess strong communication skills
  • Have excellent time management skills
  • Be able to work well as part of a team

Other important information for this role:
Please note that this is a volunteering role where you will be interacting with young people, therefore the following information must be noted:

  • Enhanced DBS check –  Before you can join the Events Team you will need to have a valid Enhanced DBS check that is dated within the last three years. If you do not have one we can process one for you. Please contact our office for further information on this.
  • Pictures – Please refrain from taking any pictures on the day, especially of the young people this forms part of our data and security policy. The volunteer photographer/videographer at the event will be responsible for capturing the day.
  • GDPR – To ensure we comply with the latest GDPR rules all data must be treated as confidential and must be returned to the events coordinator at the end of the event. Especially documents such as the attendance register.
  • Training – You will be provided with support and training for your role and will be briefed with any additional information on the day of the event.
  • Travel expenses -Any travel expenses within London will be reimbursed up to the amount of £12 for any session.

How to apply: Please attach your CV and a short cover letter through our contact form.

Meet one of our Volunteer Mentors – Sophie Germain

Meet one of our Volunteer Mentors – Sophie Germain

Private tuition Private tutors Volunteers What's new?

Who are the volunteer mentors of GT Scholars? Every once in a while we conduct an interview with one of our amazing volunteers so we can introduce them to you and share the good work they have been doing. Our volunteers form a crucial part of GT Scholars and their charitable deeds never goes unnoticed. We spoke to the lovely Sophie Germain to find out her views on social mobility and what she enjoys most about volunteering with GT Scholars.

Could you tell us about what led you to volunteering as a mentor with GT Scholars??
I try to explore a different area each year and I felt that volunteering with teenagers is one of the demographics I have not worked with before. I wanted to do something that was accessible to a lot of people and that was not limited to only a certain area you live in, the school you go to etc.

What are some of your opinions about social mobility?
In London, a perceived good area and a not so good area can be found in a commutable distance from one another. There are a lot of things to see and do and a lot is available for free. Perhaps in smaller towns, this mix is harder to find. Also once you’ve passed the stage of institutional education and you’ve started your career you are less likely to be type-casted based on where you went to school and it’s more about your experience. I went to a state school and some of my friends were in private schools but both groups have ended up in equivalent positions. Sometimes if you have a plan and you are dedicated to it, it is easier to achieve a particular goal if you have access to the correct information and the right people around you. However, there are certain historical and cultural issues that are still at play today that puts up barriers for some people. For example, an issue like the gender pay gap review due to male dominated boardrooms and industries. Balancing this will take a long time and to do it in a way that is fairer.

How did you come to this conclusion?
London has quite a high diversity level and when I was growing up it was common for children to socialise with other children who have a very different background to their own. In regards to gender, changes in attitude need to come from men and women. Including better grounds for the way children are raised and not pigeonholing them based on aspects such as gender. It also requires being open-minded in recruiting positions to not focus on gender, race, economic background, social circles etc.

What would you tell someone who is considering volunteering with GT Scholars?
It is a well-operated volunteer programme so I would recommend people to get involved. You get the chance to share new ideas and methods of learning with a young person who can benefit from it. It is nice to hear the dreams of a young person and help them to access the tools that they need to achieve them.

What do you enjoy the most about being a volunteer at GT Scholars? Well, it is early days for me because I have only done two terms so far. I would like to get more involved in the open days. But I would say that I enjoyed giving my mentees a positive outlook on what can be achieved. For some people, teenage years can be quite difficult to go through. I tell my mentees about the different perspective of other people and prepare them to have the skills to deal with other people’s opinions and encourage them to be focused.

What is your message or advice to young people of today?

I would suggest that they try as many new things as they can whilst they are young. This helps to build up experience, meet different people and get familiar with what they like and dislike. I would also advise not to become overburdened with things and take the time to learn what brings them inner peace, as I think it is an important part of getting to know oneself. Don’t be overly judgemental and learn how to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle.

As a Kingston University graduate, I can apply the skills that I’ve learned and I can also share the passion of what the core company is. I study philosophy in my spare time and enjoy staying fit.

Sophie enjoys her professional career as it falls in her line of interest and previous studies. She works for AEG Europe as an analyst in the live sports and music industry. Her company offers a Giving Back Day to employees for volunteering.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

Meet one of our volunteer English tutors – Roberta Wiafe

Meet one of our volunteer English tutors – Roberta Wiafe

Private tutors Volunteer interviews Volunteers Young people

Every now and then we interview one of our remarkable GT Scholars volunteers to find out who the person behind the volunteer is. Without our dedicated volunteers, our mission would not have been able to make the impact that it has.  We had a chat with one of our tutors about volunteering, who she is and her message to young people of today is. Here is what she had to say:

  1. How did you first get involved in volunteering with GT Scholars?
    I first learned of GT Scholars on the Team London website when I was looking for an opportunity to offer my time volunteering. Since I really enjoyed English as a subject at school and liked plays I thought that being a Volunteer Online Tutor would be the best fit for me. Upon visiting the GT Scholars website and reading more about their cause, I decided that I really wanted to be part of their mission.
  2. Why are you supporting GT Scholars as opposed to other groups working to improve social mobility?
    The reason why I like being part of the GT Scholars volunteer team is that I enjoy being able to work with a wide demographic range of students in terms of their abilities and backgrounds.
  3. What might surprise your friends/family other volunteers to know about you?
    I think most my friends and family would be surprised if they knew that I am a theatre critic in my spare time.
  4. How has volunteering changed you as a person and what have you learned from your time volunteering?
    I think during my time volunteering I have learned how to utilise different methods of explaining concepts to people. When approaching a new topic it’s often the case that I and my student have to go over subject matter a number of times to reinforce the ideas. To ensure that the ideas really stay with him and that he understands the concepts from a range of difficult angles, I have to really think about different ways of presenting the information. This has helped me to think more innovatively and to really listen to my student so that I can tailor my approach in a way that’s most helpful to him. And these are both skills that I can apply to my everyday life.
  5. Is there anyone in particular you could tell me about who has influenced your decision to start volunteering in general?
    When I was a student, about 16 years old,  I was involved with the Social Mobility Foundation. At the time they ran a program which made it possible for me to be matched with a mentor and I also received an opportunity to take up an internship at parliament.  Because I’ve had the privilege of support and guidance as a young person, I feel that I want to ‘’pay it forward’’ and give that same opportunity back to someone else.

Roberta is truly inspiring and serves for interesting conversation. When asked what her message to young people of today is, she said: ‘’ Work hard and do your best. If you do those things you will get where you want to be. Take time to celebrate, when you achieve something, celebrate your success. Lastly always be proud of yourself and enjoy the journey.’’ That is definitely words of wisdom to live by! Roberta holds an MSc in International Public Policy from the University College London and a BA Hons degree in History and Politics from the University of Sussex.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Janet Cheney

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Janet Cheney

Private tuition Private tutors Volunteer interviews Volunteers What's new?

Our volunteers are truly exceptional people that are passionate about making a difference in education and doing their part in improving social mobility. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors, Janet Cheney.

  1. Why did you decide to volunteer your time with GT Scholars?
    I have been tutoring for about 5 years and I am currently in the process of partly relocating from London to South Devon. This will restrict my regular 1-to-1 tutoring sessions in London. I was pleased when I discovered the online volunteer tutoring opportunity at GT Scholars. Tutoring has become very expensive and I loved the idea of combining my love for teaching maths and physics and helping students from low-income backgrounds.
  2. Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
    I completed my BSc (First Class Hons) in Mathematics and Astrophysics and also did my PhD in Astronomy at Queen Mary College, University of London.

    I spent most of my professional career operating at senior level. I have 15 years experience working in key management roles.  In particular, I was IT project manager for BT’s London Code Change Project which involved changing all the telephone numbers in London due to a shortage of codes.

    After 15 Years working on a senior management level, I decided upon an early retirement to spend more time with my family. This was when I began to volunteer my time tutoring within various non-profit organisations.
  3. How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
    When I was growing up there was not a lot of role models for women. My family was very supportive and I was privileged enough to have had role models within my family. My school was also very supportive.  I was the first in my family to have gone to university.  I’ve always appreciated that I was able to have done so as I was not oblivious to the fact that not all young people were as privileged as I was. I think my dream to study astronomy has motivated me in working hard at maths and physics as I knew knowledge of these subjects were necessary to reach my goal. I am glad I can share my knowledge and help other young people with similar dreams.
  4. Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
    I believe it is the individual attention a young person receives when he has a tutor. Mathematics is an important subject because it can open a lot of opportunities. Often teachers can’t reach all the students’ needs at an individual level as not all the students need help in the same areas. I think a tutor fills that gap. Tutoring can also be a great help for exam preparations and spending that extra quality time with the student on subject areas that they have difficulty with.  I also think that a tutor can be useful when it comes to discussing time management when taking an exam. Especially in mathematics, there are often ways to find faster methods to solve problems.
  5. What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?
    I think the most fulfilling part of the volunteering process is to bear witness to the improvement of a young person who really struggled with a  subject. As the tutor, you knew first hand where the difficult areas were and how much the student has improved.

Janet is a good listener with great subject knowledge. She believes that this is what helps her to be a better tutor: ‘If you have a good understanding of who your student is, you will have a better idea of how to approach tutoring that student.’ Janet spends her spare time studying butterflies using catch and release methods as she has a true passion for science and nature.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us

Meet one of our Volunteer tutors – Arunita

Meet one of our Volunteer tutors – Arunita

Private tutors Volunteer interviews Volunteer roles Volunteers What's new?

Our volunteers are amazing people that are passionate about making a difference in education. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors, Arunita Roy

    1. Why did you decide to volunteer your time with GT Scholars?
      I really enjoy helping people and working with students. I worked in university with different students, helping student services as a student financial consultant and also founding an entrepreneurship student society. I like to interact and engage with students from different backgrounds, and I also love teaching and being a role model to young people. I wanted to continue this and widen participation, so when I met Temi, the founder of GT Scholars, and heard more about the programme, it really interested me and I decided to get involved. 
    2. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what got you to where you are today?
      I am currently studying at King’s College London, finishing my final year in Computer Science with Management. I am interested in science, technology and languages, and I enjoy learning new things. I am a motivated person and I like to be involved and take part in many different things. I like to find new things to do and gain new experiences in different opportunities or programmes. Even in high school, I was always eager to get involved with student life such as being a student representative and making sure that my voice and my fellow students’ voices were heard. Now I enjoy helping students with their university journey and beyond, and I am interested in working with companies and programmes to help make more opportunities for students to improve their experience and academics, especially in science and entrepreneurship.

      I am not really motivated by one person or role model, but rather, I am inspired by the hard work that people put in. When I see someone, such as a student struggling with a particular topic, pushing themselves to reach their maximum potential, it really drives me to do more to reach my maximum potential. I also believe that having a good academic background helps you to have a more positive outlook on life, which is great motivation to do better and study further.
    3. How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
      I did not have the same amount of access to resources and opportunities that students have today. I did have a few really pivotal teachers and lecturers that helped me to excel. I am also inspired by my parents who are both university-educated, and they really motivate, inspire and guide me.
      Even though students of today are a lot luckier than I was with regards to access to and the number of available resources, I do think they have other things to contend with such as intense competition and many distractions that can be impediments to success. This is why support is still very important to motivate them to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them and to encourage them when they struggle.

 

  • What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?
    I really love volunteering. The mere fact that I can help students makes me happy. I also enjoy seeing their progress over time and watching how their confidence grows in topics or subjects from when we first started with the sessions. I am proud when they do really well and their grades improve, and happy when they are enjoying and become interested in what I teach. I have also gained interesting new perspectives on topics from working with them.

 

 

  • What do you think is the most important skill to have to be a volunteer tutor?
    Patience is very important, but also being able to understand the topic from the student’s point of view is an important skill to have. You can’t look at the topic with your in-depth knowledge as the only perspective. I present the topic from the student’s perspective by relating topics to real life examples or explain it to them in a way that makes sense to them.

 

Arunita Roy is a hardworking and creative individual who is enthusiastic and motivated with a keen interest in learning new skills. She has strong technical skills with a passion for business. She is involved in many volunteering opportunities, and helping young people is one of her main focuses. She also enjoys being involved in many extracurricular activities and was the winner of the King’s College London Business Club Apprentice Challenge where she and her team were able to show initiative in providing solutions to real industrial business challenges.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

Meet one of our volunteer mentors – Jason

Meet one of our volunteer mentors – Jason

Volunteer interviews Volunteer roles Volunteers What's new? Young people

Our volunteers are amazing people that are passionate about making a difference in education. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer mentors, Jason Luu.

Why did you decide to volunteer with GT Scholars?
I decided to volunteer with GT Scholars to make a difference in my local community. Having already done some work to help other communities in different countries, I came to the realisation that I should also be contributing to my local community. I also recognised that providing support to people when they are still young can make a significant difference, as this is something that I was not fortunate enough to have when I was younger. If I had the opportunity to be mentored when I was a teenager, I can only imagine how much more I could have achieved by now or how many disasters I could have avoided.

Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
I was born in London, my parents were refugees from another country. This had a huge impact on me and my upbringing. When I was younger, I was embarrassed by my heritage because it was so foreign to western culture. But as I got older and matured, I embraced my background and decided to stand up and stand out rather than follow the crowd. I more took control of my life and did not live according to other people’s expectations. This has become a big factor in getting me to where I am today. It turns out that my own expectations for myself were wildly beyond other people’s expectations of me.

I also have role models who I can look up to and inspire me. Some of them are alive today and some are historical figures. Having these role models allow me to draw energy, ideas and behaviours from. If anyone reading this doesn’t have a role model, then you better start looking.

Why do you think mentoring is valuable to young people?
Traditionally, mentoring is something that has been reserved for older, professional and sometimes even wealthy people. Many of the most powerful leaders in our society have or had mentors. So why can’t the rest of us have access to this resource?

Many young people today from my local community have parents who are very busy working or studying, and their friends are usually in the same boat as them. Thus, having a mentor who has the right experience would really help with some of the things that they struggle with, and would help to develop smarter behaviours and habits. This additional guidance and development can really help a young person to be successful in all that they do. I really believe that if I had a mentor when I was younger, I would not have had to experience so many difficulties in my life. I would have been able to get where I am today sooner or even be more successful sooner. It is the aim of all good mentors is to guide their mentee to reach their full potential.

What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?
Seeing students and their parents working together, and it provides extra support to traditional parenting.

What do you think is the most important skill to have as a volunteer mentor?
I think showing a genuine interest in someone else’s future and actually caring about their happiness is an important skill. It is not just about making sure that they are successful, but also about helping to define what true happiness means to them and their family.

Jason briefly attended university before deciding to drop out and start his professional life earlier. He now works in the headquarters of the Department of Health, holding CEOs, directors and major leaders in healthcare and education accountable to the taxpayer as a Senior Contract Manager. He has spent the last 3 years dedicated to promoting equality and fighting social injustice at his place of work and at home in his local community.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us. 

12 Ways You Can Volunteer with GT Scholars

12 Ways You Can Volunteer with GT Scholars

Social mobility Volunteer roles Volunteers What's new? Young people

As you may already know, GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise that aims to improve social mobility for young people from low-income households.

We run a range of courses, workshops and programmes with support from our staff and volunteers who are dedicated to helping our scholars achieve their full academic and career potential.

If you are passionate about tackling education inequality and you would like to make a difference to the lives of young people, then here are some ways you can support GT Scholars.

1. Volunteer as a Tutor: Would like to help a young person reach their full potential? Could you provide academic support to a student in Maths, Science or English up to GCSE? If so, volunteer tutoring may be perfect for you. We are always looking for more volunteer tutors so that we can reach more young people across London. Send us your CV and a short cover letter if this is something you’d be interested in. You can get in touch by clicking here

2. Volunteer as a Mentor: Our scholars are eager to meet graduates and professionals that can support them in achieving their ambitions. Mentors are mainly responsible for providing support and career advice to young people. If you enjoy working with young people and are passionate about helping a young person achieve their goals then mentoring may be perfect for you. Send us your CV and a short cover letter or get in touch with us here

3. Volunteer AmbassadorCould you help with the growth and development of GT Scholars by providing advice and practical support to the founder? We’re looking for professionals and graduates that have experience in business development and strategy, consulting, fundraising, social investment, marketing, recruitment or public relations as well as a passion tackling educational inequality then get in touch with us here

4. Tell a friend about us! If you have a friend that could potentially be interested in volunteering with GT Scholars, then why not let them know! You can forward them a copy of our weekly volunteer newsletter so they can have a better idea of what we do. You can also invite them to come to one of our volunteer socials in London where we share more about our story and how they can support. To book a ticket for you and a friend to come to our next volunteer socials, click here.

5. Connect with us on social media: If you are already one of our fantastic volunteers then add your new role to your Linkedin profile and don’t forget to like us on all your other social media platforms (facebook, twitter, google+). You can also like and re-tweet our facebook and twitter posts as this will help us reach more volunteers just like you!

6. Help with videography and photography– We’re always looking for professional photographers and videographers that can take high-quality photos and videos at our enrichment and workshop events in London. If you are a talented videographer or photographer and would like volunteer your time to help us capture our events and workshops, then get in touch with us here

7. Be a guest speaker at our event– We host a variety of exciting enrichment days, workshops for young people throughout the year and we are looking for graduates and professionals who would like to share their journeys and experiences with our scholars and inspire them to achieve their own ambitions. To find out more on how your story and experiences to inspire young people, please contact us here

8. Volunteer at one of our workshops or events: Throughout the year, we run inspiring and interactive workshops for young people and once a term on a weekday evening we host a parent and pupil information session at schools across London. If you are available to volunteer for 3-4 hours in the evening or available to volunteer for the whole day on Saturday, this could make a huge difference to our scholars. As a co-host or volunteer helper on the day, your main role will be to assist at these events and ensure that our workshops and information sessions run smoothly. To find out more, get in touch with us here

9. Write for our blog: Could you write a short blog that could be of benefit to our scholars or their parents? We are always excited to work with volunteers who can bring a fresh perspective to a range of educational issues to support our scholars with their challenges and their aspirations. You could write about your experience growing up, the support you received, the reason why you volunteer with GT Scholars, some important advice for young people or even a new initiative that you’re running for young people or their parents. Find out more about guest blogging here

10. Be in the spotlight: Every few weeks, we conduct a short interview with one of our volunteers to find out more about their experience volunteering with us. We know that many of our volunteers don’t like being in the spotlight but it’s usually a very short piece (we promise!). It’s a brilliant way for us to tell other people about your role and attract more volunteers just like you. Find out more about our volunteer spotlights by clicking here

11. Host a workshop: We host a variety of workshops throughout the year aimed at supporting and inspiring young people. If you have a flair for delivering and leading short, interactive and inspiring workshops for young people then why not run or co-design a workshop with us. We would love to hear your ideas! Get in touch with us here.

12. Invite us to your speaking engagement: If you run events for undergraduates, graduates or professionals, we’d love for you to consider inviting us to speak at your event. We have a dynamic and inspiring team and a network of scholars that would love to share their experiences and raise awareness of educational inequality in the UK. Get in touch with us to discuss ways in which we can be partners here

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Alex

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Alex

Our Impact Volunteer interviews Volunteer roles Volunteers What's new?

Every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of our amazing volunteers to find out more about them, why they decided to volunteer with GT Scholars and how their experience has been so far with us. Here’s a recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors – Alex.

Why did you decide to volunteer some time tutoring with GT Scholars?

I was looking for a chance to gain experience in teaching. The GT Scholars Programme offers a great opportunity to do so while also volunteering in the education sector. GT Scholars provide online sessions and lots of supporting material for tutors and tutees. It has been a great experience for me so far.

How important was it for you to gain support when you were younger?

Support has contributed a lot to my self-growth and development. It has given me the necessary tools to move forward and understand what it takes to succeed academically. Tutors, teachers, and professors all played a vital role in my studies, teaching me how to organise my schedule and efficiently manage my time.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?

Guidance and support are essential ingredients in order, for a young individual to flourish and become the best she/he can be. Tutoring can equip students with knowledge and enhance their self-confidence. Furthermore, tutoring provides structure by forming a functional schedule for children to follow and to maximise their potential.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?

I’ve gained teaching experience which is a big plus for my job search in the education industry. I met new people and exchanged ideas on how to become a better tutor, along with other interesting teaching concepts.

What do you think the most important skill is to be a volunteer tutor?

You need to be patient and approach tutoring from the student’s perspective. Figure out how to tackle difficult concepts but also be in the position to justify even the easiest terms so that the student can follow.

What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?

Watching a young mind maturing is the most fulfilling part of my volunteering experience with GT Scholars.

Alex is a postgraduate student working towards his MSc in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at University College London. He is currently a volunteer Maths tutor with GT Scholars.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us via the website.