In the Know: Building Self-Confidence!

In the Know: Building Self-Confidence!

In The Know Parents What's new?

We hope you’ve had a great week and are getting into the swing of things this term! In today’s newsletter, we’ll be looking at tips and strategies that you can use to help your child build their confidence! We’ve all heard the phrase, “Confidence is Key”, and as young people prepare for the real world, having confidence will help them to achieve their goals and set them up for success. If this sounds like something you’ve been looking for, read on to find out more. 

Enjoy Deloitte’s online sessions!
In preparing your teen to face the real world, Deloitte has put together a series of online sessions that your child can watch at any time. These sessions are aimed at improving their confidence, by building positive habits and thought patterns! This will make them feel calmer in high-pressure situations and will put them in a more focused state of mind. These sessions are free for young people of all ages to join, and you can stream them here

Participate in a drama workshop!
City Bridge is hosting free, online drama workshops for young people of all ages. During these workshops, your child will learn scriptwriting, improv, film, comedy, monologues, Shakespeare, and more! Drama helps build confidence, concentration, memory, and imagination and develops language and communication skills. Your child will also get an E-certificate for each major topic! These sessions start on Sunday 23rd January, and you can sign up here.

Gain some helpful tips with these podcasts!
Raising confident teens has a host of podcasts for both young people and parents to enjoy! They cover topics relevant to teens and parents like goal-setting, time management and fitness, as well as more sensitive topics like coping with depression. These podcasts aim to give you and your child insight into dealing with everyday situations and will also provide some helpful tips on how to build self-confidence. You can access these podcasts by clicking here!

 

In the Know: Setting Goals for 2022!

In the Know: Setting Goals for 2022!

In The Know Parents What's new?

With the new year in full swing, we thought it would be great to share opportunities that’ll help your child set the pace for the year. We understand that goal setting for teens can be daunting, as young people have great ideas and dreams, but don’t yet have the experience of breaking down and organising a goal into steps. This week’s newsletter focuses on just that – helping your child to set and achieve their goals!

Review 2021 and set out 2022!
Positive Future Group is hosting a free online workshop for young people of all ages, to help them set achievable and exciting goals for 2022. In this workshop, your child will also get the opportunity to review their achievements for 2021. Before the session, your child needs to come up with 3 things they’d love to do this year and 2 things they learned about themselves last year! This exciting workshop takes place on Saturday 29th January, and you can book here

Enjoy a podcast and help pave the road for 2022!
Unstoppable Teen has a 20-minute podcast that you and your child can enjoy on your way to school! During this podcast, Kevin Mencher, teen success coach, will take your child through strategies that they can use to make 2022 their best year ever. Kevin shares steps 1 to 4 of The Ultimate Youth Lifestyle Strategy that he speaks about in his new book. He also offers a parent webinar that you can enjoy. If you’d like to listen to the podcast, click here!

Download an app to help you get a headstart this year!
Teen SMART Goals is an app for young people to manage the important goals in their lives. This simple and easy-to-use app, guides young people to define their goals, breaking them down into manageable activities, and focusing their efforts on deadlines and the end result. This app will help your child develop a growth mindset and avoid burnout. Parents sign up first, then connect their child’s account to activate the app. If you’d like to download this app, click here!

In the Know: Unlock 2022 with new skills!

In the Know: Unlock 2022 with new skills!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Happy New Year! We hope you’ve had a great start to 2022. This week we’re sharing three exciting opportunities that’ll give your child the headstart they need to unlock their potential and get geared for the year ahead. These events include live interaction sessions, coding workshops, and an opportunity to create a vision board for 2022. If this sounds exciting, read on to find out more!

Join Deloitte’s Live Interactive Sessions!
If your child is interested in working at Deloitte, then why not get them to join this free, live interactive session? This event is open to young people of all ages and will introduce them to key skills that’ll take them further in the world of work. They’ll be learning about topics like refining their interview skills, working on their personal brand, and more. The sessions take place from Thursday 20th January, and you can register here

Learn to code your own Superhero!
Microsoft is hosting a free, online workshop for young people aged 8 and up who are interested in coding. This event will teach them to use block coding to create a game with MakeCode Arcade. Your child will learn fundamental game and coding concepts like sprites, variables, and coordinates. They’ll also get to use their new skills to create a superhero. The workshop takes place on Monday 10th January, and you can book here.

Create your own vision board for 2022!
You and your family can enjoy a day together, creating your own vision board for 2022. This free workshop, hosted by Hemraj Goyal Foundation, will take you through the process of looking at your hopes, dreams and desires.  This event will also teach you how to align them to create the life you and your family really want through setting clear and actionable goals. It takes place on Sunday 16th January, and you can book here.

Understanding The Different Careers In Technology

Understanding The Different Careers In Technology

Careers What's new?

There are many benefits to pursuing one of the many careers in technology. Apart from being in demand, a career in technology can offer flexibility and the possibility to explore multiple domains. Careers in technology are also not just for those who know how to code. There are great options even for those who have more vital soft skills. 

Careers in technology also offer the opportunity to find remote work and there is great earning potential. So, how can you decide which one is right for you? I’ve written this blog as a guide to help you understand all the different career options in technology.

What Are the Career Pathways in Technology?

I’ve mainly divided the careers in technology into four subcategories: 

  • Software Engineering
  • Data
  • Network and Security
  • Management

Each of them has many different roles. As the technological field is always evolving, more positions are becoming available every year. 

Careers in Software Engineering

So, what exactly is software engineering? According to IBM Research, software engineering is: “A set of computer science activities dedicated to the process of creating, designing, deploying and supporting software.

Software engineering is a sub-field of computer science. It involves using computer programming, software engineering principles, concepts and best practices to create and maintain software. 

Software engineering involves:

  1. Gathering the requirements
  2. Deciding the architecture of the software
  3. Creating a design
  4. Writing the code
  5. Testing the code
  6. Releasing the code to customers

As you may have noticed, software engineering is a multi-disciplinary field. It involves many types of roles to create one piece of software. These roles are:

  • Front-end Engineer
  • Back-end Engineer
  • Full-stack Engineer
  • DevOps Engineer
  • Software Engineer in Test (also known as Quality Assurance Engineer)
  • UX Designer

Let’s take a detailed look at each one.

1. Front-End Engineer

A front-end engineer is an engineer who is responsible for building the User Interface of a website or web application. They deal with the part of the application that a regular user interacts with. They care about making the application accessible, beautifully styled, and functional. 

The common technologies that a front-end engineer needs to know are:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

A front-end engineer also needs excellent communication skills because they often interact and collaborate with non-technical staff. Emotional intelligence skills are also fantastic because a front-end engineer needs to put himself in the user’s shoes.

The average base salary in the UK for a front-end engineer is £50,938 per year.

2. Back-End Engineer

A back-end engineer is an engineer who is responsible for building the structure of the application. They design and integrate APIs, maintain the data storage, and write the business logic. Back-end engineers care about the optimisation and quality of servers. 

The standard technologies that a back-end engineer needs to know are:

  • A server-side programming language: Java, Python, C#, JavaScript, PHP
  • Knowledge of databases: MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, Mongo DB
  • Knowledge of networking: HTTP, REST, etc
  • Knowledge of Version Control: Git, BitBucket, etc

A back-end engineer also needs to have excellent communication skills. After all, they will often communicate with front-end engineers and UX designers because they will be the ones using the APIs created by back-end engineers. 

The average base salary in the UK for a back-end engineer is £57,163 per year.

3. Full-Stack Engineer

A full-stack engineer is a combination between front-end and back-end engineering. They are capable of working on both the front-end and back-end stack of an application. They understand how the two stacks work, especially the interaction and communication between the two. 

The average base salary of a full-stack engineer is £52,025 per year.

4. DevOps Engineer

Another great career in technology is to become a DevOps Engineer. According to TargetJobs, “DevOps engineers build, test and maintain the infrastructure and tools to allow for the speedy development and release of software.”

To be more precise, DevOps engineering is more of a methodology that serves as a bridge between software development and IT operations. DevOps engineering helps companies release products quicker and more efficiently.

The standard technologies that a DevOps engineer needs to know are:

  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD): such as Jenkins.
  • Source Control: such as Git, BitBucket.
  • Computer programming: Java, Python, etc.
  • Cloud Computing: such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud.
  • Containers: such as Docker, Kubernetes.
  • Testing: such as Selenium.

A DevOps engineer needs to be someone who cares about delivering high-quality products to customers.

The average base salary for a DevOps engineer in the UK is £65,821 per year.

5. Software Engineer in Test

A Software Engineer in Test is someone responsible for assuring software quality. They check all the stages of the development process to ensure that software follows the standard set by the company. They guarantee that the products that users will use perform as expected. 

The standard technologies that a software engineer in test needs to know are:

  • Automation tools: Selenium, TestNG.
  • Programming languages: both a front-end and a back-end language. 
  • Source Control: such as Git, BitBucket.
  • Continuous Integration tools: such as Jenkins, SonarQube, etc.
  • Software Testing Tools: such as Selenium.
  • Database and SQL.

A Software Engineer in Test needs to be someone who can communicate well (both written and verbal, as he will need to write documentation). Analytical skills, they need to be able to break down complex software to create suitable test cases. Being organised and knowing how to use time effectively are also significant assets.

The average base salary for a Software Engineer in Test in the UK is £44,403 per year.

6. UX Designer

UX stands for “User Experience”. A UX Designer is someone responsible for creating products that are user-friendly, accessible and a pleasure to use. They care about the user journey and ensure that the product used by the customers leaves them with a good experience.

Some skills that a UX Designer needs to have are:

  • Research skills: understanding what’s essential for the user and how the user perceives the world.
  • Visual Communication: the ability to understand images, layouts, colours, etc.
  • Information architecture: the ability to know how to organise information so that it becomes easy and “sensable” to follow.

A UX Designer needs to be empathetic because they’ll have to put themselves in the shoes of those customers who will use the products. On top of this, knowing how to communicate is a must, as they’ll need to be able to express their ideas to other members of the team.

The average base salary for a UX Designer in the UK is £45,033 per year.

Careers in Data

Data can be simply explained as a piece of information processed by a computer. Nowadays, data is almost becoming a new currency because it allows businesses to understand more about their customers. 

Data is a fast-growing field, and many of the roles available are not yet clearly defined. However, I have gathered at least three main branches that are worth mentioning, and these are:

  • Data Science
  • Data Engineering
  • Data Analysis.

1. Data Scientist

A data scientist is responsible for processing and analysing data into valuable and actionable information to improve a business. They allow us to make more informed decisions. Data science involves different sub-disciplines, such as statistics and software engineering.

Some technical skills that a data scientist needs to know are:

  • Programming: Python, SQL, and R.
  • Statistics and probability.
  • Data management and data visualisation.

Data scientists also need excellent communication skills because they must communicate their findings to those in charge of decisions. Being a good team player and critical thinker can help massively. 

The average base salary of a data scientist is £49,309 per year.

2. Data Engineer

A data engineer is responsible for converting raw data into valuable information for data scientists and business analysts. They create products that will be part of a system or an internal business process.

Some common technical skills for a data engineer are:

  • Programming languages: SQL, Python, Java, Scala.
  • Cloud computing: AWS.
  • Data management tools: Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, Apache Cassandra, Apache Hadoop.

A data engineer needs to have good communication skills, as they’ll need to be able to communicate technical concepts to a non-technical audience. A business-oriented mindset is a great asset, as they’ll need to understand how data can add value to an organisation. 

The average base salary of a data engineer is £56,569 per year.

3. Data Analyst

A data analyst is someone responsible for helping the organisation make better decisions through numbers and data. They estimate the quality of the data, try to understand the meaning of data, and present the data to the upper management.

Some technical skills required to become a data analyst are:

  • Programming language: SQL, Python, Oracle.
  • Data Visualization tools: Tableau.
  • Spreadsheet tools: Excel.
  • Machine Learning: predictive analysis and artificial intelligence.

A data analyst needs to know how to communicate because they’ll need to tell the team about their findings. Problem-solving, as they’ll need to be able to solve any issue that technology cannot overcome. 

The average base salary of a data analyst is £32,170 per year.

Careers in Network and Security

All companies are connected to a network to run their business successfully. This means that we need people to manage those networks and to ensure that they are kept safe and secure from suspicious and malicious attacks.

Careers in Network and Security are in high demand. Overall, I gathered three leading roles that offer great opportunities, but more roles are emerging. These roles are:

  • Network engineering
  • Network administration
  • Security analysis

1. Network Engineer

A network engineer is responsible for designing and maintaining computer networks in a company or multiple companies. 

Technical skills for network engineers are:

  • Knowledge of security management: firewall and security.
  • Knowledge of different operating systems.
  • Knowledge of Python scripting.

A network engineer needs to know how to communicate well, be analytical and be able to troubleshoot problems.

The average base salary of a network engineer is £38,589 per year.

2. Network Administrator

A network administrator maintains the network of a company on a day-to-day basis. They also deal with network hardware. 

Some technical skills for network administrators:

  • Knowledge of computer hardware.
  • Knowledge of system administration.

A network administrator needs to communicate well with coworkers and stakeholders. Being an incredible problem-solver and a critical thinker are also significant assets.

The average base salary of a network administrator is £25,303 per year.

3. Security Analyst

This is another great career in tech. A security analyst is someone responsible for inspecting for any possible attacks or illegal activity. They also design new security systems or upgrade the existing ones. 

Technical skills for security analysts are:

  • Knowledge of computer networking fundamentals. 
  • Understanding of cyber security fundamentals.
  • Knowledge of incident response management.

A security analyst needs to be a great communicator because he’ll need to be able to communicate security incidents to coworkers and stakeholders.

The average salary of a security analyst is £42,687 per year.

Management Careers in Technology

Careers in technology also have space for people with more vital soft skills, which is good at managing people, software products or projects. These roles are:

  • Engineering Management
  • Product Management
  • Technical Writing
  • Scrum Master.

1. Engineering Manager

An engineering manager is someone responsible for helping the software team overcome any issues that might hold them back. 

Some skills that an engineering manager needs to have include:

  • Technical skills: it’s excellent for engineering managers to be technically competent
  • Management skills: they need to be able to communicate effectively and empathetically with both the team and the stakeholders and establish a sense of trust with them.

The average base salary of an Engineering Manager is £54,864 per year.

2. Product Manager

Atlassian gives a great definition of the role of a product manager:

“A product manager is the person who identifies the customer need and the larger business objectives that a product or feature will fulfil articulates what success looks like for a product, and rallies a team to turn that vision into a reality”.

Some skills to become a product manager are:

  • Learn about the fundamentals of product management.
  • Gain business domain knowledge (the users and the industry).
  • Project management skills, perhaps through some certifications.

The average salary of a Product Manager is £52,036 per year.

3. Technical Writer

A technical writer is someone responsible for creating well-written documentation. They spend a lot of time researching to create a piece of paper.

Some excellent skills to have to become a technical writer are:

  • Excellent written skills.
  • Understanding of programming: technical writers primarily work in the IT field.

The average salary of a technical writer is £37,764 per year. The compensation can vary a lot, and often technical writers end up making more often by freelancing.

4. Scrum Master

A scrum master ensures that the team follows the Scrum values. They facilitate Agile software development ceremonies, support the team’s organisation, and teach the Scrum Framework to team members.

Some skills to become a scrum master are:

  • Understanding of Agile, Scrum and Lean principles.
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills, as well as listening skills.
  • Pursue a Scrum certification.

The average salary of a scrum master is £62,500 per year.

Conclusion

In this article, we talked about the different careers in technology. As you may have noticed, there are many great options available. You don’t need to know how to code to break into a career in technology. Hopefully, you now have a good idea of what the different careers in tech are and a better understanding of which you’d like to pursue.

Volunteer Spotlight – I think that you can learn critical skills by talking to other people who have been through it already.

Volunteer Spotlight – I think that you can learn critical skills by talking to other people who have been through it already.

Volunteer spotlight Volunteers What's new?

Can you tell me why you decided to volunteer your time with GT Scholars?

I feel very fortunate in terms of the work that I do, which is impactful in some shape or form. I feel that I was able to get into this position because I’ve been very lucky with having a private education. I wanted to try to make it possible for others to realise that there’s an interesting route to go down through University and then into either academia or policy or somewhere in between.

I started looking around for a mentoring programme based on that. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for some time to try to help out with things like presentation skills or writing and approaching assignments, and how to make it more systematic and more structured and easier to do and ultimately more successful.

Have you ever had a mentor?

Yes, I have. I have had several, but the most impactful was my second supervisor for my PH. D. who is a scholar of strategic communication and insurgency with a background in journalism and documentary production and several other things. He was someone who I spent many hours talking to about a whole range of things over the last five years, and he really helped me understand that there was more to the work that I was doing than I had initially thought.

What did you gain from having a mentor?

I come from a very focused background in terms of the research that I do and he helped me bring in a lot of other kinds of theories and cultural references into the work that I do. He helped me think about it in a way that was a lot more ambitious and ultimately more interesting as well. His continuing presence and willingness to talk to me about anything in relation to the work I was doing is invaluable to me.

How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?

My job involves a lot of writing and a lot of thinking about data in various ways or using different methods to reach useful conclusions based on diverse data sets. So it’s been driven by the interactions that I’ve had with people who are more senior to me and smarter and more experienced. I would say that it’s everything. The whole approach that I have at work now is a result of an amalgamation of years of receiving advice from people who had more experience.

There are so many people to whom I’m massively indebted for the things I’ve learned from them, whether in relation to methodology or thinking about data or structuring an argument or presenting research.

Why do you think mentoring is valuable to young people?

Well, I think with certain things there is a trick to doing things in the right way, and I wish that I had known that when I was younger, like the importance of time management. I think that you can learn that stuff by talking to other people who have been through it already. Another big part of my job is doing briefings to the various sized audiences, sometimes very small, sometimes hundreds of people at a time.

The importance of public speaking and presentation skills is a critical skill to have. I think that the reason this particular programme appealed to me was the fact that I saw it as an opportunity to talk with young people and get them to do an informal knowledge sharing to an audience of me which isn’t a formal presentation or anything like that.

Getting practice on a week in week out basis, talking about stuff that they learned the previous week or things they found difficult or assignments that they’ve completed or approaches they took towards doing specific things. I feel that could hopefully go some way towards helping them generally in the delivery of presentations and speaking to audiences and comparing ideas.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT scholars?

It has been such an eye-opening experience as to how applied young people are today. Speaking to the mentees I have had regarding their experiences and the challenges they faced with regards to Covid and how they’ve tried to overcome them. All of that has been a really interesting experience for me. 

I hope that the conversations that we’ve had have been even a tiny bit useful for either of them because it’s a challenging time that young people are having to live through today for all sorts of reasons.

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

The most satisfying thing has been, in both cases, initially that first conversation being quite a difficult interaction, one where neither of us knows the other and don’t know anything about each other. But going from that, having a regular conversation where you know the other person, know your mentee and know what they’re doing and can have a normal chat about what’s going on. I guess the building of familiarity and the normalising of the conversations is, I think, a nice thing, and that’s why I have opted for doing shorter calls more regularly than longer ones.

What do you think is the most important skill in being a volunteer mentor?

I think probably time management, having the regular spot each week and also having regular communication with my mentee.

Is there anything you’d like to add about volunteering with GT Scholars or something that you would like possible volunteers to know?

The programme is really good. It seems to me like something well worth giving a bit of time to support each week. A couple of hours every month isn’t a big thing to take out of your work schedule. I guess that’s something to keep in mind, to get involved doesn’t mean that suddenly you have a really big drain on time.

I encourage other people not to be deterred by worrying about the meetings taking too much because it is useful. You can get a lot done in a conversation or series of conversations.

Scholar Spotlight – I would like to encourage all young people to join this programme because it’s going to help bring out the best in you and help shape you in what you want to achieve.

Scholar Spotlight – I would like to encourage all young people to join this programme because it’s going to help bring out the best in you and help shape you in what you want to achieve.

Scholar spotlight What's new?

We had the pleasure of interviewing one of our scholars recently, who joined our Bright Ambitions programme last term! Faith talks about how the programme has helped her improve areas that she struggled with, build her confidence and ultimately achieve her goals!

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Faith and I am 15 years old. I’m currently in Year 11. I’m very passionate about helping people and my hobbies are sports and cooking. I am part of the sports leadership team in my current school. My favourite sport is swimming and I have been part of a few swimming clubs, in which I have won several medals.

Why did you decide to join GT Scholars?

I joined GT Scholars to help build my self-confidence and improve on my weaknesses. 

I saw some flyers at our school so I did a bit of research and I felt like GT Scholars had a lot to offer and decided that this was something I wanted to be a part of. This is because I wanted to help myself to gain more confidence with reading out in class and public speaking. 

I saw that the mentoring sessions were good because I watched some of the videos and people were talking about it. I figured I needed help with maths too, as I was struggling through a few topics, so I felt like it was a good opportunity for me.

Did you have any other specific goals that you wanted to achieve by joining us and what were they? 

I wanted to be more confident about achieving an A in my subjects, to ensure that I go to a good sixth form. I also wanted to be able to manage my time, organise my schedule properly, and be able to carry out specific tasks without holding on to them for too long. 

And do you feel like you have reached these goals?

I think that I have reached these goals to an extent.

What was your favourite part of the programme?

My favourite part of the programme was when I spoke to my mentor about my goal of studying medicine after sixth form and the fear I had due to the criteria I have to meet. My mentor pointed me in the right direction, and I intend to use her advice. She provided me with articles in preparation for medical school, which I found useful. 

I also didn’t feel confident about reading out in class or answering questions, even if I knew the answer but my mentor, Clare, created this exercise and told me to go and pick a part of my favourite book or write something on my own which I could read in our next session. I had to read it to her and analyse it. I think that helped me a lot because I was able to verbally analyse and express myself more, project my voice and take pauses when I needed to and she gave me very interesting feedback on how I could improve what I was doing.

Some of the feedback she told me was that I could work on pacing my voice. I could pause more in between what I was saying and I could try and add more expression to what I was trying to say. I think that feedback helped me a lot and I intend to use it.

What was the best thing that your tutor taught you?

I would say it was the circle theorem because we hadn’t done that in school yet. It really helped me to get ahead of the class and understand more. My tutor set exam questions from past papers and we looked over them and worked through them.

Can you tell us what your mentor and tutor are like? 

My mentor, Clare, is a very supportive person. She helped me understand the process of going to medical school and some of the things I needed to do that would help me achieve my goal. Clare really worked towards my goals with me. She created schedules, timetables and everything that I needed to know to help me to achieve my goals.

My maths tutor, Sam, helped me to understand topics that I didn’t really get in class. He was very supportive, understanding and patient. I was struggling in maths and he took time off his day to help me with that. I feel like he has helped me achieve a higher grade. I’m going to keep working towards reaching my full potential.

What advice do you have for a scholar that’s thinking of joining one of our programmes?

I think that if someone wants to join this programme, it will be a very good idea because it helps to build your self-confidence. The programme also helps you get a better understanding of subjects that you may not understand and it shines a positive light on what you want to do. I would like to encourage all young people to join this programme because it’s going to help bring out the best in you and help shape you in what you want to achieve.

In the Know: Exciting Winter Boredom Busters!

In the Know: Exciting Winter Boredom Busters!

What's new?

With the winter holidays around the corner, we thought we’d help you find some exciting opportunities that you and your family can enjoy to help fight the boredom during the long days indoors! These opportunities are free and fun for the whole family! These cool resources can also help to keep the kids entertained and stimulated! If this sounds like something you’ve been looking for, then read on to find out more!

Learn more about Cambridge in a series of stories!
Join the Museum of Cambridge and storyteller Chip Colquhoun for a series of free, online storytelling sessions! You’ll be hearing stories that match the wintery season, like incredible skating feats and a woman trapped in the snow who was saved miraculously. This event is family-friendly and is for kids aged 5 and above! It takes place from Monday 20th December. To register, click here

Join a Coding Club with Merton Libraries!
If your child is between the ages of 9 and 13, and is interested in learning how to code web pages and create websites, then this workshop is for them! This four-day, free online coding club is designed to teach young people some of the basics of coding websites and web pages. These sessions take place from Monday 20th December to Thursday 23rd December, and you can book here.

Enjoy a fun-filled night of stargazing with Maths-on-toast!
With the long winter nights upon us, why not join in some family fun stargazing? At this free event, you and your family will learn how to draw or doodle stars using 2D shapes! You’ll also learn how to create stars with varying numbers of points. This event is fun for the whole family and takes place on Saturday 18th December. To book your ticket you can click here

Applications for our 1-to-1 programmes close on Wednesday 15th December!
Have you considered signing up your child for our one-to-one programmes? Our programmes offer academic support, and also focus on personal development and mentorship that helps our scholars to build confidence and experience increased aspirations! Based on the GT Scholars Success Framework, our 1-to-1 programmes have not only helped scholars to go up by 2-grade points within a year but have also helped parents learn how to continue supporting their children to succeed at school and beyond. If you would like to find out more about our programmes, please book a call with our Scholar Success Team before our application closing date, Wednesday 15th December 2021.

 

Volunteer Spotlight – Once you reach your potential, then you can exceed your potential!

Volunteer Spotlight – Once you reach your potential, then you can exceed your potential!

Volunteer spotlight Volunteers What's new?

Can you tell us why you decided to volunteer with GT scholars?

I decided to volunteer with GT Scholars because I felt that my background in teaching could help students who are struggling with school work. So I felt I had something to offer.

Is that why you decided to volunteer in general? Have you volunteered before?

No, I haven’t volunteered before. Yes, that is why I decided to volunteer with GT Scholars.

Can you tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?

Well, as I said, I have some sort of background in teaching, and I realised there are lots of people out there who need help with teaching. And because I know lots of things to do with English, I thought I could help with GT scholars.

And have you ever had a mentor or a tutor before?

When I was in University, I had a mentor and a tutor. And that experience of having a mentor and a tutor in University, which helped me through my course, made me realise just how important it is to have a personal mentor and a tutor for educational purposes.

What did you gain from having the mentor and the tutor?

Well, just like in school, when you have lessons and you’re noting down things or things that you find difficult or things you find embarrassed to talk about in public before other students. You can have a mentor and a tutor, as I did in the University, that you could bring up with things that you found difficult or things that you’re just, as it were, perhaps maybe too embarrassed to say you’re struggling with and that personal connection that you form with a tutor helps you improve not only your personal confidence, because that’s an important thing that you help students personal confidence, but you also help their educational confidence. They’re able to understand things more clearly.

How important do you think the support has been from the mentor and the tutor in getting you to where you are today?

Well, it’s great to support, first of all, the self-belief that you have; a self-belief in the classroom when you don’t understand things and you continue not to understand things or find things too difficult, you lose self-belief. The mentor gives you that self-belief because you begin to understand things. You understand, they’re not so hard, and it’s not beyond you. And ultimately, I think the tutor or mentor helps you reach your potential, both as an individual and also educationally. Once you reach your potential, then you can exceed your potential. So, a tutor is very very important

Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people? 

I would say one of the principal values of tutoring is learning how to communicate your difficulties beyond “I don’t understand” or “it’s too difficult”. It also helps the students focus on what they find difficult. So they learn how to focus on the bits they find difficult, on the bits they don’t understand. And that’s the benefit of tutoring is that a student begins to look at themselves as a learner more than they have a tendency to look at them, learning things. They look at themselves. 

They understand what they’re good at, what they’re bad at. They understand how they think. It teaches them how to think. We tend to think that thinking comes naturally and it does, of course, but there’s a way to think and better ways to think. I think all the skills it teaches you, all of those the cognitive skills that you need, and it teaches you to examine your own self cognitively. And that is an important thing about tutoring.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?

My principal gain from tutoring with GT Scholars is the personal satisfaction of having a pupil come to me with disbelief in themselves and an array of difficulties that they think are beyond them. And then at the end of the tutorial, not only understanding how to deal with those educational difficulties but equally understanding how to process information and how to think about information and then how to do school work. It’s that personal satisfaction of having someone who doesn’t feel, they feel that school is not for them. It’s not their place. And to come out thinking that school is for them, it is their place. Learning is their place. And in some cases, having students have their horizons expanded rather than just closed horizons. Those are the things I’ve got from volunteering.

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

I think the most fulfilling thing is helping with their English literature score. That’s always fulfilling because you can really bring out the flavour of literature and poetry to people and enhance their understanding of poetry. That’s one thing. And also teaching students grammar and punctuation. Because when you say grammar and punctuation It’s like Kryptonite to most students. They get scared, they panic. But when you can explain it to them and then it makes sense to them. Once it makes sense, then they can make sense of their own writing and how to write.

So those are the two things I’ve gained, exposing students to literature and understanding just how interesting and important it is, and equally exposing them to understanding grammar and punctuation.

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

I think the most important skill is being a volunteer person, you have to want to help. It’s a willingness and a desire to help people and particularly young people. And that is the most important skill you need. I think once you have that willingness to do it, any work that you have to do will propel you to do that. It’s willingness. I would say willingness.

And then is there anything else you’d like to add about your time as a volunteer at GT Scholars? 

Yes. I would just say to other people who want to volunteer with GT scholars. It’s only 1 hour every week, so it’s not a great amount of time and you can interact with students, many of whom I’ve come across do want to learn, they just need some guidance on how to learn. And there is a deep satisfaction that you get when you turn students around and they become self-motivated learners.

Volunteer Spotlight – Tutoring helps to overcome obstacles, and it gives individual attention, which is sometimes actually what’s needed!

Volunteer Spotlight – Tutoring helps to overcome obstacles, and it gives individual attention, which is sometimes actually what’s needed!

Volunteer spotlight Volunteers What's new?

Why did you decide to volunteer?

When it came to Covid, I was worried about my job security, so I started looking into tutoring as an alternative. I thought let’s get up to speed with what I need to do to tutor. It could be an option for me if It materialised that I didn’t have job security. I got all of the GCSE revision guides and student books to get my head back to where I needed to be to think about tutoring chemistry and physics. 

When it became apparent that my job was secure, I thought I’m not going to waste that time and effort I’ve put in. I decided to find somewhere I could use it. I did some Googling and I found GT Scholars and decided that I will try and help somebody and support somebody who needs it and hopefully help them with their long term goal by tutoring them. So that’s how it all came about!

Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today, with regards to tutoring and your job in general?

So many years ago, I did my degree in animal science. As a child, I lived in the country and I was surrounded by nature and I was always outside turning stones over and seeing what I could find or sketching birds – I knew all of the bird species. I took my GCSE’s in school and I took my A levels and then I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or which direction to turn. I had no main focus, so I just got a job in a call centre. 

I worked in a call centre for several years, but it wasn’t really hitting the spots I wanted it to hit in regards to where I wanted to be. And so I actually went to University much later. I didn’t study until I was 32, actually. So I graduated when I was 35, and since then I’ve been in Zoo education. 

I’ve worked in zoos as a keeper originally and then followed on in the line of the Zoo education. For the last eight years, I’ve been working for an organisation called Zoolab,  we’ve been operating for over 20 years, and we go out to schools with invertebrates and vertebrates and teach national curriculum-based topics, anything from reception class right through to Universities.

You can be on your knees with three to five-year-olds right and then in the afternoon presenting to 20-year-olds. You have to change the style of your delivery to make the presentation appropriate to your audience. 

So during your time at University and at school, have you ever had a mentor or a tutor and did you find it useful? And what did you gain from it?

This is what I love about the GT Scholars idea. When I was at school, I don’t recall so many options available. We did have choices when I took my A levels. It was very much about going to University, but I don’t remember talks about doing things other than University. I don’t recall all the mentoring and guidance so much. 

I just think it’s so important because it’s a crucial turning point towards a path that you’re pursuing for the rest of your life. That path could take you to a career that you love, or it could take you to a career that perhaps isn’t really where you want it to be. Having that additional one-on-one time in the class environment, I think, is so beneficial. It’s extra guidance that as a teenager stepping out into the big wide world is really beneficial. 

There’s a lot going on when you are a teenager and you can feel quite vulnerable. So I think any guidance and support is so important and beneficial, especially for families that don’t have additional support and families from disadvantaged backgrounds. So this is why I really welcomed volunteering for GT Scholars because mentoring and guidance is very important.

Do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?

I think it’s great for self-confidence. I’ve noticed that with my own scholar. One lesson a couple of weeks ago, he actually said to me ‘We’re doing a topic in class that we’ve been doing in our tutoring sessions and I knew what they were going to say. I knew that was the formula. The fact that he knew something and was slightly ahead of the game in this particular topic really motivated him. I think that’s self-motivating because you suddenly feel ahead, which perhaps he hasn’t felt before.

I think there are so many advantages. There’s the potential to improve your work and planning and study habits because you are given homework and expected to work with the technology that interacts with the tutor.  It’s a good learning experience, people in a class of 35 at school often have different levels of learning and different methods that don’t suit everyone. One on one time allows a student to look at a topic that they may not have understood in class and break it down with the tutor by using a method of tutoring that suits that individual. 

Tutoring helps to overcome those obstacles, and it gives individual attention, which is sometimes actually what’s needed. Some people work better by learning in small groups or individually rather than in a big class. I can say to my scholar, Do you have anything you are struggling with within the school that you want to bring to me? Are there any topics you want to bring to me rather than me directing the study? It encourages self-directed learning as well.

And what is the biggest thing that you’ve gained from volunteering with GT scholars?

So much! Really, I’ve had to learn!! The education that I do day-to-day is in groups. But very few times I’ve done one-on-one sessions, so I’ve had to understand different methods of learning, and I’ve had to be patient. It certainly allows you to think about being a bit more patient. There are weeks where my scholar perhaps hasn’t been punctual or he hasn’t attempted his homework and there are weeks he’s been amazing.

It’s about being patient and diplomatic with it, having an understanding that every two students are different and will learn differently. I’ve enjoyed the whole learning experience about tutoring, seeing how it works, and what doesn’t work. 

Tell us about your experience with your scholar

I think as time has gone on, I’ve gotten to know my scholar well. I know what he likes, he likes basketball and because of this, I try to make our sessions inspiring and fun at the same time. When we do our recap at the beginning of each week on our online Jamboard, I have got a big picture of Michael Jordan, the basketball player, and I’ve got six Post It notes on the screen. My Scholar has to answer those questions, if he gets them correct then he gets a digital slam dunk on the screen.

That’s our fun recap at the beginning to just bring ourselves back to speed where we were the previous week. We will then learn a new topic.  I will get my Scholar to tell me some cool facts about Michael Jordan. I think it’s important to make the sessions fun and engaging to make your scholar enjoy learning. 

So what do you think are the most important skills for a volunteer to have?

Patience and adaptability! Sometimes you need to adapt to last-minute changes that may happen, so being adaptable and patient is key. I think a sense of humour is important too. If you can make your sessions more engaging, the scholars remember those sessions.

In the Know: Festive Fun for the Family!

In the Know: Festive Fun for the Family!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Can you believe that there are only three Fridays until it’s Christmas?! With only a few weeks left until the end of term, we thought we’d share some fun, family activities to get you and your family into the festive cheer! These activities will help stimulate your child and also provide an opportunity for you to spend some quality time together. If you’re feeling festive or you’re looking for a nudge to get you going, then read on to see what we’ve got lined up!

Make your own festive greeting card!
The Great Exhibition Road Festival is hosting a free, exciting, online card-making workshop for the whole family! In this workshop, you’ll use materials you have at home to create unique festive greeting cards and discover the origins of this Victorian tradition. The workshop takes place on Wednesday 8th December, and you can book your place here

Build some new gadgets to help Santa’s deliveries
If your child is a master Lego builder then this free online workshop will be great for them. Hosted by Worcestershire Libraries, you and your family will have fun creating a new sleigh design with some gadgets for Santa. You don’t need to bring any specific Lego bricks, just a good selection to build your gadget. The workshop takes place on Tuesday 21st December, and you can book here

Be part of a virtual scavenger hunt!
Join storyteller John Kirk for a free jam-packed, interactive, online scavenger hunt. In this virtual storytelling experience, you and your family will have the opportunity to let your imagination run wild as you get into the mood for the Christmas celebrations. The session is open to the whole family and takes place on Tuesday 21st December. To book your ticket, click here

Applications for our 1-to-1 programmes are opened!
We’re really excited to let you know that applications are now open for our 1-to-1 online tutoring and mentoring programmes for young people aged 11-18! If you’d like to find out more about our programmes and give your child a headstart next term, make sure to book a call with the Scholar Success Team before Wednesday 15th December 2021.