In the Know – Engage your senses!

In the Know – Engage your senses!

In The Know What's new?

Young people are naturally curious and eager to learn about and understand the world around them. Fun educational activities allow young people to understand and explore their environment. This week’s activities will give your child a chance to engage their senses in an educational way that will make learning fun!

Explore outer space!
This virtual reality mission into space will be a truly out-of-this-world experience as your teenagers get an opportunity to experience the thrill of being an astronaut from the perspective of Britain’s first astronaut, Tim Peake. This experience is suitable for 13+ and is taking place at the Science Museum. Tickets are £7 with family discounts available, find out more here

Have some fun in the sun
This event will bring the science of the sun to life as your child gets the opportunity to explore our closest star, the sun. In this exciting exhibition, your child can discover 3000-year-old artefacts, learn about upcoming space missions, nuclear fusion reactors and watch the sunrise around the world. This visual journey at the Science Museum is free for under 16s, find out more here

A day to design
This weekend, the V&A museum is giving young designers an opportunity to express themselves and learn. Young artists will be able to design garments and get design tips from designer Juliana Sissons. This £20 event will give young people aged between 13 and 15 years an opportunity to learn how the garments on display at the museum were made. To book tickets find out more here

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. Our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme is designed to help young people aged 11-18 achieve their academic and career aspirations. Visit our website if you’d like to know more about the GT Scholars Programme and how you can make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

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Meet one of our Volunteer Tutors – Claire

Volunteer interviews Volunteers What's new?

As part of our volunteer spotlight series, we interviewed one of our amazing volunteer English tutors, Claire. You can watch the full interview in the video linked above. You can also find the transcript below.


My name is Claire and I’m in HR for a large consumer goods organisation and I’m a volunteer tutor with GT Scholars.

Why did you decide to start volunteering with GT Scholars?
So I guess the key thing why I decided to become a tutor is, I was born partially deaf, and I think one of those things is because of that people didn’t have very high expectations of myself. I worked really hard and I have become, some people would say, successful.

I got an awful lot of help along the way from my family, from some key people that helped me keep on that journey and I am hugely grateful to them and as a result of that, I think I do want to help other people realise their potential. Everyone has got so much potential and if I can give something back and have other people realise their potential then that’s what I’d really love to do. So that’s how I came to look for tutoring and looking to give back in some way in the same way that people gave to me which is listening, teaching, coaching. So that’s how I started looking at tutoring.

How did you get started as a volunteer tutor with GT Scholars?
So the way I got started with GT Scholars and how I found GT Scholars was simply researching for volunteering and tutoring. So I found it through Google and what stopped me at GT Scholars was how professional it all was. The website was really professional and there were loads of information, every question I had was pretty much already answered on the website.

And then I got in touch via the email and I got really great responses, really quick responses.

So I followed through the process which was you know, intimidating at times, sometimes I felt like I am being judged for the first time, but really nice people that I met throughout the whole process.

And I got signed off to become a tutor, and then I just got started in terms of onboarding. The other thing about the onboarding, it was really impressive, so for me as an HR professional, onboarding is important, and it was a really good process, really good training and lots of support now while I’m tutoring as well.

What was the experience as a volunteer English tutor like for you?
Now how I got started with the tutoring with the very initial stages was making the arrangements with Samuel and his father for the initial session and then having that initial call. We had a telephone call initially then we moved on to Skype and we decided that was the one, we looked at Google Hangouts and Skype and there are so many great options these days but Skype worked pretty well for us.

So that first session was just getting to know Samuel, him getting to know me and really understanding what he wanted out of it because there are so many things you can cover in this session and its limited time. Then we just ran through that and really sort of clarified some specific points that he wanted to learn about. Then I had to go and do research because I haven’t done the English language for such a long time so we had an initial session and we had exam questions to help me assess where he was and then we focused in on a couple of areas. Then we just met each time each week through Skype. Having that face to face contact in the video, I think it’s actually really helpful and really convenient being able to do that from home, from this seat actually and having those conversations each week and trying to move it forward, trying to help him decide where he wanted to focus as well. I think that’s one of the really important things about being the tutor is listening. So I had loads of ideas about what I thought we could talk about and actually it was quite different. So Samuel needed quite specific things and I hope that was helpful for him and a lot of it was conversation, having good conversation about what the examiners are looking for and therefore how he can respond and this is specifically for example about managing time making sure you get to all of the questions in the exams and giving good points across each of those questions.

What have you enjoyed most about volunteer tutoring?
So I think one of the things I found really fulfilling during this process is when you see the ‘aha’ moments and you just see the ‘oh that is a different way of looking at it that I haven’t seen before’, that’s been really powerful. Other things I enjoy are that sense of imparting what I know and thinking that you can make a difference in that way.

And I guess the final thing would be making space for conversation – a safe space for someone in this case to have a really open conversation around what’s worrying him and him being able to talk about that.

What challenges have you as a volunteer tutor helped your scholar overcome?
So the kind of challenges that Samuel seems to have had help with in terms of the conversations that he and I have had, a key thing has been around timing. So managing his own time both in preparing for our sessions doing the homework and then in exams, so that has been quite a lot of our conversations. It’s how he plans for that and how he then makes that impact during the exam so that he can get better marks as he goes forward.

What challenges did you face as a volunteer tutor?
There were some challenges to being a tutor. So one of them is being organised so I have to make time to do my preparation. I had to put myself in Samuel’s shoes, think about what would be the right conversation for us to have and about the material that should help him and then really being present during the sessions and just allow that mental space for him and I to have a great conversation and let all the distractions go.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable for young people?
I think tutoring offers quite a lot to young people. A big part of that is simply dedicated time with someone who is listening to you and answering your unique questions and thinking about you and your unique scenario. So that’s a key thing just that mental space and commitment from somebody.

I think the other bit is, of course, the knowledge that they’re gaining from somebody else who has taken the time to listen to the specific challenges that they are facing and that they want help with.

What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming a volunteer tutor with us?
So if anyone is thinking about tutoring I really recommend it. GT Scholars is a really professional organisation to do it with. You get a huge amount of support at every step of the way. So GT Scholars is really good and tutoring is really fun. You get some time with a young person, the kind of people that maybe you don’t get time to interact with elsewhere in your life and you really get to make an impact on one person’s life and who knows what that leads to.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. Our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme is designed to help young people aged 11-18 achieve their academic and career aspirations. Visit our website if you’d like to know more about the GT Scholars Programme and how you can become a volunteer tutor to make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

7 Things to look into if you are considering obtaining your Degree in the USA

7 Things to look into if you are considering obtaining your Degree in the USA

What's new?

Studying abroad has become a very common option for young people over the years with the USA being the most popular student destination. According to InternationalStudents.com, the USA has the largest international student population with over 1 million international students pursuing educational opportunities each year.

Students are said to choose the USA for a number of reasons including academic excellence, advanced technology and research opportunities, a variety of educational opportunities, cultural education and an efficient support service for its international students.

Before you decide to study in the USA, there a number of things that an interested student should prepare in order to be considered as an international student in the USA and to get accepted into an American educational institution. Here are 7 things you should look into.

Do extensive research on the various educational institutions across the country
The USA has a number of state and private institutions positioned in different states offering similar majors and activities. However, it is important to note that these majors and activities also differ due to each states distinct identity which includes factors such as the climate, culture, and the economy. It is therefore advised that a student should read up on states and its institutions, and choose to study in an environment that compliments their personality, preferences and educational interests.
For instance, Washington offers six state universities and 24 private institutions to choose from, each offering a number of different majors and activities. This state can get up to 500 cm of rain yearly, very cold temperatures in winter and heat waves in summer. Universities in Washington benefit from the local economy which means industries such as computer software development, tourism, biotechnology, agriculture and telecommunications are advanced. Washington also offers professional and club sports such as basketball, football, soccer, ice hockey and baseball for sports fanatics. In addition, it boasts beautiful terrain, lakes and mountains where one can hike, camp, ski and enjoy a horse ride. Therefore, students looking to thrive in such industries, sports and activities, and who can easily adapt to this climate, may consider studying in Washington.

Read up on the university that you want to apply to and make sure you have backup options
After reading up on the different states and institutions, you will need to make a decision on the university you want to attend. This can be influenced by the subjects or the fields of study that the institutions offer, internship opportunities, and the top schools offering your degree of choice. You should also include backup options in case you don’t get into your first choice university.

Complete your application to the university
At this point, you would be ready to apply to your preferred institution. Thorough planning and time management is needed for the success of this process as a lot of documentation and arrangements need to be done correctly. The list below shows what this process includes:

  • Give yourself sufficient time to apply. This means to start the application process as early as possible as this affords you the time to read the application instructions and requirements thoroughly and properly. It gives you time to complete the application form with no errors and to provide necessary documentation as per specifications. It is suggested that a student starts this process 18 months before the academic year begins.
  • Institutions with competitive admissions usually require a significant amount of effort in their applications, including writing personal statements, requesting recommendations from your past teachers or tutors, and signing up for entrance exams such as the SAT, ACT and TOEFL to meet application standards. You should prepare for the above tasks by researching how to do them correctly and when to do them so you will have enough time to complete them.
  • School curriculums differ in each country therefore institutions accepting international students need to verify the authenticity of your documents and the status of the school you attended. This means your school may have to submit your transcripts to a credential evaluator who will examine your transcripts and translate them according to the American curriculum.

Apply for a VISA
One of the most important tasks when considering to study in the USA is applying for your VISA. There are different visas that could be issued to a student, namely the F1 Visa, M1 Visa and J1 Visa.
The F1 Visa is for full-time students enrolled in an academic programme. This visa does allow part-time employment on campus with a maximum of 20 hours per week and it allows for the student to work on optional practical training (OPT) for up to a year after completing their academic programme.
The M1 Visa is issued to a student attending a vocational school and holders of this visa are not permitted to work during their studies. Moreover, M1 students need to prove that they have sufficient funds to pay for their studies and living costs for the duration of the stay.
The J1 Visa is issued to students who need to acquire practical training to complete their academic programme, which is unavailable in their home country. Employment opportunities are the same as those for F1 Visa students.
A student would need one of the above visas to qualify to study in the USA. Furthermore, they would need to prove they can support themselves financially and provide health insurance evidence to cover any medical expenses they may need.

Understand the costs
Financial stability is important for students considering studying abroad. It is important to calculate how much money you will need for the academic programme, books and overall living expenses for the duration of your stay. There are also many international loans, scholarships and bursaries that institutions and organizations offer to international students which you can choose to apply for.

Set up reliable communication methods
To keep in touch with loved ones back home, you should make sure you set up accounts with different communication apps to keep in touch with loved one such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber. These come in very handy when you start feeling homesick.

Plan ahead for your student life
Finally, plan ahead for your life beyond the classroom. For example, you should include extramural activities and travel in your budget. You should look into public transport options around your university and the amenities available such as restaurants and retail places. You should also research the extramural activities that your university offers such as student clubs and societies so that you can enjoy the full experience.

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.

In the Know – Take charge of your career!

In the Know – Take charge of your career!

In The Know What's new?

It’s never too early for young people to start planning for their future! With a wide range of career opportunities available, it is also helpful for them to get some guidance on how to go about choosing a career. This week’s activities aim to do just that with events and programmes that will give you and your child the necessary tools to help them make the best career choices.

GT Scholars Careers Day 2019
Our 4th annual Careers Day is happening on Saturday 16th March 2019 at Goldsmiths, University of London. This highly anticipated free workshop aims to address the questions that arise when young people are considering their career options through a panel of young professionals from a range of careers in Law, Medicine, Engineering, and Technology. To book your ticket, click here.

GT Scholars Parent and Pupil Information Session
On Saturday 23rd March 2019 we will be hosting two information sessions for pupils and parents. The sessions will be an opportunity for you and your child to find out more about the Bright Ambitions and Head Start Programmes. The sessions will also include strategies and techniques on how you can improve your child’s grades. To book your place, click here.

Applications for Bright Ambitions are now Open!
Our Bright Ambitions programme is for ambitious young people aged between 13-16 who want to gain leadership skills, improve their grades, get mentoring support and get into top universities. The programme offers 1-to-1 tutoring and mentoring sessions as well as enrichment workshops throughout the school term. The application deadline is Tuesday 26th March 2019. Find out how to apply here.

LSE CHOICE
The London School of Economics CHOICE programme gives talented young people from London state schools and colleges the tools they need to get into highly selective universities. Students in Year 12 or 13 can apply for a free place in one of 5 subject streams: Economics, Government and politics, History, Mathematics or Sociology. Applications close on Sunday 10th March at 11.59pm! Find out more here.

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.

LSE CHOICE helps young people get into university!

LSE CHOICE helps young people get into university!

What's new?

The London School of Economics and Political Science runs a free programme to help young people get into university.

LSE CHOICE gives talented young people from London state schools and colleges the tools they need to successfully apply to LSE and other highly selective universities.

Each year, LSE CHOICE works with 180 students from under-represented backgrounds. Students apply for a place on one of five LSE CHOICE subject streams:

  • Economics
  • Government and Politics
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Sociology

The programme includes a Summer School and Saturday sessions:

Summer School
The non-residential Summer School lasts for five days from 19 – 23 August 2019. Participants study a subject of interest to them and take sessions designed to develop their key skills and critical thinking. Current LSE academic staff and research students, external speakers and experienced subject teachers deliver subject enhancement sessions. It also includes university information sessions which are delivered by staff from the LSE Recruitment and Admissions teams.

Saturday Sessions
The two-hour Saturday sessions run on 16 Saturday mornings during the autumn and spring terms of Year 13. Each session focuses on an important area of the subject, encouraging students to think more broadly about the topic. Participants are expected to use the LSE Library and are also encouraged to attend LSE public lectures.

Participation is free of charge and lunch is provided on each day of the Summer School. Students are given an attendance allowance of £20 for each Saturday session, which includes a contribution towards transport costs.

Would your child like to be a part of this fantastic programme? Find more information hereThe deadline for applications is Sunday 10th March 2019 at  11.59pm.

What is an Enhanced DBS and why do our Volunteer Tutors and Mentors need this?

What is an Enhanced DBS and why do our Volunteer Tutors and Mentors need this?

Volunteers What's new?

Volunteering as a tutor or mentor for young people is a great way to give back to your community, to help young people that require assistance, and to be an inspirational role model.

At GT Scholars we aspire to recruit the best volunteers to tutor and mentor young people. They need to have the right skills, a positive outlook, and the ability to communicate effectively. It is also our responsibility to ensure that all our volunteers have undergone safeguarding training and have completed an Enhanced DBS check. This is to ensure the safety of our scholars.

With the DBS check, we ensure that no unsuitable person will engage with any of the scholars on our programmes. To help you understand more about this DBS check and how the process works, we have answered a few important questions.

What does DBS stand for?
DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. It is merging of the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) and the ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) to carry out the same purpose of both organisations under one body.

What is the purpose of a DBS check?
This certificate has been put in place by the government to ensure that unsuitable people do not work with individuals that are vulnerable such as children and young people. It is essential for the safety of all vulnerable groups of people.

Who needs to have a DBS check?
Every job will differ on the type of DBS check they will require from an individual, but any person who wishes to work with children and vulnerable adults will need an enhanced DBS certificate. This is to ensure the safety of these groups.

What are the 3 types of DBS checks?

  • Basic Disclosure – this is more of a criminal record check that may be required for applying for a visa or personal licence
  • Standard DBS – a check that will show all convictions, warnings or cautions on a person’s record and is usually required when applying for a job
  • Enhanced DBS – similar to the standard but this can include any relevant information by the police and this check is required when working with children and vulnerable groups.

How can you get a DBS check?
You can either apply for one directly from the DBS via an online application or you can apply via a responsible organisation that is registered with the DBS.

How much does DBS check cost?
A standard DBS will cost around £30 and an Enhanced DBS around £50. For volunteers, the Enhanced DBS will cost around £10.

What do you need in order to do a DBS check?
A person needs to attach at least 3 documents to their application for a DBS check – one document from Group 1 and two documents from either Group 1, Group 2a or Group 2b.

Group 1 is for primary identity documents such as:

  • Passport
  • Biometric Residence Permit
  • Current Driving Licence
  • Birth Certificate
  • Adoption Certificate

Group 2a is for trusted government documents such as:

  • Current Driving Licence (countries outside the EU excluding Isle of Man and the Channel Islands)
  • Current driving licence paper version – if issued before 1998
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage / Civil Partnership Certificate
  • HM Forces ID Card
  • Firearm Licence

Group 2b is  for financial and social history documents such as:

  • Mortgage statement
  • Financial statements
  • P45 or P60 statements
  • Council Tax Statement
  • Bank or Building society statements
  • Credit card statement
  • Utility bill (not mobile phone bill)
  • Benefit statements such as pension or child benefit
  • Entitlement documents given by a government agency/council
  • Sponsorship letter from future employer – for applicants residing outside the UK during application
  • EU national ID card
  • Cards with PASS accreditation logo – UK, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands
  • Letter from headteacher or college principal – for 16-19-year-old UK citizens in full-time education (exceptional circumstances)
  • Work permit or visa

How often do we need to renew our DBS?
The DBS certificate expires after 3 years, then it will need to be renewed. There is also the option of the DBS Update System that costs approximately £13 per year and will renew the certificate every year from the date of issue.

We hope that after reading this you would understand the need for a DBS check when you volunteer with us. We aspire to create a safe environment for all our scholars and to offer them the best tutors and mentors without any compromise.

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 volunteer tutors and mentors can make the most out of their volunteer experience

How volunteer tutors and mentors can make the most out of their volunteer experience

Volunteers What's new?

Volunteering can be a unique experience since you are providing services to young people who need it, but you are also benefiting from a wonderful and fulfilling opportunity. Although you do not gain financially from volunteering, the benefits you do get can make a significant impact on your personal life or career.

To ensure that your volunteering experience will be a good one, you should first make sure that you join an organisation that does work you are passionate about, or that matches your skills or interests. After that, you will then be able to make the most out of our volunteering experience.

Below are a few tips on how volunteer tutors and mentors with GT Scholars can make the most of their experience as a volunteer. We will look at some of the benefits of volunteering and tools you can use to avoid being in a volunteering environment that does not allow you to achieve your personal goals.  

Understand the benefits
Your personal development goals are a core part of your volunteering experience, and your ability to meet them could be the deciding factor in whether or not you continue to volunteer. Fortunately, many of the benefits of volunteering tie into helping you achieve your personal goals. For example, volunteering allows you to gain valuable work experience and develop your skills. This improves your employment chances as potential employers will see that you have some practical experience.

Additionally, volunteer work is a great way to expand your professional network, which can also improve your chances of employment and the number of opportunities you have access to. If your personal goal is to become more employable, volunteering can definitely help you achieve it.

Volunteering also gives you a chance to develop your skills. This is because as a volunteer tutor you are able to continuously sharpen your academic and teaching skills and develop your self-confidence through teaching others. This can help you make the most out of your volunteering experience as you receive the direct benefit of improving your skills, and you also feel good about yourself because you helped someone else to learn in the process.

Know what you want
You should understand the reasons behind your decision to become a volunteer tutor or mentor. Questions you should consider include: What you want to get out of your experience, what are you willing to sacrifice to be a good tutor, are you able to meet the commitments of volunteering etc.

It is important to know why you are becoming a volunteer as having a purpose or a specific passion will help you to stick to your volunteering commitment in the long term. So asking yourself these questions is important as it can help you decide if being a volunteer tutor or mentor is something you really want to do.

Make good use of your time
If you ensure that you make good use of your time as a volunteer tutor or mentor, it will be easier for you to achieve your personal development goals. As previously mentioned, being a volunteer has many benefits, but in order to make the most out of your volunteering experience, it is important for you to use these benefits to help you achieve your personal goals.

For example, if your personal goal is to get a full-time job, then throughout your time as a volunteer tutor or mentor you should be measuring any improvements you make that would be relevant to the job you want. This is so that when you apply for the job, you are able to demonstrate the improvements you made. So to make the most of your time as a volunteer, it is important to always consider your personal goals and how you can use your time to achieve them.

Make the commitment
An important consideration for volunteering is understanding the commitment it takes. Your time is valuable and volunteering can be a significant commitment. So in order to make the most of your volunteering experience, it is important to make sure that you are able to make the commitment. This will make your experience more enjoyable, and if the tutoring or mentoring sessions are enjoyable, it will make your experience more beneficial.

Showing up and always doing your best to assist the scholars will help them to feel more confident in your abilities and then their own abilities as a result. It will also help create a good reputation for you, which is important when you need references for new career opportunities. People notice hard workers and those who put in their best effort. So sticking to your volunteering commitment and maximising the time you spend is key in making the most of your volunteer experience.

Communicate and enjoy yourself!
It is important to understand what is expected of you as a tutor, and that GT Scholars knows what you expect of them. This comes down to maintaining good communication between you and GT Scholars. If you have questions or experience problems, do not be afraid to communicate this to the team so that they can help you. Understanding that you are always supported will make volunteering easier and more enjoyable.

Enjoying yourself is one of the most important factors in making the most of your volunteer tutor experience. This is why it is so important to engage in volunteer work that is in line with your passion, interests, and personal goals. This will make your whole experience very beneficial in the long run.

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.

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Volunteer with Us

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Volunteer with Us

Volunteers What's new?

Volunteering with young people is a great way to give back to your community and to help those that require assistance in either their academic studies or personal wellbeing. At GT Scholars, we focus on helping young people to achieve their aspirations. We do this with assistance from selfless volunteers who sacrifice their time to help young people through tutoring and mentoring.

However, there are more ways that one can volunteer apart from tutoring and mentoring. Here are five quick and easy ways that you could make a difference with us.

Be a Volunteer Ambassador:
Are you a vibrant and outgoing person who would like to assist GT Scholars in reaching more people? Are you a graduate or professional with experience in public relations, marketing, business management or fundraising? Then you can volunteer as a GT Scholars Ambassador which involves being a liaison for us with your company or university.
You could help to bring in more volunteers, sponsorships, internships for young people, or even arrange to give the young people a career day experience at your workplace. Volunteer ambassadors are crucial in bridging the gap between GT Scholars and different areas of work and education, and they really help our organisation to grow and thrive.

Be a Volunteer Videographer/Photographer:
If you’re a skilled videographer or photographer, then you too can make a difference by volunteering your time and expertise. We are always having events and workshops that require a talented individual to capture the best moments. Your work will then be used on our website and in our newsletter which will be a great addition to your experience and portfolio.
So if you are passionate about what you do and want to help, this would be a great opportunity to show your support for a great cause.

Be a Volunteer at one of our workshops or events:
If you do not have the time to dedicate to tutoring or mentoring, but you would still like to help whenever you are free, then you should think about being a volunteer at our events or workshops. We run various enrichment events and skill-building workshops for young people that usually take place on Saturdays. We also run parent and pupil information sessions that usually take place on weekday evenings for schools across London.
Event volunteers help to ensure that the event, workshop or information session runs smoothly and that the attendees have a fantastic time. You can also choose to volunteer your time for the whole event or even just a few hours, so this volunteer role is flexible yet still impactful.

Be a guest speaker at our event:
Some of our enrichment events include a panel of speakers that will enlighten young people on a specific topic. For example, during our annual Careers Day, we have a panel of speakers from different professional backgrounds to inform attendees about their career and the different paths young people can take to reach career goals.
Volunteer speakers help to share their stories, the challenges they faced, the skills they had to learn etc. This would be a great way for you to inspire young people to achieve their aspirations, build their confidence, and understand their strengths. You will also motivate them to work harder and never give up.

Invite us to be a guest speaker at your event:
We are always looking for ways to share our vision with others and to widen our reach. So if you host events for undergraduates, graduates or professionals at your place of work or university, we would be delighted to be invited to speak and share our experiences and raise awareness for young people who need help to reach their aspirations.
You will be able to give us the opportunity to reach a much larger audience that could assist us in helping more young people to achieve their purpose while giving you the opportunity to diversify your events and show your support for a great cause.

If any of these volunteer opportunities sound interesting to you, please feel free to contact us and we will get you started. GT Scholars is dedicated to helping young people to achieve their aspirations and we would not be able to do this without an amazing team of volunteers.

In the Know – Discover and be inspired!

In the Know – Discover and be inspired!

In The Know What's new?

Creativity can help young people in all areas of their development. Activities that encourage and inspire creativity can improve their learning abilities by allowing them to engage all of their senses. This week’s three activities are ideal to give your child a taste of the arts and identify creative career paths they may want to explore.

Explore at the V&A Museum
There is so much to explore and discover at the Victoria & Albert Museum this month! You can choose from a variety of activities but a particular treat for young people are the museum Trails. On The Undiscovered Museum paper trail, they can explore the arts and go on a visual treasure hunt. This informative free event will run daily until Sunday 31st March. Find out more here.

Make it happen at RIBA
Architecture is a wonderful example of how art and creativity can lead to an exciting and fulfilling career. The Royal Institute of British Architects’ Making It Happen exhibition is an immersive event that celebrates the coming together of communities and architects to craft and create spaces that work for all. This free exhibition includes several workshops for young people, and it is taking place throughout this month at the Architecture Gallery in London. Find out more here.

Snap a photo at Burgh House
Burgh House is hosting a photography workshop for young people between the ages of 14 and 18. They will get a chance to work with professional photographer, Gemma Pardo, to develop their technical skills and produce their own inspiring portfolio. The workshop is taking place on Sunday 3rd March from 2pm to 4pm. Tickets are £8 with free places also available. Find out more here.

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.

Communication tips for volunteer tutors and mentors

Communication tips for volunteer tutors and mentors

Volunteers What's new?

Good communication is usually taken for granted in environments where adults work together since there is the assumption that everyone has the necessary communication skills to interact with people on a daily basis. However, when engaging with young people, one needs to pay close attention to good communication as it is an essential part of ensuring successful outcomes for them.

Good communication is central to working with young people as it fosters trust, and trust is necessary for building and maintaining relationships with them. This will allow them to reach their full potential as they will feel supported because they trust that you have their best interests at heart. So understanding what good communication involves is essential when working with young people.

Good communication is an active process
This entails being responsive and engaging when working with young people. More specifically, good communication requires active listening. Active listening is responding to cues while restating and drawing out the meaning of what the person is saying, combined with the expression of warmth, empathy and acceptance. Being responsive and making an effort to understand what the young person is communicating results in the young person becoming more confident as they feel that their thoughts and feelings have value.

Good communication does not just refer to the words we use
Good communication also refers to how we say things as the tone in which something is said can sometimes communicate more to a young person than the words that were used. There are also several forms of communication such as visual communication, body language, and sign language. The responsibility lies with the volunteer to identify which form of communication the young person is most receptive to. This will ensure that they understand the tasks they are given.
It is also important to note that the young person’s preferred form of communication may be influenced by personal factors such as culture or language. It is key that volunteers take the young person’s context into consideration when identifying the best form of communication for them, and be able to adapt communication styles as necessary.

Good communication involves being non-judgemental and approachable
It is important to be aware of how our attitude can affect young people. One should be supportive and reaffirming when communicating so that the young person does not feel judged and become closed-off or difficult to communicate with. When a young person feels comfortable, they are more likely to express themselves. In order to create an environment where the young person can openly communicate, a volunteer can use open questions. Open questions are a great communication tool as they encourage the young person to open up since they do not require definitive yes or no answers. Open questions encourage the young person to discuss their answer instead of giving one worded answers, and this helps develop good communication. You can learn more about open questions here.

Consider what stage of development the young person is in
To be able to develop communication styles and work strategies that encourage the young person’s participation, it is necessary to be aware of the needs of the young person. For example, if a young person is at risk of under-achievement, it is important to use language that does not intimidate the learner or make it seem that it is impossible for them to achieve their academic goals.
Conversely, if the young person has been working well and their levels of understanding are improving, the volunteer must communicate with them in a way that reflects that they recognise the improvements that the young person is making. This encourages good communication and helps develop the young person’s confidence when engaging with their work, as they will be able to recognise that they are making improvements and that they are capable.

Be aware of the barriers to good communication
There may be barriers to good communication which often discourages the young person from wanting to communicate. Firstly, ordering a young person to do something discourages communication. This is because young people do not like feeling as though they have no choice in the decisions involving them. A better way would be to discuss options with the young person or explain why they need to do something. This allows them to feel like their opinion matters and develops their self-confidence, which can foster good communication in the long term.
Another barrier to good communication is speaking with a threatening tone. An example of this would be saying something like: “If you keep doing this, you will fail the year” or “You better do this or else that will happen”. Communicating this way is negative and very discouraging for the young person which decreases their confidence in their abilities. So it is important to remember to use reaffirming and encouraging language that motivates the young person to keep working hard.

Your communication skills can influence how the young person will continue to communicate going into their future. Good communication with young people can help develop their self-confidence, which goes a long way in developing a positive attitude. So it is important for the volunteer to always be aware of how they communicate with young people by adopting and adapting the appropriate communication style for each young person they work with.

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.