In the Know – Take charge of your university prep!

In the Know – Take charge of your university prep!

In The Know What's new?

According to UCAS, there are 37,000 undergraduate courses at over 370 universities across the UK! Together with choosing the right course and the right university, there are also many other things young people need to think about before starting their university journey. Here are a few upcoming activities to help your child make the right choice.

UK University Education Fair
Boost Education Service will be running the biggest UK University Education fair for students in London. Young people will have the chance to meet more than 50 leading UK university representatives face to face in one place. They will also be able to receive on-spot assessments, learn about available scholarships and funding, and get one-to-one admission support. This free event will be taking place on Wednesday 24th July from 10.30am. Find out more here

Get Started: Writing a Personal Statement
Birkbeck, University of London is running a free workshop that will help young people to write a unique and interesting personal statement for their university applications. Open to young people who may or may not want to study at Birkbeck, the workshop will help them think about their personal motivations and life experience, start drafting their personal statement and get feedback on your from experienced professionals. The workshop will take place on Wednesday 24th July at 6pm. Find out more here

University Admission Guidance
Crimson Education is running personalised meetings for young people and their parents to learn more about top universities and understanding what it takes to gain admission to these universities. From university selection to interview prep, they want to support you with every aspect of your application process. These meetings are free and will be taking place on Tuesday 30th July from 4pm. 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.

In the Know – Get an inside look with work experience!

In the Know – Get an inside look with work experience!

In The Know What's new?

Work experience allows young people to discover their strengths and explore all of their options, while also increasing the chance of them finding their dream job after school or university. It also provides a perfect opportunity for them to get a first-hand look into their chosen career field. Here are a few work experience opportunities at top companies that your child can look into.

Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that is primarily engaged in the research, design, development, and manufacturing of advanced technology for various fields, from aeronautics to space. They offer a two-week work experience programme that aims to support young people aged 14-18 with making their future career decisions. Applications are currently open for their work experience programme, and you can find out more here

Arcadis
Arcadis is a leading design, consultancy, and engineering firm that operates across a wide range of sectors including infrastructure, water, environment and buildings. Their Inspiring Futures work experience programme is designed for students aged 14-19 who are passionate about the environment, engineering and buildings. The week-long programme consists of a number of interactive sessions including team-building, challenges, and an office-based experience. Applications are currently open and you can find out more here.

Bentley
Bentley is a top-tier automotive company that aims to create extraordinary cars for extraordinary customers. They offer a work experience programme that aims to give young people aged 14-19 a taste of what it’s like to work at Bentley. This week-long programme is offered in their Engineering, Manufacturing and Commercial departments and will involve getting first-hand experience in your chosen area and gaining an insight into the day-to-day running of their business. Applications are currently open and you can 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.

In the Know – Broaden your minds this Summer!

In the Know – Broaden your minds this Summer!

In The Know What's new?

It’s important for young people to keep their minds active this Summer. One way they can do is by immersing themselves in fun, new experiences. This week’s activities are perfect for getting the ball rolling on a season filled with learning exciting things and building new skills.

Apollo 11 Family Festival
The Science Museum in South Kensington is running a free family festival celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, featuring hands-on activities led by space scientists and enthusiasts. The festival will include a chance to experience life as an astronaut, finding out what happened to all the Moon rocks, discovering how your body changes in space and much more! It is taking place from Saturday 20th to Sunday 21st July and is suitable for 11-14 year olds.  Find out more here

Design for the Future
The V&A Museum is running a free drop-in design workshop that will have young people inventing to save the planet and designing new earth-friendly packaging for food. They will get creative and use screen printing and eco-friendly methods to design and create innovative products. This workshop will take place every Sunday in July in the John Madejski Garden and is suitable for 11-12 year olds.  Find out more here

The Big Bang Fair
The Big Bang Fair organised by STEM Learning will be taking place on Friday 12th July 2019. It is open to young people between the ages of 11 and 18 and will include a range of interactive exhibitions from controlling your own robots, finding out about the underground world of mail rail, a CSI challenge, animation creation, and a careers zone where you can meet real-life scientists and engineers. This event is free and will be taking place at Sutton Grammar School. 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.

How To Build Resilience And Keep Yourself Motivated!

How To Build Resilience And Keep Yourself Motivated!

What's new?

Being resilient and staying motivated is an important part of personal development. It gives you the confidence to face any challenge head-on and it will help you to never give up, even when the challenges get tough.

The first thing to understand when building resilience and keeping yourself motivated is that being motivated and staying motivated are part of the same team but they are not the same players. There are a multitude of things that can inspire you to be motivated but staying motivated is where it can get tricky for most of us. 

However, this is not something one should worry about too much as there are definitely easy and effective ways to learn how to stay motivated. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can use to consistently keep yourself motivated and build resilience in your day-to-day life. 

Form good habits
We all have regular habits we do, like exercising or playing a sport, watching a certain TV show or walking the dog. These are small things that are routine and become habits, which is perfectly okay as it always good to have some form of routine, but it is also good to be more intentional about your daily habits. This simply means finding impactful and effective things to incorporate into the daily habits that help you to grow mentally. For example, you can listen to a short informational and motivational podcast while you get ready for school, you can take up regular meditation or mindfulness, or you can read one book a week. This will help you to keep yourself motivated as it engages you in small habits that make you a better person each and every day.

Set achievable goals
We all have goals that we set out for ourselves which is important, but it’s just as important to be specific and practical when setting out these goals. You also need to know how to achieve your goals – especially your larger long-term goals. One of the best ways to make your larger goals more achievable it to break it down into smaller, short-term goals that are easier to achieve. These small, short-term goals also contribute to building your resilience and keeping you motivated. The reason behind this is that you can see more immediate results from setting small goals, whereas long-term goals will take a lot more time to achieve. If you are not seeing the results that you want sooner, it opens up the door to you becoming demotivated and losing resilience. 

Examples of short-term goals include setting a set number of books to read or videos to watch about something you want to pursue in the future, or saving a small amount of money every week from your pocket money to grow a substantial savings account that you can access in the future.

Find a mentor
Another highly beneficial way to help build your resilience and self-motivation is to get a one-to-one mentor. Mentors help you to find ways to better yourself and they can help you to mould your character in ways you may not be able to do by yourself. Mentors also provide a useful platform to talk about and get advice on your future plans for your career and academics as well as other personal development goals you may want to explore. Mentors can also provide you with good references and recommend other people or organisations who can help you with your future aspirations. If you aren’t sure where to find a good mentor, you can always talk to your parents to help you find a mentor and GT Scholars also offers impactful mentoring programmes to help you reach your goals.

Keep a journal
It’s important to keep track of your goals, aspirations, dreams, and plans. This helps you to see the progress that you make which can motivate you to keep going. Having a journal is one way to keep track of all the things you are doing or planning. You can update it daily or do a weekly account of how far you got with achieving the plans you set out for the week. In your journal, you can also have your long-term goals set out so that you can always refer back to them to remind yourself of where you are wanting to go with your future. You can even create a timeline for your goals so that you can make sure that you are on the right path that you have set out for yourself.

Join after-school activities
Participating in after-school programmes or extracurricular activities help you to engage with other young people and build on your social skills. This can help you to develop self-motivation and resilience. These extracurricular activities also help to grow other personal skills and also expose you to different aspects of life beyond the confines of school and your existing everyday activities. There are so many different extracurricular activities to choose from, from debate teams to sports to volunteering – the options are plentiful and you are sure to find something to pique your interest. You must always remember that learning is not limited to the classroom but comes in many other forms that can really shape you as an individual and help you to realise the options available to you. 

Building resilience and staying motivated is an important part of your growth. When you think of your growth, you should think of it like a city that has many avenues, buildings, stores and a world of other engaging things to discover and learn about. So let your growth be something that you can fully engage in and explore. This will let you enjoy the journey of building resilience and self-motivation you need to achieve the best for yourself. 

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.

Should We Focus on Schools or The Home to Improve Social Mobility?

Should We Focus on Schools or The Home to Improve Social Mobility?

What's new?

With a leadership election and a cabinet reshuffle looming, the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP’s speech at a Reform event last week on social mobility will likely be his last. It continued to be shaped around his flagship “seven key truths about social mobility” that he pioneered while chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility. It focused on five areas of disadvantage: ethnicity, language, place, the home and childhood adversity. Most significantly, Hinds placed emphasis on the influence of the home (“the last taboo in public policy”) that he had noted a year previous as having the strongest influence on disadvantage. But what was new in this speech, what will be the legacy of Theresa May’s Government on social mobility and where does the future lie?

Home is where the disadvantage is
A heavy emphasis was placed by Hinds on early-stage development – if, what and how children are taught in the home via their parents. Hinds used an eye-opening statistic: Children who experience parental disengagement at home are the equivalent of nine grades lower across eight GCSE subjects than their peers. The promise on how this will be resolved was an ambiguous, but not “patronising and lecturing” programme to help support parents that will arrive in July. This follows on from Hinds’ promise last year, made during his first few months as Secretary of State for Education at the Resolution Foundation, that the development of apps to help parents create a home learning environment for children would be encouraged. The result of that reached its first stage in February 2019, where parents in 12 pilot areas across the country were given interactive learning tools and tips via text message to help support their children’s early language and literacy development. 

There was also a heavy emphasis on mental health, with Hinds celebrating the increased attention given to the issue across all cross-sections of society. Mental health is a much-needed area of focus that has also been given heavy significance by the review of the Government’s Children in Need policy paper, which focuses on the most vulnerable children. Measures announced to support children included a plan to ensure new teachers in England are trained in how to spot the early warning signs of mental illness, with better sharing of information between councils and schools and tackling of absence and exclusions. 

The elephants in the room
Yet the elephants in the room were apparent: positive and encouraging moves in early stage development and mental health are only being hindered in other ways. Hundreds of children’s centres which are key support systems for disadvantaged families and key environments for early investment in children are being closed across the UK as a result of cuts to council funding. Total school spending per pupil has also fallen by 8% between 2009-10 and 2017-18, and schools have only been too vocal about the limit this has placed on support staff such as school counsellors in what has been deemed a “mental health crisis” in schools.

Too cool for school
While Hinds is correct when he states that “schools cannot do everything”, they are just as character-forming and as developmental a space as the home. When schools remain underfunded, they won’t be able to even meet the margins of their responsibilities towards disadvantaged students, and most importantly the generations of disadvantaged students of today who are too late to garner the benefits of early development initiatives. Without adequate levels of funding for schools and local councils, the positives of the Government’s measures will only be cancelled out.

This is viewed only too clearly through the establishment of the Pupil Premium, brought in in 2011 as a grant to help schools in England decrease the attainment gap for the most disadvantaged children. Despite this, school funding has been cut back since 2010 and according to Education Datalab, in 2017, the attainment gap between the long-term disadvantaged (those on Free School Meals) and other groups grew. 

There is also the argument used by the All-Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility in its 2019 report, ‘Closing the Regional Attainment Gap’, that stated that evidence was growing behind the stance that the “single most important factor” in raising a disadvantaged pupil’s attainment is the “quality of the teacher providing the instruction”. Hinds’ “seven key truths about social mobility” also points to the fact that education can break the multigenerational cycle of disadvantage and that the most important factor in education is the quality of teaching.  

But schools in England continue to face teacher shortages, with teacher-pupil ratios rising from 15.5 pupils per teacher in 2010 to 17 in 2018. Teachers also face heavy workloads, and many Science & Maths teachers were found to not have the relevant degrees. While the Education Endowment Foundation recently published new guidance for schools on where to invest the Pupil Premium and identified investment in teachers as the first tier of investment, this is limited to primary and secondary education. The needs of higher education and specifically colleges, which a high proportion of disadvantaged students attend, are neglected. 

The two sides of progress
There have, of course, been steps made towards social mobility in the past year, most notably the commitment made by UK universities to invest in programmes aimed at widening access, which Hinds challenged them to last year. There has also been an increase in awareness and interest towards apprenticeships and further research commitments to understanding social mobility and its web of influencing factors. Hinds’ commitment to exploring this web of factors – the complex interplay between home and school – is a positive and encouraging approach to social mobility rather than just being purely focused on academic learning. However, focusing on one to the detriment of the other is an injustice to the millions of disadvantaged students in underfunded schools today, and replacing positive initiatives solely with apps is an injustice to the millions of disadvantaged families both in the present and the future.  

Shortly before Hinds’ speech in April, the Social Mobility Commission’s annual ‘State of the Nation’ report rang loudly in the ears of all working towards social mobility with its statement that social mobility has remained stagnant for the past 4 years. As Theresa May exits No 10 with her legacy of £27bn for education in the next spending review in tatters, and the sound of leading man Boris Johnson’s pledge to ensure every secondary school in England receives at least £5,000 per pupil (despite the fact that schools are already supposed to receive a minimum of £4,800 per pupil), it remains to be seen whether progress on social mobility will be music to the Government’s ears in the future. 

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.

Great Ideas For One-to-One Tutoring Sessions

Great Ideas For One-to-One Tutoring Sessions

Volunteers What's new?

Tutoring should be a fulfilling experience for your scholar and for yourself. It should not be something that will be dreaded by your scholar and it should be something that is different from how your scholar learns at school.

With that being said, there can sometimes be a tug-of-war between trying to keep the tutoring sessions serious to complete the task at hand and making the sessions enjoyable. Creating a balance between the two is key, and once you are able to achieve that, you will find yourself looking forward to the tutoring sessions with your scholar and they will run more smoothly and effectively. 

One thing to keep in mind is to maintain your structure in terms of the content you intend to teach and the goals you have for those sessions, but be flexible in how you deliver the content and also how you interact with your scholar. Here are a few ideas you can use to keep your tutoring sessions energetic and effective.

Use icebreakers
Your first one-to-one tutoring session can be nerve-wracking for both you and your scholar. One of the ways to combat this feeling is to create or implement session icebreakers. This is a good way to get both of you comfortable and a good way to get to know a bit more about each other beyond the formalities of tutor and scholar. These icebreakers can simply be a 5-minute discussion about general topics outside of the planned content. These discussions can also help you to find the best ways to make the sessions most effective for your scholar.

Personalise your sessions
It is one thing to tutor someone, and another to tutor them effectively and produce the best results. It is important to find out more about your scholar and what they are looking to get out of your sessions and also what they want to personally achieve at school and beyond. Once you can establish a general outline for the first few sessions, you can personalise the sessions in a way which works well for both you and your scholar. 

Be supportive
Providing your scholar with support during each of your one-to-one sessions can greatly improve the way in which you interact with one another and it helps to boost their confidence. You need to be encouraging and to show them that the tutoring sessions are a safe space for them to be open about the areas or topics they struggle in. This will allow them to feel more comfortable and confident in how they approach the content you are tutoring, as well as establishing a respectful and comfortable relationship with you as their tutor. 

Encourage independent thinking
Tutoring is also important for encouraging your scholar to think independently. The idea behind this is to foster a growth mindset within your scholar so that they are able to tackle tasks independently and build their self-confidence. One way to do this is to help them to stand on their own feet and to think beyond the assistance you provide. During your tutoring sessions, you can create a short quiz or other mentally stimulating techniques that will help your scholar to build confidence in the subject and to not be dependent on your teachings alone. This will shift their perspective on how they approach topics, and it will promote their ability to think critically.

Engage your scholar
Another way to make your one-to-one tutoring sessions more productive and fun for both you and your scholar is to keep them engaged. During the session, you can get your scholar to actively participate by asking questions as the session progresses. If you only wait to ask questions at the end, you might lose their attention during the session. Keeping them engaged also creates room for them to ask any questions they may have regarding a particular topic and it allows them to better understand the topics being presented. 

Switch gears
Rather than sticking to the conventional methods of tutoring, you should use different methods to relay the information to your scholar. There are tons of learning tools available for you to use such as online videos, presentations, and other content. Introducing different learning tools makes the sessions less monotonous and more engaging, and it creates different ways for your scholar to learn and retain information. You can also get your scholar to participate by getting them to create short presentations to go over the content and pose any questions they may have for you at the end of their presentation. Furthermore, you can also incorporate the use of funny gifs or memes to get a particular point across. Just as long as it does not take away from the effectiveness of your tuition and their ability to learn, you should always explore new ways to teach your scholar.

Get their feedback
It takes two to tango, and feedback should not only be for you to give but also for you to receive from your scholar. Allow them to express and share their thoughts through feedback sessions, and be open to any constructive criticism. This feedback can then be used to learn how best to work with and for each other through your sessions.

For many scholars, learning can seem like such a task. However, your tutoring sessions should shed a different light on learning and stimulate their desire to learn. So don’t be afraid to try something new in your sessions and give you and your scholar something to always look forward 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 make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

In the Know – Take your learning outdoors!

In the Know – Take your learning outdoors!

In The Know What's new?

With July being National Picnic Month, it is the perfect opportunity for young people to head outdoors! There are also many outdoor events and activities that will have them learning something new or getting involved in something exciting and fun. Here are a few outdoor activities to get them started.

Holland Park Ecology Centre
Holland Park Ecology Centre in Kensington offers an on-going programme of free informative talks and walks on environment and wildlife topics, open days in the wildlife area, and workshops. They also offer conservation volunteering events every third Saturday of the month, with the next volunteering event taking place on Saturday 20th July. These events give your child the opportunity to get closer to nature, learn new skills, and build their CV. Find out more here

Chelsea Physic Garden
Tucked away beside the Thames, Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in London and houses around 5,000 different medicinal, herbal, edible, and useful plants. They run a range of activities for young people that will have them learning new things from paper-making to forensic biology, while also enjoying the great outdoors. Tickets for young people cost £6.50 and you can find out more here

Better Takes Action Boat Tour
On Sunday 14th of July, KEEN Footwear and Plastic Whale will be running a unique volunteer event where young people aged 11-18 will be involved in cleaning up the Regent’s Canal on kayaks. This fun volunteer opportunity will get your child closer to nature, involved in making a difference, and it will be a credit to their CV. They will also have a chance to meet inspiring environmentalists and learn more about nature conservation. 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.

How To Keep Your Scholar Interested In Their Tutoring Sessions

How To Keep Your Scholar Interested In Their Tutoring Sessions

Volunteers What's new?

Being a tutor can be one of the most satisfying and fulfilling roles a person can take on. The opportunity to get to help and guide a young person to improve academically and seeing their progress from the hours you put in during tutoring is worth the time and effort invested.

However, tutoring can sometimes be challenging when trying to keep the momentum and enthusiasm going from the first session to the last session with a scholar. But, there are a few things you can do as a tutor to avoid this or in some cases get out of this slump. Here are a few ways to keep your scholar interested in their tutoring sessions.

Understanding your Scholar
One of the best ways to avoid the disinterest of a scholar is to understand them from the get-go, including what works best for them in terms of grasping concepts and how they relate to you. A constructive way to go about this is to make sure that they are comfortable enough to be able to discuss any potential issues that may or may not arise in the time that you are tutoring them. To do this, you need to create a safe space for your sessions. In creating this safe space, it is also important to establish boundaries with your scholar regarding respect for your role and understanding that there are also rules to ensure that you can do your best as their tutor.

Mutual Feedback
Another avenue to explore is having regular feedback sessions with your scholar. These can focus on one of two aspects. The first aspect is where you ask them how they are finding the tutoring sessions with you and if you are engaging them enough and relaying your knowledge well enough that they are able to comprehend everything. This can be done after your session or you can get them to fill out a questionnaire you’ve prepared via email correspondence. This will let you know where you stand as a tutor and whether the way in which you approach the sessions is working.

The second aspect is where you give them feedback on their progress and the areas you feel they should work on outside of the tutoring sessions. How you approach this feedback session is very important and this is where understanding your scholar also plays in. Some scholars are sensitive to constructive criticism, which can be due to a lack of confidence. So it is important that you give them feedback in the friendliest way possible. It’s also important to reward and praise any progress made. If they feel that you as a tutor don’t see or acknowledge the strides that they are making, it can cause a nonchalant approach towards future sessions and work assigned to them.

Switch Gears
During your time as their tutor, it would be good to implement different approaches to each session in order to keep boredom and disinterest at bay. Incorporating fun but effective elements to the sessions such as interactive games or quizzes can create new ways of learning topics. As long as they do not distract from the learning, these activities foster a positive environment for your scholar to flourish and learn.

When it comes to the structure of the sessions, it is good to be consistent but it’s also important to make sure it’s interactive and inviting. If they enjoy the session, it makes the task at hand easier to approach and the learning more effective. Other elements that you can look into are visual elements such as pictures, GIFs and memes that are related to the topic. You can also use short videos and other activities that stimulate the brain. This will ensure that your scholar leaves your tutoring sessions feeling enlightened and energised.

The Scholar becomes the Master
“But I’m the tutor!” Yes, you most certainly are. This role reversal simply means that you designate the last few minutes to let your scholar teach you what you have taught them in that session. This helps the scholar revise what they have learnt and it also helps you to determine how they are grasping and handling the content you are teaching them. It doesn’t have to be the entire session’s work, but key components of the session that you want to make sure they have understood.

This can also be a spur-of-the-moment test to help them develop their ability to think on their feet and build their confidence in the subject. It also pushes them to revise their work more so that they are not caught off guard in future sessions. This exercise is also beneficial to you as the tutor as you get to observe how effective your tutoring has been and how to improve on it. It fosters growth for both you and your scholar.

Have Patience
Having patience when tutoring a scholar is one of the most important necessities. Some scholars require more time to grasp concepts than others, so you need to be patient with them. Having patience also allows you to take a step back and be more understanding and accommodating of your scholar and it sets the tone between the two of you. It will show them that you are happy to help them and it will encourage them when they are struggling. Patience also goes a long way for many scholars and it is a contributing factor to how your scholar participates and adjusts to your tutoring over the course of the programme.

Tutoring is a rewarding experience that positively impacts you and your scholar in more ways than one. If you feel like you would like to help in making a difference in the lives of young people, then you definitely should volunteer to be a GT Scholars tutor.

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.

7 Useful Skills You Can Develop Through Volunteer Mentoring

7 Useful Skills You Can Develop Through Volunteer Mentoring

Volunteers What's new?

Volunteer mentoring is a rewarding role that offers the opportunity to really make a tangible and effective difference in the lives of young people. Volunteer mentors receive a real sense of purpose and many other emotional paybacks from their work.

Together with these rewards, volunteer mentors also learn valuable new skills and experiences that they can apply to their career or personal life. Here a 7 useful skills that you can gain from volunteer mentoring.

Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity and ability to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions effectively. Emotional intelligence affects all areas of your life, especially with regards to handling interpersonal relationships and displaying empathy. As a mentor, you have to listen to your mentee and empathise with their situation. You have to put yourself in their shoes so that you can understand what they are going through and relate it to yourself. You will then have to communicate your understanding in an effective way so that they feel like their feelings are being acknowledged and appreciated. These interactions will build up your emotional intelligence and help you to handle all interpersonal relationships well. In a work environment, this skill will be especially useful when working in a team or with your colleagues in general. It will help you to lead team discussions, resolve and avoid conflicts, and ensure that everyone is cooperating and working together effectively.  

Leadership and Management Skills
As a mentor, you are put in a position of authority and you are looked upon as a role model and a source of guidance. Though this may seem daunting, being a role model teaches you important leadership and management lessons such as responsibility, effective communication, time management, and accountability. It is your responsibility as a mentor to ensure that mentoring sessions take place on schedule, that discussions are productive, and that desired outcomes are reached. It is also your responsibility to motivate your mentee and ensure that they feel supported. These skills will help you manage your work tasks well which will show employers that you are responsible enough to take on leadership roles. 

Adaptability
As a mentor, you will usually work with a different mentee every term or year. This will expose you to a wide range of various young people with different personalities, talents, and aspirations. They will also be from different backgrounds and face different challenges in their everyday life. Through this, you will learn how to adapt your mentoring sessions to the young person specifically. This will build your adaptability skills which will make you more versatile and make it easier for you to work under change or pressure, which is something valued by employers. This exposure to different people will also build interpersonal skills and that will help you to relate to different types of people. This is valuable in the workplace as you will be interacting with many different people from various departments and companies, and also from various cultures and nationalities. 

Self-Reflection and Self-Evaluation
Volunteer mentoring and listening to a young person’s thoughts and feelings will put you in a position to reflect on your own life. You will use your own life and the decisions you made to mentor the young person, setting examples of good and bad responses, reactions, and decisions. Reflecting on yourself allows you to become more self-aware and better at making future decisions. It allows you to pause and evaluate yourself to make sure that you are doing the right thing, and it makes you more aware of the consequences of your actions so that you will now know how to prevent negative outcomes. For example, if you know that a certain habit or behaviour has negative effects on your colleagues or friends, then you will learn to work on changing this habit or behaviour. Self-evaluation is an important part of personal development and it will have positive effects on various aspects of your life.

Resilience
Resilience is about keeping a positive attitude in the face of adversity, and it is often related to self-confidence and self-belief. It is one of the main skills you will teach a young person as a volunteer mentor. It is an important skill that will help them to face current and future challenges, keep a clear mind when dealing with adversity, and to never give up. As a volunteer mentor, you will set a good example by building up your own resilience and believing in yourself. This will greatly increase your confidence which will improve the way you work and interact with people. 

Developing a Personal Brand
As a volunteer mentor, you will be delivering a consistent message to young people that you have developed from your own life, your past decisions, and your experiences. This consistent message will become a personal brand that will be easily identifiable to your mentee. A personal brand will show others that you are someone who has specific skills and talents. It will make you stand out to employers and colleagues and it will make you more confident in yourself and more charismatic. Developing a personal brand is also helpful to entrepreneurs as it will help develop your business identity and to network with other businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Problem Solving
During mentoring sessions, your mentee will usually approach you with a problem or situation that they are facing or not sure how to deal with. They will come to you for encouragement but more importantly for advice and effective solutions. This builds up your problem-solving skills. It will teach you how to look at a problem with objectivity, to find a solution for the problem, and to find a way to prevent the problem from happening again. This skill is something that you will definitely need for any workplace in any career. Even if your work is straightforward and easy, you will eventually face challenges in some way or form that you will need to solve. If you have good problem-solving skills, you will be able to show employers that you can solve a range of challenges, and you will also show them that you can solve challenges without their help. This independence will show them that you are capable and efficient.  

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the skills that you can gain from volunteering as a mentor. You will find even more useful skills and tools that you can apply to both your career and personal life. 

If you would like to help a young person between the ages of 14 and 18 to achieve their career or personal aspirations, then contact us to find out how you can join our after-school mentoring programme. Our mentoring programme welcomes volunteer mentors from various career fields and backgrounds. Visit our website to find out more.

In the Know – STEM events this Summer!

In the Know – STEM events this Summer!

In The Know What's new?

After all the exams and assignments, we’re sure your child is looking forward to having a great summer filled with fun activities. Summer is also a great time to learn something new, so here are a few more fun activities that they can fit in that will have them exploring the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Great Exhibition Road Festival at Imperial College
The Great Exhibition Road Festival is a free 3-day celebration of curiosity, discovery and exploration. Institutions on and around Exhibition Road collaborate to bring together science and the arts in a unique programme of creative workshops, talks, exhibitions and performances for the whole family. Festival activities will take place on and around Exhibition Road in South Kensington on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June from 11am to 5pm. Find out more here.

Into Space
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, Kevin Fong returns to the Royal Institution, to take us on a journey from planet Earth to low orbit and beyond. He’ll also explore human survival against all the odds by discussing how to survive in space. The event is suitable for 12-18 year olds and will be taking place on Monday 22nd July from 6pm. Find out more here.

Mega Maker Lab
The Institute of Imagination is running a summer exhibition dedicated to invention and innovation, where young people aged 11-12 can tinker, experiment and be inspired by science and technology. There are five creative zones to explore that are designed to inspire creativity, invention, and making. The exhibition begins on Thursday 1st August at The Workshop in Lambeth. Tickets cost £5 with discounts 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.