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

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

Volunteers What's new?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An Interview with a Parent

Our Impact What's new?

As part of the scholar spotlight series, we interviewed a parent of one of the scholars on our Bright Ambitions programme. Please listen to the audio clip above for the full interview. You can also find the transcript below. 

How did you find out about GT Scholars?
We found out about GT Scholars because we were looking for originally a tutoring programme for my daughter. We saw GT Scholars advertised, I asked around, no one had heard about it and on a day trip to Croydon, we saw some signs and some posters. It looked fabulous. I went to contact the Head of the programme, had a long discussion about it, just to discover their ethos and their mindset about tutoring and enhancing children’s capabilities, and I really liked the programme. We went for an interview, it was a nice interview and not only did they interview us, we interviewed them actually and we were quite pleased and that is how we started. And that was about 4 years ago we have come up to.

Why did you choose GT Scholars over any other programmes that you could have gone for?
I looked around quite widely and I decided to go with GT Scholars for a few main reasons.  Firstly I like the ethos. It has a holistic approach to developing a child, not just focused on the academic grades, just building confidence and resilience. And also, I was quite concerned about the mental challenges and the mental aspects of learning today. The way GT Scholars approach learning and developing is quite a nice approach and it’s an approach I really welcomed.

What difference have you seen in your daughter after she joined the programme?
The impact of the programme I’ve seen on my child is that prior to the programme, I think stress was beginning to manifest itself in just delivering grades, grades, grades, and obviously I as a parent was trying to tell my child that it’s just not about the grades even though the grades are really important, it’s about developing everything. Obviously, the children of today don’t really want to listen to just the parents only.

During the programme, basically, you just hear the same messages that each parent is trying to instil in their child coming from a variety of different voices. So you have the tutor saying the same thing, you have the mentor, you the enrichment, they say the same thing and actually slowly but surely, it started to sink in.

How it manifested itself or the impact it gave on my child was that I could see confidence building. Slowly but surely she was actually replaying the same messages that she was hearing from all of these various areas back to me. Her grades were improving, slowly but surely she was looking forward to her sessions, where I at the beginning definitely saw fear but now it was, it was sort of excitement. And she looked forward to the enrichment days because I always went with her, I hung around outside, I attended some enrichment days. And towards the end, she was hoping, actually, that I didn’t sit in with her. That was also a positive sign.

What has your experience been with the organisation as a whole?
So I feel as a parent I also get support from the GT Scholars programme. There’s the official feedback sessions you have at the end of the term, which you can, a member of the GT Scholars will phone you and have a discussion with you or you can write your feedback in. I think that’s really worthwhile and that just gives you the sort of official line to see whether your child is progressing.

In between that, you also have administrative help from the GT Scholars team, actually probably every fortnight I hear from a member of the GT Scholars team, who will ask you how the program is going, is there anything you need to do, what are you looking for, have your goals been achieved or have they been met, would you like to attend the next term, again what your goals, so I feel that it’s more of a family, again, a holistic approach to developing my child which I am really supportive of. I wouldn’t like to attend a tutoring programme where they just took my money and said right we’ve given you, we’ve taught your child academically, thank you very much, get on with it. I find that the GT Scholars approach supports the parents and the child as well.

What would you say to a parent thinking of signing up for a GT Scholars programme?
To a parent who is thinking of signing up to GT Scholars, I would say, please just do it. It’s really beneficial. The mentoring, tutoring, the support you get is second to none and you’re not going to get that anywhere else. I have researched extensively. It helps your child‘s development at any stage. Near exams, you can focus on the exams itself. Pre-exams you can just help develop your child. It’s beneficial, you have nothing to lose really by joining GT Scholars programme.

Do you have any final thoughts that you would like to include?
I’ve looked into tutoring, all of the aspects of tutoring, tutoring itself is really expensive, mentoring is expensive, enrichment days, are for me, extortionately expensive. GT Scholars is a much more cost-effective way of developing your child and that’s why I would thoroughly recommend the programme.

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 – Explore the creative world!

In the Know – Explore the creative world!

In The Know What's new?

The creative world offers many opportunities to young people from rewarding career paths to useful outlets for expression. This week we have lined up three diverse activities that will allow them to explore their creative side and gain valuable skills and new experiences.

British Museum – Make a Manga Comic
This one hour workshop will give your child the opportunity to design their own comic inspired by the British Museum’s collection of Japanese manga. They will get to develop digital art skills to create characters and invent stories at the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre. This free workshop is for 11 to 16-year-olds and you can find out more here.

The Ideas Foundation
The Ideas Foundation is a creative community for 11 to 18-year-olds where anyone with ideas is welcome. They run one-day programmes, online media camps, and creative camps to give your child a taste of life in the world of design, advertising, and tech. They also have a student resources page to download free tools, templates and tips from some of the biggest brands in the creative industry. Find out more here.

Victoria & Albert Museum – Discovering Architecture
The V&A Museum presents their free activity backpacks for young people to explore the V&A through creative and fun activities. Their Discovering Architecture backpack for 11 to 12-year-olds will give your child the opportunity to learn about architectural drawings, colour, ‘connecting spaces’, light and materials, then construct a model and draw their own building. 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 – Summer volunteer opportunities!

In the Know – Summer volunteer opportunities!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Volunteering for a local cause or charity provides useful skills to young people, while also increasing their social responsibility and community involvement. Volunteer experience can also be used to build their CV. Here are three interesting volunteering opportunities that your child can get involved in this summer.

Reading Mentor
Westminster Libraries are looking for volunteer reading mentors from the age of 14 to help deliver their Summer Reading Challenge. This is a national reading initiative which encourages children to read for fun over the summer holidays. Volunteers will help with talking to children about the books they have been reading, encouraging them to share their views and ideas, preparing for events and promotions and assisting with administration. You will need to fill in an online application by the 19th of July and you can find out more here.

Youth Panel Member
The Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill is looking for young people aged 14 to 19 who want to get their voice heard or gain experience in producing and marketing youth events. The panel meets regularly to plan exciting events and help the museum become more youth-friendly. Panel members will also work with artists and do lots of other behind-the-scenes things. You will need to apply by the 5th of July and you can find out more here.

Youth Worker
Highgate & Holloway Woodcraft Folk are looking for enthusiastic volunteers from the age of 16 to get involved in games and outdoor activities, organise arts and crafts, and facilitate interesting discussions with the children they work with. Skills that you will develop include creativity, resilience, teamwork, communication and confidence. Applications close on the 14th of July and you can find out more here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Apprenticeships at top companies!

In the Know – Apprenticeships at top companies!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Leading social mobility charity, The Sutton Trust, reports that good quality apprenticeships offer lifetime earnings on average better than many degree courses. They also offer the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’, gain marketplace value skills and a foot on the career ladder. Here are three good quality apprenticeships for school-leavers at top companies in the country.

The EY Business Apprenticeship
EY offers apprenticeship opportunities in four areas of their business – assurance, tax, transactions and consulting. In each programme, you have the chance to drive lasting change, take advantage of new technology and help build a better working world from day one. You will also complete the CFAB qualification leading to a full qualification through the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Applications for the September 2018 intake are still open and you can find out more here.

KPMG360° Apprenticeship
KPMG offers rotational apprenticeship programmes for school and college leavers. It gives ambitious, free-thinking young people the chance to work with some of the very best and brightest people in the business world. By ‘rotational’, they simply mean you get to move around different areas of the organisation, gaining invaluable insights, work experience and professional qualifications along the way. Applications for the October 2018 intake are still open and you can find out more here.

Amazon Apprenticeships
Ranging from Operations Fulfilment to Engineering & Facilities to IT, Amazon is the perfect place to start your career with a range of apprenticeship opportunities to suit different candidates with different backgrounds and career aspirations. Their apprenticeship schemes are aimed at ambitious young people who have a passion for learning new skills and who want to start their career now. Find out more about these programmes and how to apply here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Ideas for the summer!

In the Know – Ideas for the summer!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Summertime is all about having fun, but it can also be the perfect time for your child to improve their grades, learn something new, or prepare for university during the long summer holiday. Here are three fun summer activities we have found that your child might be interested in.

Study in the USA!
Ever considered studying abroad? Fullbright Commission’s Study in the USA Seminar on the 26th of June offers a complete overview of the undergraduate admissions process as well as funding opportunities. The seminar will take place at the University of Notre Dame in London from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. Registration needs to be done in advance. Find out more here.

Stemettes Hackathon
In association with Oracle, the STEMettes Hackathon is a great platform for girls between the ages of 5 and 22 to put their ideas into action and have fun with computer science. This event is free and will take place on 23rd of June from 10am to 5pm at London Connected Learning Centre. Find out more and how to register here.

Digital Photography Summer School
Ravensbourne is running a 3-day creative Photography Summer School from 9th to 11th of July. This course is free and open for young people between the ages of 14 to 18. The course will give young people the chance to explore opportunities to study photography in a higher education setting. Pictures can be done with a smartphone but digital SLR cameras will also be provided. For more information and how to enrol click here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Work experience and CV-building resources!

In the Know – Work experience and CV-building resources!

In The Know Parents What's new?

To get into the university or career that they want, young people need to have a CV that displays well-rounded experience, resilience and the ability to balance different activities. Together with extracurricular activities, work experience is needed to build a CV like this. It is also important for young people to start joining work experience programmes early on and not wait until they turn 16. Here are three activities to help young people find work experience and build their CV.

Project Accelerate, Saturday 16th June 2018
GT Scholars is hosting an event to help young people (ages 14-18) build their CV and find work experience. Your child will learn first hand from experienced professionals that have worked in top corporations and have been on both sides of the talent selection process. Each workshop taking place on the day aims to give your child a huge amount of resources and tips to help them continue to develop their CV and find the best work experience opportunities and internships to give them a head start in their career. The event is taking place from 10am to 4pm at Goldsmiths University. Book your place here.

Prospects
Prospects is an organisation that helps guide students to a bright future with insightful information, advice and opportunities. As well as being able to search for work experience, apprenticeships, graduate jobs, internships and postgraduate courses, they provide careers advice written by specialist professional advisers, as well as a range of tailored tools such as their career planner, which matches your skills and interests with job profiles to suit you. Find out more here.

VisualCV
VisualCV helps you to create a CV that is designed to stand out and always make the right first impression. You get to choose from a variety of industry-approved templates that includes all the necessary information, create multiple profile versions for different applications, and you can track the results to let you know when your resume is viewed or downloaded. You can even edit your CV on your mobile device. Find out more here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Exciting STEM opportunities!

In the Know – Exciting STEM opportunities!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics offer fascinating learning experiences and rewarding career opportunities. In fact, STEM jobs are expected to grow at double the rate of other occupations creating 142,000 jobs between now and 2023, according to a report published by the Social Market Foundation and EDF. Here are three exciting opportunities for young people interested in learning more about STEM.

Routes into STEM
These innovative 3-day non-residential courses are focused on helping young people in Years 9 and 10 know more about the rewarding and challenging careers Maths and Science subjects can lead to. You will also get to engage with a college, a university and a company to compare routes into STEM careers and visualise your dream career and how to make it happen. Applications are currently open and there are bursaries available. Find out more here.

She Does Biomaths Competition
To celebrate the Year of Mathematical Biology, the University of Cambridge Newnham College and Lucy Cavendish College are inviting female GCSE students and to explore some of the intriguing connections between mathematics and the biological sciences. The competition is open to girls studying at a standard age UK state school who are starting Year 11 or Year 12 in September 2018, and there are two projects that they can choose from. Applications are open now and you can find out more here.

Inspire Courses
The Engineering Development Trust offers courses for young people in Year 11 who have a passion for STEM to be inspired at a leading UK university. During the course, you will be introduced to engineering or science through project work and workshops to give you a flavour of what to expect at university, and you will get to meet engineers, scientists, researchers and professionals. There are non-residential and residential options available, with bursaries also available. Applications are still open and you can find out more here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Upcoming scholarship opportunities!

In the Know – Upcoming scholarship opportunities!

In The Know Parents What's new?

University can be quite expensive, but there are many different ways young people can access funding for tuition, accommodation or books. One such way is through a scholarship programme. Here are three scholarship opportunities that are currently open for young people looking to join an undergraduate engineering programme at a university.

The Kingsbury Scholarship
The Kingsbury Scholarship is a highly prestigious engineering scholarship aimed at bright and dynamic students who intend to study at Imperial College London. With a total value of £20,000 per year for up to 4 years, eligible candidates must also agree to take part in one or more internships or work placements in a UK engineering industry, either before their start at Imperial, as part of their course, or in two or more summer breaks. Online applications must be submitted no later than 5pm on Thursday, 1st June 2018. Find out more here.

Chris Seymour Bursary
The Chris Seymour Bursary aims to support one UK female student in financial need who wants to study electronic or electrical engineering at University College London. The award will be £10,416 per year, based on a three-year programme and is subject to satisfactory academic progress. Applicants must hold an offer of admission to UCL to study a full-time undergraduate degree within the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences. The deadline for the application is Friday, 6th July 2018 at 5pm. Find out more here.

IGEM Undergraduate Scholarship
The Institute of Gas Engineers & Managers Undergraduate Scholarship is open to students who currently hold a conditional or unconditional offer for an undergraduate Engineering Council accredited course at any university in the UK. Successful students will receive up to £9,000 for full-time study. Renewal of the funding after the first year is conditional on satisfactory progress being made. Applications must be submitted by Saturday, 30th June 2018. Find out more here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Explore the world of journalism and media!

In the Know – Explore the world of journalism and media!

In The Know Parents What's new?

A career in journalism is a rewarding and exhilarating experience. You get to explore what is happening in your community, city or around the world, and you get to investigate interesting stories and events. Once you find your story, you then use your writing skills to report on these current happenings for the greater good. Here are a few opportunities for young people who want to explore a career in this industry.

The Young Journalists’ Academy
The Young Journalists’ Academy is a unique week-long programme aimed at inspiring and training the newsmakers of tomorrow. In partnership with some of the world’s leading media organisations, the YJA gives aspiring journalists the skills and the contacts they need to kick-start their careers in the media. The academy takes place in the summer where young people will focus on honing their skills as a journalist and take a step into the world of publishing. Applications are now open for 2018 and you can find out more here.

Transforming Hidden Talent Programme
Media Trust’s Transforming Hidden Talent programme creates amazing opportunities for young people in London who are interested in the media and creative industries. By connecting 16-25 year olds with top organisations, the programme gives an inside view of what it’s like working in the media industry. Each young person is also matched with an experienced professional working in the creative or media industry for one-to-one personalised career support. Find out more here.

BBC iReporter
The new interactive BBC iReporter game gives young people aged 11 to 18 the chance to take on the role of a journalist in the BBC newsroom. It is a “choose your own adventure” game, created by Aardman Animations, which challenges you to make your own decisions on which sources, political claims, social media comments and pictures should be trusted as you contribute to the day’s news output. Find out more here.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.