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.

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.