Meet one of our Volunteer Mentors – Sophie Germain

Meet one of our Volunteer Mentors – Sophie Germain

Private tuition Private tutors Volunteers What's new?

Who are the volunteer mentors of GT Scholars? Every once in a while we conduct an interview with one of our amazing volunteers so we can introduce them to you and share the good work they have been doing. Our volunteers form a crucial part of GT Scholars and their charitable deeds never goes unnoticed. We spoke to the lovely Sophie Germain to find out her views on social mobility and what she enjoys most about volunteering with GT Scholars.

Could you tell us about what led you to volunteering as a mentor with GT Scholars??
I try to explore a different area each year and I felt that volunteering with teenagers is one of the demographics I have not worked with before. I wanted to do something that was accessible to a lot of people and that was not limited to only a certain area you live in, the school you go to etc.

What are some of your opinions about social mobility?
In London, a perceived good area and a not so good area can be found in a commutable distance from one another. There are a lot of things to see and do and a lot is available for free. Perhaps in smaller towns, this mix is harder to find. Also once you’ve passed the stage of institutional education and you’ve started your career you are less likely to be type-casted based on where you went to school and it’s more about your experience. I went to a state school and some of my friends were in private schools but both groups have ended up in equivalent positions. Sometimes if you have a plan and you are dedicated to it, it is easier to achieve a particular goal if you have access to the correct information and the right people around you. However, there are certain historical and cultural issues that are still at play today that puts up barriers for some people. For example, an issue like the gender pay gap review due to male dominated boardrooms and industries. Balancing this will take a long time and to do it in a way that is fairer.

How did you come to this conclusion?
London has quite a high diversity level and when I was growing up it was common for children to socialise with other children who have a very different background to their own. In regards to gender, changes in attitude need to come from men and women. Including better grounds for the way children are raised and not pigeonholing them based on aspects such as gender. It also requires being open-minded in recruiting positions to not focus on gender, race, economic background, social circles etc.

What would you tell someone who is considering volunteering with GT Scholars?
It is a well-operated volunteer programme so I would recommend people to get involved. You get the chance to share new ideas and methods of learning with a young person who can benefit from it. It is nice to hear the dreams of a young person and help them to access the tools that they need to achieve them.

What do you enjoy the most about being a volunteer at GT Scholars? Well, it is early days for me because I have only done two terms so far. I would like to get more involved in the open days. But I would say that I enjoyed giving my mentees a positive outlook on what can be achieved. For some people, teenage years can be quite difficult to go through. I tell my mentees about the different perspective of other people and prepare them to have the skills to deal with other people’s opinions and encourage them to be focused.

What is your message or advice to young people of today?

I would suggest that they try as many new things as they can whilst they are young. This helps to build up experience, meet different people and get familiar with what they like and dislike. I would also advise not to become overburdened with things and take the time to learn what brings them inner peace, as I think it is an important part of getting to know oneself. Don’t be overly judgemental and learn how to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle.

As a Kingston University graduate, I can apply the skills that I’ve learned and I can also share the passion of what the core company is. I study philosophy in my spare time and enjoy staying fit.

Sophie enjoys her professional career as it falls in her line of interest and previous studies. She works for AEG Europe as an analyst in the live sports and music industry. Her company offers a Giving Back Day to employees for volunteering.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

In the Know – Activities for British Science Week 2018!

In the Know – Activities for British Science Week 2018!

In The Know Parents What's new?

British Science Week is an annual ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths, featuring entertaining and engaging events and activities across the UK for young people and adults. Below are some of these activities to get your child excited about science this week.

British Science Week Poster Competition
Creative students can immerse themselves in science by taking part in this poster competition. The theme for this year is exploration and discovery, and there is an array of great prizes up for grabs. Students can enter individually or as a team, with help from their school. In the senior category, entrants must be in Year 7 to 9. There is still time to submit your poster as the closing date for entries is Friday the 6th of April 2018. Find out more here.

App Design Workshop
This free workshop is for young aspirational app designers between the ages of 10 and 14. At this event, they will learn more about designing digital products and software, and by the end of the workshop, they would have produced their first app prototype to present to the group. Additionally, they will also learn about presentation skills and practice. The event is taking place tomorrow, Saturday the 17th of March 2018 from 9.30am to 5pm at the Woolwich Centre Library. Find out more here.

Zoom In: A Closer Look at Science
Part of the Science Week programme at the British Museum, this free event promises to be interesting. You will get a chance to meet the Museum’s scientists and conservators, and take a closer look at work that goes on behind the scenes. You will also discover how science unlocks objects’ secrets, learn about techniques used to preserve objects for future generations, and see the latest technology in action. The event is taking place tomorrow, Saturday the 17th of March 2018 from 10am to 4pm at the Great Court in the British Museum. 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.

In the Know – Apprenticeship opportunities to kick-start your career!

In the Know – Apprenticeship opportunities to kick-start your career!

In The Know Parents What's new?

An apprenticeship gives young people hands-on experience, a salary and the opportunity to train while they work, and is available across a wide range of industries and organisations, from local businesses to large national brands. Here are some resources for your child to find out more about apprenticeships or to find the perfect apprenticeship to kick-start their career.

Get In, Go Far
With government funding of apprenticeship schemes increasing every year, this is their official apprenticeships website. You can search thousands of vacancies from great companies in a range of industries, from engineering to nursing, and law to design. The levels of apprenticeship on offer range from level 2 (equivalent to GCSE) right up to higher and degree apprenticeships. There are also great resources for parents to learn more about apprenticeships. Find out more here.

Future Talent
This online resource is specifically designed for school and college leavers looking for their next step, whether that is an apprenticeship, school leaver programme, entry-level job, or a sponsored learning programme. Their platform is easy to use and you can discover, search and apply for a variety of different opportunities. They also provide advice about applying for roles and insights into what it’s like working in different industries. You can register for free here.

The Apprenticeship Guide
The Apprenticeship Guide contains concise summaries of every apprenticeship framework offered in England, plus general careers advice, real-life stories, a regional directory of training providers and much more. The Guide is fully revised and updated annually, as the world of apprenticeships changes constantly as new schemes are created and old schemes are revised. Take a look for yourself 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.

Think you don’t need maths tutoring? Think again!

Think you don’t need maths tutoring? Think again!

Growth mindset Post 16 Private tuition University What's new? Young people

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a restaurant. A waiter walks over to your table to take your order, “One double cheeseburger, a medium chips and a regular coke, please”, the waiter jots down the order and reads it back to you, you nod, satisfied and he walks off. As you sit there waiting for your food, the restaurant starts to fill up, a family of four take the table to your left. A young couple is guided to a table directly in front of you. There is a group of ladies; celebrating a bachelorette party, fourteen in total guided to a collection of tables lined up in the centre of the room.

More people come and a few leave as you sit there an hour later and still no food. You notice that the young couple, sitting opposite from you, is staring lovingly into each other’s eyes over two orders of delicious looking ribs and mashed potatoes. You look at the table with the bachelorette and her posse, where one of the ladies is making a toast as the others enjoy an array of starters.

You look to the family of four, study their frowns, their “plateless” table and think to yourself at least you are not alone; they too, are victims of this appalling service. At least that is until your waiter arrives at their table, their orders on a tray. Fuming now, you wait until they are served and then call your waiter over to your table. “What in the world is going on, where is my food?” you demand. The waiter looks at you as if you are crazy, absolutely bonkers, “What are you talking about sir, the chef is starting on your order as we speak?”

“Starting, he is only starting!” You shout, shocked by the complete disregard for you, the casual dismissiveness of your waiter’s answer and the outright injustice of it all. “I’ve been here for over an hour, most of the people you have served came after me, I was first and yet they get their food before me…” “So what?” your waiter says, cutting you off mid-sentence. Of course, you can’t believe what he just said; you are at a loss for words. Your waiter looks toward three of his colleagues approaching, trays overloaded with soft drinks, ten double cheeseburgers and eighteen medium packets of chips

Your waiter smiles, “Here comes your order sir,” he tells you. “This is not my order,” you say as the three waiters carrying the trays begin to offload on your table. “What do you mean sir?” Your waiter seems genuinely surprised, “Did you not order, double cheeseburgers, medium chips and cokes.” “I ordered one double cheeseburger, one medium chips and one regular coke, not this mess.”  You are yelling now, beyond boiling point. “But sir, what difference does it make, whether we serve you first or last, two cheeseburgers or ten?” Your waiter asks sincerely, “Are you not the one who said, you do not need math?” You just sit there, unable to speak. “Oh yes, and this meal will cost you two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds. Now is that going to be cash or card?”

Ok, I admit that this is a bit extreme, or is it? Shakuntala Devi once wrote: “Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.”

I want you to ask yourself, what do you want for your future? Do you hope to own a house someday, own a car? Well, those come with payments like taxes, mortgage, and insurance and you will need math to calculate those or risk paying too much, two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds for a cheeseburger as an example.

How about your career of choice? Math is needed for almost every single profession in the world. If you want to be a biologist, archaeologist, an attorney or work as a cashier at Tesco, it is without a doubt that numbers will be part and parcel of the job. Basically, you will never be able to live without math so accept it and try to make learning math fun.

A friend once told me, “I want to be a photographer, what do I need to know about calculus or trigonometry?” Well, that is quite simple actually, a photographer will need to calculate the depth of field, determine the correct film speed, shutter speed, aperture, and exposure, and so much more.

Do you like playing video games, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, and others? Do you have a few killer ideas that you just know will make great games? If so, guess what? Math is a necessity. Aspiring video game programmers will need to study trigonometry, physics, and calculus.

As a boy, I had dreams of becoming an astronaut, “to go where no man has gone before.” If that’s you, then consider this, astronauts use maths in order to make precise mathematical calculations, from how the spacecraft leaves Earth’s atmosphere to how the astronauts pilot the craft. So no math, no Captain Kirk.

Math is a necessity and when considering the uses and benefits thereof there are a number of reasons to learn math:

  • Develop your “lifelong learning” skills:  Asking others for help, looking stuff up, learning to deeply focus on tasks, being organized, etc.
  • Develop your work ethic:  Not making excuses, not blaming others, not being lazy, being on time, not giving up so easily, etc.  This is more important for “success” than raw IQ. There is no shortcut.
  • Get better at learning complicated things.  You are less afraid of complex ideas and classes.
  • Develop pride & confidence in your ability to understand complicated things.  This is not fake self-esteem, but one that is earned.
  • Certain careers in science, health, technology, and engineering require serious Math skills.

Studies suggest that intelligent & motivated people are generally more interesting and happier. Your frontal lobe is not done developing until the age of  25-27. The more things you can learn before reaching that age, the more things you can learn over your lifetime. A survey concluded that 20% to 40% of college freshmen take remedial courses.  Do you want to retake high school courses in college, or do you want to take real college classes?

If you need assistance with Maths or English, sign up for GT Scholars flagship programme, GT Scholars Academic  Programme. This programme not only has tutoring in Maths or English, but also provides skill-building, enrichment and mentoring.  Keep a lookout for our enrichment days and our skill-building workshops by signing up to our newsletter.

In the Know –  Plan your career and reach all your goals!

In the Know – Plan your career and reach all your goals!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Career planning is an essential part of a young person’s personal growth and development, and it is an opportunity for them to maximise their potential. It is also an effective way to ensure that they never lose motivation along the way by planning for the future and setting a specific timeline for reaching their career goals. Here a few great resources to help you and your child with their career planning.

GT Scholars Career Day 2018
Our annual Career Day is taking place on Saturday the 3rd of March 2018. This exciting workshop is the perfect opportunity for you and your child to hear firsthand from a panel of young professionals in a range of careers. By the end of the workshop, your child should have an idea of some the careers that may be suited to their strengths, abilities and personality. The workshop is taking place at Goldsmiths University in New Cross from 10am to 4pm. Book your tickets here.

Careers Advice for Parents
This website is a substantial source of career advice that is specifically tailored to the parents and carers of young people. Developed by professional career advisers, this site will aid you when it comes to advising your child on choosing their career path, explaining how different qualifications work, researching different sectors and options such as apprenticeships, understanding the job market, and so much more. Take a look for yourself here.

Real Talk
This app is perfect for young people who want relevant and timely career advice from people who have been there, done that, and are willing to share their career story. They have gathered hundreds of the best stories from young professionals who have excelled in the job market in a wide variety of career fields. You can bookmark, like, and share the careers that interest you, while building a checklist of resources to help you plan life after high school. The app is free and available for both Apple and Android.

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.

In the Know – STEM activities for girls!

In the Know – STEM activities for girls!

In The Know Parents What's new?

In the UK, only 25% of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates are female, and only 21% of the STEM workforce is made up of women. This lack of women in STEM means we are lacking the perspectives of half the world’s population! More girls and young women should be encouraged to study and work in fascinating and lucrative STEM fields, and these three engaging programmes aim to do just that.

Step into STEM 2018
Step into STEM is a 7-month mentoring programme funded and supported by O2, BT, Vodafone and Ericsson to give female students in Year 12 or college access to professionals in the Technology Sector. Delivered and managed by Girls Talk London, this programme will provide structured support and guidance on careers, employability skills and future educational plans in STEM. They also host a two-day careers technology summit in July. To apply for a place please complete the application form before Thursday the 1st of March at 5pm.

TeenTech Awards
The TeenTech Awards are for UK students from 11-16 (Years 7 to 11) and 16-19 (Years 12 to 13) working in teams of up to three to look at problems large and small to see if they can find a better way of doing things. They encourage students to develop their own ideas for making life better, simpler, safer or more fun. There are several categories to choose from for each age group. Projects need to be submitted online by 31st March and you can find out more here.

Stemettes Hack Cambridge @ Microsoft Research
Microsoft Research and Stemettes invite girls aged 5 all the way up to 22 to a weekend of creativity and fun with women in STEM. The event will be all about coding and will be the perfect opportunity to explore and play about in the creative, exciting world of technology. The event also promises to provide a fantastic opportunity to meet and network with STEM professionals. The event takes place on Saturday the 17th of March and on Sunday the 18th of March. 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.

In the Know – Master studying for your exams!

In the Know – Master studying for your exams!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Exams may seem challenging or difficult, but if scholars adopt the right mindset and equip themselves with the right tools, strategies and techniques, they would be able to breeze through exams and achieve the grades that they want. Here are some resources that scholars can use to study for their exams.

Gojimo
This popular revision app offers free content that covers GCSE, A level, IB, iGCSE, Common Entrance and more. You pick your subject and your exam board, then you take part in quizzes to test your knowledge. At the end of a quiz, you’re told how many you got right, how long you took and you can review your errors. You’re also given detailed explanations, so if you go wrong, you can work out why. The app will also track your progress over time so you can identify your best and worst topics for revision. Get the app here.

Ready, Set, Go: Acing Your Exams!
We are hosting a workshop on Saturday the 27th of January to help young people conquer exams by improving study, time management, and mindset techniques. They will also learn from experts and study skill professionals that will show them how to manage their time effectively, how to create a study plan and how to prioritise. The event is from 10am to 4pm at Goldsmiths University in New Cross. Please contact us if you have not booked a ticket yet and you would like your child to attend.

Maths Made Easy
This great website provides a host of exceptional free revision resources for KS1 all the way up to A Level in Maths, English and Science. It includes revision questions, past papers and mock exams, and their answer sheets. You can also search for resources by topic if you want to work on a specific area in a subject. Take a look for yourself 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. Registration for the January programme is now open. You can register online by following this link.

Meet one of our volunteer English tutors – Roberta Wiafe

Meet one of our volunteer English tutors – Roberta Wiafe

Private tutors Volunteers Young people

Every now and then we interview one of our remarkable GT Scholars volunteers to find out who the person behind the volunteer is. Without our dedicated volunteers, our mission would not have been able to make the impact that it has.  We had a chat with one of our tutors about volunteering, who she is and her message to young people of today is. Here is what she had to say:

  1. How did you first get involved in volunteering with GT Scholars?
    I first learned of GT Scholars on the Team London website when I was looking for an opportunity to offer my time volunteering. Since I really enjoyed English as a subject at school and liked plays I thought that being a Volunteer Online Tutor would be the best fit for me. Upon visiting the GT Scholars website and reading more about their cause, I decided that I really wanted to be part of their mission.
  2. Why are you supporting GT Scholars as opposed to other groups working to improve social mobility?
    The reason why I like being part of the GT Scholars volunteer team is that I enjoy being able to work with a wide demographic range of students in terms of their abilities and backgrounds.
  3. What might surprise your friends/family other volunteers to know about you?
    I think most my friends and family would be surprised if they knew that I am a theatre critic in my spare time.
  4. How has volunteering changed you as a person and what have you learned from your time volunteering?
    I think during my time volunteering I have learned how to utilise different methods of explaining concepts to people. When approaching a new topic it’s often the case that I and my student have to go over subject matter a number of times to reinforce the ideas. To ensure that the ideas really stay with him and that he understands the concepts from a range of difficult angles, I have to really think about different ways of presenting the information. This has helped me to think more innovatively and to really listen to my student so that I can tailor my approach in a way that’s most helpful to him. And these are both skills that I can apply to my everyday life.
  5. Is there anyone in particular you could tell me about who has influenced your decision to start volunteering in general?
    When I was a student, about 16 years old,  I was involved with the Social Mobility Foundation. At the time they ran a program which made it possible for me to be matched with a mentor and I also received an opportunity to take up an internship at parliament.  Because I’ve had the privilege of support and guidance as a young person, I feel that I want to ‘’pay it forward’’ and give that same opportunity back to someone else.

Roberta is truly inspiring and serves for interesting conversation. When asked what her message to young people of today is, she said: ‘’ Work hard and do your best. If you do those things you will get where you want to be. Take time to celebrate, when you achieve something, celebrate your success. Lastly always be proud of yourself and enjoy the journey.’’ That is definitely words of wisdom to live by! Roberta holds an MSc in International Public Policy from the University College London and a BA Hons degree in History and Politics from the University of Sussex.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us.

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Janet Cheney

Meet one of our volunteer Maths tutors – Janet Cheney

Private tuition Private tutors Volunteers What's new?

Our volunteers are truly exceptional people that are passionate about making a difference in education and doing their part in improving social mobility. We would like you to get to know who they are and what they do at GT Scholars, so every few weeks we conduct an interview with one of them. Here is the most recent interview with one of our volunteer tutors, Janet Cheney.

  1. Why did you decide to volunteer your time with GT Scholars?
    I have been tutoring for about 5 years and I am currently in the process of partly relocating from London to South Devon. This will restrict my regular 1-to-1 tutoring sessions in London. I was pleased when I discovered the online volunteer tutoring opportunity at GT Scholars. Tutoring has become very expensive and I loved the idea of combining my love for teaching maths and physics and helping students from low-income backgrounds.
  2. Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
    I completed my BSc (First Class Hons) in Mathematics and Astrophysics and also did my PhD in Astronomy at Queen Mary College, University of London.

    I spent most of my professional career operating at senior level. I have 15 years experience working in key management roles.  In particular, I was IT project manager for BT’s London Code Change Project which involved changing all the telephone numbers in London due to a shortage of codes.

    After 15 Years working on a senior management level, I decided upon an early retirement to spend more time with my family. This was when I began to volunteer my time tutoring within various non-profit organisations.
  3. How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
    When I was growing up there was not a lot of role models for women. My family was very supportive and I was privileged enough to have had role models within my family. My school was also very supportive.  I was the first in my family to have gone to university.  I’ve always appreciated that I was able to have done so as I was not oblivious to the fact that not all young people were as privileged as I was. I think my dream to study astronomy has motivated me in working hard at maths and physics as I knew knowledge of these subjects were necessary to reach my goal. I am glad I can share my knowledge and help other young people with similar dreams.
  4. Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
    I believe it is the individual attention a young person receives when he has a tutor. Mathematics is an important subject because it can open a lot of opportunities. Often teachers can’t reach all the students’ needs at an individual level as not all the students need help in the same areas. I think a tutor fills that gap. Tutoring can also be a great help for exam preparations and spending that extra quality time with the student on subject areas that they have difficulty with.  I also think that a tutor can be useful when it comes to discussing time management when taking an exam. Especially in mathematics, there are often ways to find faster methods to solve problems.
  5. What part of the volunteering process have you found the most fulfilling?
    I think the most fulfilling part of the volunteering process is to bear witness to the improvement of a young person who really struggled with a  subject. As the tutor, you knew first hand where the difficult areas were and how much the student has improved.

Janet is a good listener with great subject knowledge. She believes that this is what helps her to be a better tutor: ‘If you have a good understanding of who your student is, you will have a better idea of how to approach tutoring that student.’ Janet spends her spare time studying butterflies using catch and release methods as she has a true passion for science and nature.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out more about our volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with us

In the Know – Get a career head start!

In the Know – Get a career head start!

In The Know Parents What's new?

In a competitive job market, young people can certainly benefit from getting a head start in their career. By introducing careers early on with your child, you give them the chance to really start building their own ideas and opinions, asking questions and finding out information about where they want to go in life. Here are some great opportunities for young people to get that head start.

Career Ear
Career Ear is a free app for young people ideally from age 11 and above to ask professionals career-related questions to enable them to make informed decisions about their futures. Questions can range from preparing for an interview or what to expect on your first day in the office. Users can also check out answers in response to questions asked previously, find useful tips for students and professionals to help you write the best questions and answers, and search and apply for jobs. The app is available for Apple and Android.

Elevation Networks
Elevation Networks is a youth employment charity that develops the leadership potential in talented young people and aims to relieve unemployment amongst young people. They partner with employers to create diverse career opportunities for young people aged 11-25. They offer workshops and training on CVs, interviews, financial literacy, confidence and job readiness, budgeting and business planning for entrepreneurs, and much more! Find out more here.

Young London Working
Young London Working is a Mayor’s Fund for London project which aims to provide young Londoners between the ages of 16-24 with a good quality job. Their pre-employment training programme offers the opportunity to meet employers, take part in group activities and receive tailored 1-to-1 support. They focus on improving skills and experience and increasing confidence and self-motivation. Find out more about their programmes 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. Registration for the January programme is now open. You can register online by following this link.