Our scholars always tell us that their Volunteer Mentors have a huge impact on their progress. When you dedicate yourself to have a positive impact on someone else’s life, to help them grow and achieve their academic goals, it’s not only helpful to the mentee, but it will also be a rewarding experience for you as the mentor! Before embarking in your role as a mentor, have a look at these tips we’ve put together for volunteer mentors.
1. Contact the parents within 48hrs of receiving their details
The first thing that you’ll need to do is to contact your mentee’s parents within 48hrs of receiving their contact details, they’ll be expecting your call. During the first call, you’ll discuss the goals they have for your mentee, learn a bit more about them, and decide when your first tutoring session will take place.
2. Always have some form of face-to-face meeting
It would be great to have your first meeting in-person, but we do know that it’s not always possible if you and your mentee do not live close to one another. The most important thing to remember is to always have some form of face-to-face interaction. If it’s difficult for you to meet in person, then making use of video call applications such as Google Hangouts, Whatsapp video call, Skype, or FaceTime is a great alternative! Building a good relationship with your mentee and parents is important, and face-to-face meetings will allow you to build mutual trust, respect, and also ensure that your relationship starts well. All meetings must have a parent/carer present and meetings should be a safe space where challenges and difficult situations can be discussed openly. As a mentor, you would want to always be mindful of our mentoring values and try to be as flexible as possible when setting up the sessions.
3. Encourage your sessions to be mentee-led
Encourage your mentoring sessions to be mentee-led, so that you can understand what your mentee’s needs are. You won’t know the challenges your mentee faces, or the support he or she needs unless they open up and share their views and thoughts with you. Having a session where you let your mentee lead the conversation or even the entire session, you will be a sounding board and your mentee will be able to discover and understand their areas of improvement. This will also help them to be more self-aware and have a better understanding of how they can achieve their future goals.
4. Never arrange mentoring sessions directly with your mentee
Make sure to always set up all your mentoring sessions with the parents and not directly with your mentee. You could set up a 3-way WhatsApp group between you, the parent, and the mentee. This will be helpful so that everyone is up to date and aware of the dates & times of your planned sessions. If the parent insists on contacting their child directly, please notify us and we can talk to the parent about this.
5. Use the resources
We’ll provide you with mentoring worksheets to support you in deciding on topics you’d like to discuss with your mentee. You are welcome to expand on this to make it more focussed on your mentee’s interests and areas in which your mentee would like to learn & grow. You may want to take some time to discuss this with your mentee to decide on topics and themes for your sessions together. You can also make use of our learning directory for more ideas and tools to make your sessions engaging.
6. Read the Mentor Volunteer Handbook
Before you have your first session, take some time to read through the mentoring handbook. The handbook will give you a good idea of what to expect and guide you to have a good start. Here you will find information regarding how to provide session feedback, do’s and don’t, safeguarding, and also tips and ideas for your mentoring term.
7. Complete your mentor log
Take a few minutes to complete the mentor log after each session so that we can stay up to date on how things are going and how many sessions have taken place. This will also be helpful to you so that you can plan your next session, keep track of the progress that you have made, and key areas that you want to continue to focus on.
8. Attend at least one enrichment day
By attending an enrichment day you will have the opportunity to interact and connect with your mentee as well as other young people on the programme. Our Annual Careers Day workshop is the perfect way to get involved and help your mentee plan for the future. Attending an enrichment day would be a valuable and interactive experience that you will both be able to enjoy.
9. End of term
All end-of-term reports should be completed so that we can wrap up the end of term. A mentor-mentee relationship can have a life long effect on both the mentor and the mentee’s life and being a mentor can be rewarding and can help develop your career, as well as that of your mentee. Once your sessions are completed, make sure that you give your mentee closure, so that the mentee is aware that the relationship has now come to an end. If they are continuing on with the programme to next term, they will normally tell you this in advance. But please do not continue mentoring sessions into the new term. Once the term has ended, we will get in touch with you to share the details of the new term. Feel free to contact us if you ever have questions or concerns.