West of England Mentoring – Engaging students to aspire and achieve
12th April 2022
Focused group career mentoring for 12 – 15 year olds
The West of England Career Mentoring programme (WEM) is a unique group mentoring programme that matches volunteer business mentors with groups of local school students, run by a small independent charity, Ablaze.
The programme consists of six short group mentoring sessions that take place for targeted student groups, held in the school and workplace where possible. Up to fifteen students work with a team of business mentors, trained by Ablaze.
Mentors impart knowledge of workplace skills, employability opportunities and pathways, inspiring and motivating students to raise their aspirations. Through different tasks and activities, provided by Ablaze, they encourage students to build confidence and communication skills, set goals and work out pathways to achieving them, empowering the students to develop a clear and achievable career plan.
During Covid we adapted the programme to do WEM virtually (VWEM) and we now organise bespoke partnerships according to the needs and capabilities of both the school and organisation.
The Ablaze Project Manager makes the partnerships happen by identifying schools and businesses and bringing them together. DBS checks and training are provided for volunteer mentors and data is collated for an evaluation report at the end of the programme so both the business and school can see the impact of the programme. All programmes are also promoted on social media to highlight the community engagement businesses are involved in.
Evaluation data collected to date shows that the programme has a tangible, positive impact on young people who take part, raising confidence, decision making and knowledge of career paths, while helping them realise the clear benefits of school. For businesses, as well as getting involved in an impactful community engagement programme, it also increases employee engagement while raising the profile of their own business within their local community.
We are currently looking to set up school-business partnerships for the next academic year in your area.
For more information, please contact Ceri Bowers, Ablaze Project Manager: