Islington and Mentoring Works
The first steps into the world of work can be daunting for any young person. This is especially true for young people in Islington where 47.5% of children are growing up in poverty. Research has shown that poverty can negatively impact confidence, levels of self-belief and can cause young people to underestimate their own intelligence and capabilities.
The absence of links to professional networks, such as a parent or guardian's friend in the City, also puts some young people in Islington at a greater disadvantage compared to their peers. Without access to these types of networks, certain doors remain closed. Financial instability can also impact a young person’s career choices, with some deciding to pursue work straight after college instead of continuing to higher education because of financial pressures and a lack of understanding about career options.
The role of local businesses in supporting local young people
When local businesses come together to use the time, skills and resources of their employees, they are able to make a tangible impact on the communities and people they serve.
That’s why the BIG Alliance believes mentoring is so important for the young people in our borough. Mentoring helps young people to raise their aspirations by opening their eyes to the range of careers out there. Our programme matches students in Islington to local professionals over a period of 10 months who provide them with advice and guidance on how they can reach their career goals.
Mentoring Works was first established by the East London Business Alliance (ELBA) in 1996, and came to Islington six years ago. Since then we’ve expanded our reach, and we’re proud to say that we work in every secondary school in Islington.
ITV joined our mentoring programme as a business partner last year and was matched to St Mary Magdalene Academy. Students benefited from mentoring sessions that focused on CVs, applying to college and university and developing their skills to ensure they are career-ready.
On top of this, students were lucky enough to be treated to an exclusive tour of ITV studios arranged by their mentors. They were invited on to the set of Loose Women and even had the chance to pose with a Bafta!
Three of our students impressed their mentors so much that they secured work experience over the summer.
Five questions with our ITV work experience students, their mentors and their parents
Whilst most young people their age were out celebrating the end of the academic year, three of our mentees, Georgia, Vivian and Nicole, continued their hard work at ITV during their work experience placements this summer.
We spoke to the girls, their mentors and their parents to find out how they got on.
What kind of things did you get up to during your work experience placement?
Georgia: "My work experience at ITV went really well. Vivian and I were set a task for the week and had to design our own TV programme. We organised meetings with people from different departments like finance and law, and found out more about their work.
We even had a chance to go back to ITV studios and see Loose Women being filmed!”
Nicole: “I had a sneak peek into the world of finance, content acquisitions and projects at ITV and delivered a presentation at the end of my placement.”
How did your mentees get on during their work experience?
Maxine (Vivian’s mentor): "The work experience went very well and I think Vivian and Georgia got a lot out of it. They did an excellent presentation at the end, and also had the opportunity to see a real-life pitch for a quiz idea."
Eloise (Nicole’s mentor): “Nicole made an amazing impression on all the people she met. Colleagues commented that they were thoroughly impressed by Nicole’s confidence, that she asked intelligent questions that showed she was really listening, and that they forgot just how young she is!
Nicole approached the tasks she was set with enthusiasm and even went above and beyond, asking if she could try different things in addition to the tasks she’d already been set.”
Piers (Georgia's mentor): "I think the work experience was an eye opener for Georgia. It gave her a chance to feel what it is like to be in the world of work and she liked it. The mentoring programme created the relationship which opened the opportunity up for her."
How has Mentoring Works helped you?
Georgia: “The mentoring programme has helped me to improve my communication skills, and I now know how to form a CV."
Have you noticed a change in your child/mentee since being mentored on the programme?
Georgia's mum: "Throughout the mentoring programme, Georgia would always come home and tell me about what she'd learnt after each session. She is a lot more confident and now has a CV that she can use when applying to jobs."
Eloise (Nicole’s mentor): “Nicole has definitely become more confident over the course of the programme. She became a lot more settled coming into the office, easily navigating her way across London and became more open to talking to new and different people (which was definitely put to the test during her work experience when she had to meet with multiple new people and faces!)”
What has your experience been like as a mentor on our programme?
Eloise (Nicole’s mentor): “Being a mentor was definitely rewarding - especially seeing Nicole grow in confidence and hearing about all the amazing activities that she does in and outside of school. We joked that one day I may see her on TV for one of her sports or in a high-profile role.
I have no doubt that these are possibilities for her given how accomplished she already is at such a young age.”
Are you a business interested in getting involved in our mentoring programme? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch.