Mentoring Works matches business volunteers to students in London secondary schools and sixth forms for a 10-month period. The programme offers businesses an opportunity to have a long term relationship and impact on a young person’s life.

Mentors and students develop a supportive relationship in which young people are encouraged to expand their visions of what they want to achieve in life and acquire the professional and interpersonal skills needed to be successful in their chosen career.

The Need

Islington has the third and Camden the ninth highest rate of child poverty in London. Both boroughs have been rated high on the national index of multiple deprivation. Mentoring addresses social capital gap and offers a vital employability focus that supports young people to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to get good jobs in the future and enable them to compete with other young people in London from more privileged backgrounds. By connecting students to business mentors, they get an insight to the working world. Despite most students living in close proximity to the City of London, being part of the mentoring scheme and visiting their mentor’s workplace means that they often visit the City for the first time during the programme.

Strategic aims

The aims of the Mentoring Works programme are to:

  • Introduce young people to the world of work
  • Raise aspiration
  • Enable students to identify career goals
  • Increase employability through the development of seven key competencies

The seven competencies

The Mentoring Works programme is underpinned by a framework of seven core employability competencies. The framework is the result of extensive secondary research into competencies sought by employers along with qualitative feedback from previous participants on the impact of their mentoring experience.

Mentoring Works competencies

Mentoring Works is accredited with the Approved Provider Standard (APS) by The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation. The APS is the national quality standard designed specifically for all types of mentoring and befriending projects This scheme is in line with London Ambition and the government’s Careers Strategy and Statutory Guidance.

The Mentoring Works programme currently runs in twelve Islington and four Camden schools and sixth forms, including a special educational needs (SEN) institution. BIG Alliance facilitates the following relationships:

Secondary relationships

  • Elizabeth Garret Anderson School and Euromonitor
  • Arts and Media School, Islington and Expedia
  • City of London Academy Islington and Expedia
  • Holloway School and MUFG
  • City of London Academy Highgate Hill and MUFG
  • St Aloysius College and Wolverine World Wide
  • Highbury Fields School and Kennedys Law
  • Samuel Rhodes School and Euromonitor
  • Maria Fidelis Roman Catholic Convent School and Dentsu Aegis Network
  • William Ellis School and The Guardian Foundation

Sixth Form relationships

  • City and Islington Sixth Form College and Macquarie Group
  • City and Islington College, Centre for Business, Arts and Technology and Expedia
  • City of London Academy Islington and Expedia
  • City and Islington Sixth Form College and Charles Russell Speechlys
  • Regent High School and The Guardian Foundation
  • Maria Fidelis Roman Catholic Convent School and LinkedIn