Women in Tech York

The Rewards of Mentoring

Mentoring can be a really valuable experience, not just for the person receiving the mentoring, but also for the mentor. I mentor apprentices for my job and find it really rewarding: I want to spread the word about how it works and who can be a mentor.

I delivered this as a lightning talk at Women in Tech York in August 2019 and though I was nervous about using a microphone for the first time, I found such a receptive audience. Lots of people nodding their heads to agree with what I was saying and some great feedback afterwards.

My message is simple: a mentor can make such a difference to someone, it can give the mentor lots of unexpected challenges of their own and it doesn’t need to be difficult to arrange and set up. You can all do this!

As I think back over the last twenty years, there have been lots of ‘mentors’ in my working life. My first experience of having a mentor was as a newly qualified infant teacher and wasn’t a positive experience. After three months in the profession, my confidence and drive were at a terrible low.

Once I changed careers and began working in marketing, I didn’t recognise at the time that there were mentors all around me, but I can certainly look back now at lots of people whose advice and ideas have stayed with me. And in my second position, I realised I’d started being that person who shows an interest in new members of the team.

What makes a good mentor?

It doesn’t need to be an ‘arranged marriage’: find each other! Start a conversation.

A few ideas to get you started

A few surprises

My challenge to you is to consider what opportunities there are for you to offer to mentor someone: I’d love to hear how you get on!

You can contact me via email at rebecca.craven@babington.co.uk or on Twitter at @Beckysee123

Want to investigate further?

Aside from possible opportunities where you work, or in a network such as Women in Tech, you could also explore other organisations who work with mentors.

Volunteer as an Enterprise Adviser, where you will work with the headteacher or Senior Leadership Team of a school or college to provide strategic support. You will use your business experience and professional networks to help develop and implement an effective strategy that puts opportunities with local employers at the heart of a young person’s education.

The Diana Award Mentoring Programme operates across Birmingham, Leeds and London and is open for teams of mentors to apply to volunteer alongside their colleagues. They will connect you with a local school to support a group of vulnerable young people over a three month period.

York Mind has a young people’s mentoring service that offers the opportunity for 16-21year olds to receive weekly 1 to 1 recovery focussed mentoring. Mentors assist the young people in setting their own independent goals and targets, and with creating plans to achieve their targets. The sessions take place over a period of 16 weeks, with flexible timings available.