For this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week the topic is loneliness. With 1 in 5 of us feeling lonely at work and with the pressures of Covid-19 restricting social connection, read how one of our care-experienced young people benefited from having mentor through that time.
Introduced in 2015, our mentoring scheme has since developed into a comprehensive programme encompassing bespoke training for professional mentors, continuous support for both mentors and mentees, and additional professional development opportunities for care-experienced young people. What began as a small pilot with only a handful of participants, is now an integral part of the Drive Forward approach to enable care-experienced youth in London to achieve their full potential through sustainable and fulfilling employment.
We asked one of our very first participants, Sally, about the benefits that she has experienced from building and maintaining a trusted and consistent mentoring relationship.
In January 2020, Superdrug became an official partner of Drive Forward, and provided placement opportunities in key roles across head office and pharmacy.
2019 saw the start of this rewarding partnership. We kicked off by attending a couple of ‘Interview Prep & Pizza’ events with members of Superdrug’s Access All Areas social mobility network, which was a fantastic introduction to the initiative.
Although I am aware that it would be much better to be together in a physical environment as the human touch is important, what I am also experiencing is that showing presence and attention as a mentor is the fundamental thing, regardless of the way we use to communicate. I consider the technological tools we have as a blessing in this situation, in particular for mentors like me who have the precious chance to support young people in this delicate transition phase.
Two years down the line, I have LOVED every minute. My Mentee is a remarkable individual and hugely talented; in the time we’ve been paired together he’s attended interviews, secured a permanent role, and delivered a number of successful projects. We have very similar interests and, when we haven’t needed to look at CVs or to practise interview techniques, we have widely varied what we do together.
I’ve only recently started volunteering with DFF and I’m currently in my first mentoring relationship. So far, I’ve found it challenging – but in a good way. It’s already helped me to really think about how well I listen and how I can best support the person I’m working with to identify and work towards their own goals.
Drive Forward is looking for motivated young professionals who have worked with us before and are eager to make a real difference in other care-experienced young people’s lives. You’re in full-time employment and want to help those who may not have found their perfect career yet. Pretty much anyone can do it, regardless of background …