I was inspired to write this, my first ever blog, by my mentee who is a regular contributor to the Starting Point Facebook pages and twitter feed. For me, this is exactly what Starting Point is about – inspiring each other.
As a mentor I get a lot out of our relationship. In a previous role I managed a large team and genuinely relished the challenge and opportunity to invest in and develop people. Career progression meant I graduated from a role managing people to a role managing product. Over time I realised how much I missed this human element and as such, use Starting Point to supplement my career goals. It also helps me keep a hand in management should I ever wish to return to a people focused role in the future.
I found Starting Point through a simple Google search and went along to Mentor induction training where I first met Sam, the Project Manager. This was my first exposure to Traffic Light Mentoring, a way to track progression in the mentoring cycle – with Starting Point you are fully supported with the tools you need to be a great mentor. It was a revolution for me that contributing / giving back didn’t just mean money but could mean time. Volunteering with Starting Point is flexible, all mentoring sessions are agreed direct with your mentee, and you can make such a difference in an hour a week. Regular sessions where you share ideas and review the week are a key part of the structure. You should be willing to prep and invest in this time – and you’ll want to – because you do really get so much out of these sessions.
I see my main role as a mentor to encourage and instil confidence with a little bit of practical advice along the way – the hard work is really done by the mentee! Throughout my time with my mentee we have worked on their CV, submitted numerous online applications and prepped for interviews. This is alongside discussing the latest Game of Thrones and our favourite authors, plus what’s going on in the news this week. As a product of these sessions, my mentee has got to a final stage interview AND hot off the press, has just received their first job offer. I am so proud to see what mentee has achieved and am thrilled to have been just a small part of their success.
Based on this experience, I am so bought in to Starting Point that I now work with them on their LinkedIn page and am working with the team to build a plan to approach local businesses and engage them with Starting Point. As a business there are so many ways to get involved, whether that is to donate, provide work experience opportunities or support those who wish to volunteer themselves and become mentors. It is amazing to be so involved in a local project where you can share in their ambition and goals and genuinely make a difference to the local community.
In terms of mentoring, I genuinely look forward to our sessions and would encourage anyone with a nurturing nature to get in touch with Starting Point. You could make a difference, and even make a friend.