25 February 2019
The Regional Mentoring Programme, funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company and delivered in conjunction with the North East and Tees Valley LEPs, creates opportunities to inspire young people, offering activities that motivate, inspire and bring learning and career opportunities to life.
The business world is very different from school or college; therefore, it is vitally important to give young people a glimpse of future careers and help prepare them for life after school.
One of the mentors on the Regional Mentoring Programme is Ann Bunting. Ann joined the programme from its launch two years ago and has been one of our most dedicated mentors ever since.
Ann works as a drinking water inspector, for the government.
Ann, you’ve been part of the Regional Mentoring Programme since its launch two years ago. What first caught your interest about mentoring?
I became interested in mentoring as a way of helping young people to achieve their potential and have interesting and rewarding careers, which they enjoy. I have a lot of experience and would love to be able to help someone find their career path. I never knew what I wanted to do when I was at school. I followed what I was interested in and have had several rewarding jobs.
What does being a mentor bring to you?
Being a mentor gives me a completely different dimension to my working life – my role is fairly technical, so it is great to meet people from a different age group, and in a completely different setting.
How do you gain your mentees’ trust?
I spend time getting to know my mentees by listening to their ideas and I take them seriously. I try to be completely honest and reliable and try to work with the teachers on the logistics so that although the content is confidential, the teachers are aware and support the process.
How would you describe the mentor-mentee relationship based on your experience?
It’s similar to a teacher-pupil relationship, but one-to-one. Although I encourage the mentees to guide the process, in reality I usually suggest a pathway which we agree to.
Are there any characteristics or skills that you think a good mentor needs to have?
Able to listen and be positive. Have some good resources which you are able to use and use the network of mentors for support.
Have you ever had a mentor yourself? How did they help you?
I have never had a mentor although people have helped me in my career from time to time. If I was offered a mentor now, I would accept straight away.
What is the biggest benefit you get out of being a mentor?
It’s great when it goes well, and it gives me a lot of satisfaction. Sometimes I can only hope I am helping because there is no clear feedback. Small steps can be very rewarding, for example when a mentee smiles because we have overcome something that was worrying them, or when they tell me they have started putting up their hand in class.
Find out more about the programme here >> http://stem.rtcnorth.co.uk/
Want to become a mentor too? Get in touch >> 0191 516 4400