Vocational Grandparenting – New District Project

The Gatsby benchmarks, designed to ensure young people get the careers advice they need are upon us in good time. In today’s world, we see increased use of continuously developing communication technologies. Maintaining social and work networks, the current generation of 16-24-year-olds, are technically savvy and face an ever-expanding diversity of potential job roles and they often struggle to gain an understanding of, and experience in, their chosen field of work.

A young person who is able to draw on the experience of someone who has knowledge of that young person’s chosen field has a significant advantage.

In a recent survey of over two hundred Further Education (FE) learners in three General Further Education colleges, 72% felt such a mentor would be useful. 74% did not know somebody doing the job role they were aspiring to.

Work-Link Mentors was set up with the support of the Rotary Club of Kimbolton Castle and a District Grant four years ago with Rotarians, Friends of Rotary and their contacts serving as mentors.

E-mentoring takes place using CMC (Computer Mediated Communications) such as email, Skype, texting etc. and is increasingly effective as communications technologies improve. In 2012 there were over 6 billion mobile phones in use worldwide and In 2014 according to ‘Digital Trends’ the number of mobile phones for the first time exceeded the world’s population of 7.3 billion.

On the mentor supply side, in tandem with an ageing demographic, there are large numbers of Rotarians with working knowledge of communication technologies. Rotarians represent a relatively rich time resource. There may perhaps be some that wish to support a younger generation that faces the prospect of being less wealthy than their parents.

Public sector cuts have limited the contact time young people have with their lecturers and tutors. Families are stretched, and where there are two parents, both may work, reducing opportunities for semi-formal family discussion and providing the necessary level of support for their children. Compared to traditional mentoring, (t-mentoring), e-mentoring offers through CMC a flexible, geographically unrestrained and cost effective method, of supporting 16-24 year olds in developing self and career awareness. In addition to vocational guidance, this 1 on 1 sociological pairing or dyad, can improve motivation during this formative part of their lives helping to maintain focus, direction and momentum through the start of their career journey.

Typically a Work-Link Mentor will provide assistance on one or more of the following: Information on potential career routes, work placements, internships, – advice on employment opportunities – CV, Interview and personal statement preparation – somebody to talk to experienced in the field of work a learner aspires to – provide motivation when the going gets tough – undertake mock Skype interviews – provide a reference – case studies – and extend a learners work networks.

E-mentoring can contribute to 5 of the 8 Gatsby benchmarks. It can also be included as part of study programs and for apprentices form part of off the job training. Parings typically work most effectively over a 6-month period and are requisitioned by educational institutions and provided free to learners.

For each mentee taken on by a Rotary Club for six months, £5 is donated by Work-Link Mentors to the relevant club’s charity account.

To date around 300 young people have been helped, but to grow further we need mentors. Can you help? Expertise in almost every field is needed. At this moment for example there are 19 Level 3 engineering students that need support. If you are able to support on mentee, which typically takes an hour over a six-month period please email chrisdavies@worklinkmentors.org.uk

The ultimate goal must surely be that alongside work placements, all 16-24 year olds are supported by one or more Vocational Grandparents as a legislated and perhaps also a moral requirement.

Chris Davies

Chris Davies

Managing Director:
Work-Link Mentors CIC

Founder of ‘Work-Link Mentors’
Work-Link Mentors © CIC is asset locked to the Rotary Club
of Kimbolton Castle, a registered charity. No 1081970

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