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(left to right) Paulet Elliott, Martin Dodd, Mitchell Swatman, Richard Black and Sandra Evans

The important joint venture between the University of Birmingham’s College of Social Sciences, the West Midlands Combined Authority and Lloyds Banking Group has been launched as part of a commitment to wellbeing.

The scheme was instated by cohorts of staff from the College of Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham and Lloyds Banking Group, run by the West Midlands Combined Authority, and delivered through UpRising. The programme showcases each organisation’s dedication to wellbeing, staff development and supporting young people across the region, highlighting their initiative to influence and positively support the younger generation. The scheme is part of the University’s five ways to wellbeing adopted by the New Economics Foundation, encouraging colleagues to give something back to society and connect with the local community. The aim is to improve wellbeing for all colleagues at the University.

Being part of the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business, the Mayor’s Mentors scheme also supports the University’s civic mission, embedding the values of Responsible Business in society, helping to give young people the life skills and advice they need to flourish. The scheme is led by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands.

Signing up to be a mentor can help empower young people, making them feel ready to take the next steps on the career ladder while giving something back to the community. After offering this opportunity to their staff, giving them the benefits of being able to complete their mentoring duties during work time, Lloyds Banking Group and the College of Social Sciences selected ten volunteers each from the pool of applications.

Professor Richard Black, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and head of the College of Social Sciences, approved the scheme as part of the University’s commitment to wellbeing and engagement with local community. He commented: “The Mayor’s Mentors is a brilliant initiative that not only benefits the young people taking part, but also the mentors themselves. The University of Birmingham is delighted to support this scheme and to work with Lloyds Banking Group to help make it a big success.”

New mentors have thus far attended two introductory events hosted at the University of Birmingham on Tuesday 11th and Tuesday 25th September. The first event was hosted at the Business School while the second took place at the University of Birmingham School, a prestigious institution for secondary and sixth form education from which the mentees have been selected and matched with their professional counterparts. The University of Birmingham School is a pioneering, comprehensive school and sixth form which has a truly diverse and inclusive student community, aiming to create great citizens.

The first event encompassed interactive workshops, where mentors were given the opportunity to connect with their peers. It aimed to build on the skills gained from the online platform. Mentors were encouraged to take part in active listening sessions, describe what mentoring meant to them and explore learning styles. The skills they learned will enable them to build, develop and sustain positive mentoring relationships with young people in the region and they are also actively encouraged to suggest volunteering to their mentee as a way of continuing the momentum of community giving.

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At the second event, the mentors were welcomed by Liam Dwyer, Head of Sixth, Hannah Kershaw, Sixth form administrator from the University of Birmingham School and Katie Hilder, Regional Manager of One Million Mentors. The attendees were pleased to hear that the scheme has elicited an enthusiastic response from the sixth form at the school to the point of being hugely oversubscribed. The evening included a tour of the newly developed school facility, taking in the break out areas where much of the mentoring will be taking place.

The presenters spoke to the attendees about the high level of support students at the school have access to, including a careers advisor who attends once per week and a pastoral manager who is available to help students with any school related or personal matters which may be affecting them.

The mentoring scheme will officially commence when the students are ‘matched’ to their appropriate mentor based on their skills and interests and will run until July 2019. It will culminate in a momentous celebration event, rewarding those who took part and honouring their achievements over the preceding months.

You can find out more about the scheme on the Mayor’s Mentors website.

Find out more about the Centre for Responsible Business on the Centre’s website.