In 2018, the University of Birmingham’s College of Social Sciences and Lloyds Banking Group joined forces to support the Mayor’s Mentors scheme, offering colleagues in both organisations the opportunity to make an impact on the community through mentoring sixth form pupils.
The scheme is an initiative from West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, and links people established in their careers with young people in the West Midlands, to help them develop the life skills they will need for their future careers.
Working with the University of Birmingham School, Lloyds Banking Group and the College of Social Sciences identified 20 volunteers who have now mentored the 16 - 18-year-old students over the course of a year.
Professor Richard Black, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences, commented on the scheme during its first month; ‘it’s incredibly important to engage with young people in the region; young people are the future of the region. There’s a huge amount of inequality in the West Midlands area, we have the opportunity to make a concrete difference to that, in line with the ideals that the University was originally based on’.
Throughout the year, the mentors and mentees have formed strong bonds and gained many useful skills, both personally and professionally.To support the programme, Lloyds Banking Group and the University of Birmingham gave their volunteer mentors the time to complete their mentoring duties during working hours.
Mentor Laura Martin, College Alumni Relations Manager, Birmingham Business School, commented ‘becoming a mentor is so much more about listening to someone else rather than giving your experience and advice. At my mentee’s point in life, in year 12, year 13, you’re on the cusp of so many great things, there are so many opportunities and experiences ahead of you’.
Mitchell Swatman, Recruitment Manager, Lloyds Banking Group, added ‘it’s been a real humbling experience for me, in the relationship I’ve got with my mentee. Seeing a lot of drive and a lot of passion for somebody so young with a lot of knowledge, knowing where they want to go, has really made me reflect on my career’.
The year was completed with a celebration of all the achievements of the mentors and mentees, hosted at the University of Birmingham and featuring Mayor Andy Street, who presented all participants with a certificate of thanks for their contributions.
Mayor Andy Street attended the University of Birmingham as part of a selection of events for the first annual West Midlands Mayor’s Giving Day, a day devoted to encouraging organisations to engage with society through charitable support, fundraising events or by connecting with their communities.
The celebration event was well attended, with delegates from Lloyds Banking Group, the University of Birmingham and
Mayor Andy Street commented: ‘a very big thank you to Lloyds Banking Group and the University of Birmingham for joining the Mayor’s Mentors scheme. I’m a great believer in mentoring myself, I was the beneficiary of it in my business career. I learned from people, and I learned just how important it is to listen, and for them to develop your potential’. Mentees from the University of Birmingham School visiting to collect their certificates and join in the celebrations.