Why Mentoring Young People Matters

I’m excited to meet ‘AW’ virtually over the next few days, a new mentee from the Prince’s Trust mentoring scheme.  She has aspirations to set up a mobile performing arts business and I’m hoping I can help her. The Princes’ Trust scheme works, and this article explains why that matters.

The Prince’s Trust exists to give underprivileged young people a better chance of realising their potential and dreams.  Firstly, underprivilege does not mean poor, it means there are factors that made it difficult for some young people to succeed through no fault of their own.  It could be race or gender discrimination, not having a stable family life, having physical, social or learning disabilities, or being ostracised for their heritage or religious beliefs.  The causes of underprivilege are complex but the effects are not uncommon.

Firstly the young person feels different to their peers and the attention to that difference can vary from unintended quips to vicious bullying.  The young person avoids the pain by dropping out of school and breaking from social media, leading to loneliness, isolation and falling behind in education. Falling behind in education reduces career chances and makes young people vulnerable to disengagement from society and ultimately loose hope in their future.

It can be a long journey back and the Princes’ Trust employs many wonderful people that are able to relate with those young people and encourage them onto the programme. Much of the mentoring and ongoing support is organised, managed and delivered by volunteers who want to make a difference. The programme is a blend of coaching and mentoring, coaching to help young people set aspiring goals and to challenge limiting beliefs that hold them back.  Mentoring to give advice and assistance based on personal experience, or guidance gained from chatting to others in the Princes’ Trust community.  The goal is to give the young person the confidence and belief to take responsibility for their dreams.  The programme is not a success for all, but watching those that flourish is a rather special privilege.