Thousands of young people have been given a helping hand to kickstart their careers, thanks to a flagship scheme led by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has helped more than 6,000 young people aged 11 to 25 to benefit from the Mayor’s Mentors programme since Mr Street launched it two years ago.
Speaking at an event held to celebrate the success of the scheme, ahead of National Mentoring Day on 27 October, he called on more people to become mentors.
Young people, mentors and partners celebrate the success of the Mayor's Mentors programme with Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street
“It’s great news that we have been able to help so many young people who are just starting out in employment or setting up on their own,” he said.
“One thing I have learned in my career is the value of having a mentor. It has helped me to take important decisions in work and life, and this lesson is at the heart of the Mayor’s Mentors initiative.
“I’m a mentor myself and it has been very rewarding to be able to help Imani over the past two years and see her academy and her confidence grow.
“I know that lots of other members of the business community want to play their part in transforming young people’s lives, giving something back and contributing to the success of the region. Being a mentor is a fantastic way to do this and I would urge everyone who can to sign up to the scheme.”
The Mayor has been mentoring Imani Clough, aged 26, from Moseley, Birmingham, for the past two years.
Imani is the founder of Imani Academy, working with young people to support their personal and professional development and delivering training to the business and education sectors on engaging with young people.
She said: “My mentoring experience has been invaluable for my professional and personal development. I believe it was through Andy Street’s mentoring that I have been successful in securing leadership roles.
“I am the partnerships manager for an international charity, alongside my work at Imani Academy. This job is a step up in my leadership journey and an opportunity to widen my skills.
“Mentoring has allowed me to strengthen my leadership skills: particularly patience, considering different points of view and planning my time more effectively. Speaking to my mentor makes me aware not to put too much pressure on myself and that I should take time to recognise what I have achieved.
“My mentor has taught me that anyone can be a leader, but not everyone can be a good leader. Talking through different leadership styles with Andy and speaking to him about his role and his previous role has helped me understand what kind of leader I am.”
More than 100 young people, mentors and partners in the Mayor’s Mentors attended the event at IET Birmingham: Austin Court, yesterday evening to celebrate the achievements of the programme and encourage new businesses to take part. The Mayor’s Mentors awards, which will be held in May 2020, were also launched at the event.
A total of 6,078 young people in the West Midlands have been supported by the programme since May 2017.
National Mentoring Day was launched to recognise the significant benefits of mentoring in all its forms and takes place on October 27 each year.
If you have been successful in your career and you want to help young people just starting out, retraining or moving into new work, you can make a difference by becoming a Mayor’s Mentor.
Mentors will typically meet with a young person, either face to face or virtually, once or twice a month for an hour to discuss the young person’s studies and career opportunities.
The programme is run in partnership with One Million Mentors, The Careers and Enterprise Company, The Princes Trust, Just Straight Talk, Evolve and The Diana Award.
Click here to watch Imani Clough talking about the benefits of mentoring.
To find out more about becoming a mentor, visit www.wmca.org.uk/mayorsmentors/