Raising Aspirations – Mentoring young people across London

Newable has partnered with charity Urban Synergy to launch a company wide volunteering initiative to mentor young people in London.

The programme is scheduled to run for three months and consists of an introduction with the mentee followed by 30-minute virtual sessions, ideally at fortnightly intervals.

Urban Synergy was founded in 2007 to help improve and support exceptional young talented people who, due to socio-economic circumstances, were underachieving. The charity works closely with students, schools, local councils and companies to provide a tailor-made mentoring scheme to raise the confidence and achievement of deprived young people.

To date, 7,520 young people have attended their role-model seminars and 335 have been through their mentoring programmes. During 2019-2020 500 mentoring hours and 974 role model volunteering hours were given in primary, secondary and sixth forms.

Urban Synergy believes that positive role models and mentors can make a big impact on a young person’s life.

Since 2008, the charity has undertaken a programme of inspirational seminars across South London schools, taking professionals from all walks of life to provide inspiration and raise aspirations.

Several Newable staff have registered to become mentors on Urban Synergy’s e-mentoring programme and have been having regular sessions with their mentees. Monica Whitefield, HR Director at Newable, is one such mentor. She shares her experience thus far.

Why did you decide to volunteer as a mentor for Urban Synergy and why do you think initiatives like this are important?

“I decided to volunteer as a mentor for Urban Synergy as I wanted to help and support a young adult with career advice and guidance”

“I feel I have plenty of key life skills and work experiences to share having worked for over 30 years in the HR profession for a number of different types of businesses; I have also supported my two daughters through their education and apprenticeship qualifications and know how tough and challenging this can be.”

“I think it is important we support great initiatives like Urban Synergy’s e-mentoring programme as we have so many talented people working for us who could volunteer their time to help young adults (from high levels of economic deprivation and poor secondary school education) to develop their skills, abilities and confidence for the world of work or higher education.”

What has your experience been like?

“My mentoring experience so far has been very rewarding as I have seen my mentee grow steadily in confidence over the past 10 weeks; she engages well at each session and puts into practice all the new tips and advice she has learnt.”

Do you feel like you will be able to make a positive impact on your mentee, and how has your relationship with them flourished?

“Yes I do believe I will make a positive impact on my mentee as she has already successfully been offered three different university places for September 2021 and has gained excellent feedback following an interview for a six-week work experience placement.”

“My mentee was very quiet and shy when we first started our mentoring relationship; however, as we have progressed through a number of sessions she has opened up and worked through some challenging tasks which has increased her confidence.”

I would definitely recommend my colleagues to volunteer as an e-mentor with Urban Synergy as I have found it to be a very rewarding and humbling experience.”

Monica Whitefield, Director, Chief People Officer