BAE, IT@Spectrum and Cranswick plc are just three of a number of new businesses to have signed up to offer expertise to Sixth Form pupils as part of Driffield School & Sixth Form’s expanded industry mentoring scheme.
The mentoring scheme was launched by the school last year to help equip their students in the Sixth Form with the skills, knowledge and experience to ensure they have the best possible preparation before they enter the world of work.
Students are given one-to-one support in areas such as interview technique and CV building, university and job applications, work experience placements as well as day-to-day skills such as time management and organisation.
Following a successful first year, the scheme has progressively attracted more interest from both national and local businesses and from September, 24 mentors will work alongside around 30 students when the second cycle begins.
Sarah Barley, Subject Leader of Extended Studies, who spearheads the programme at Driffield School having previously launched a similar scheme at South Hunsley School, told the Wolds Weekly she is delighted to have received interest from major businesses which ensures the mentoring scheme continues to bridge the gap between education and employment.
“Over the last 12 months, we have recruited a number of mentors from different businesses and from September, we will have 24 mentors who will work with around 30 students from the Sixth Form,” explained Sarah.
“The success of the scheme last year has seen lots of interest from larger businesses including Subway, RB, Aunt Bessies, Cranswick plc, BAE, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the NHS and MKM.
“The fact that bigger corporations are offering support to our students is great for their CVs, job applications and their UCAS applications for university and college.
“Despite the interest from the bigger companies, we are still placing a major focus on local businesses and it is great that we have a range of organisations to choose from.
“Many of the mentors have previously been students at the school or have children here and want to give something back.”
The feedback received from the employers has been positive, with some of the mentors speaking of a ‘rewarding’ experience as they worked alongside the ‘fantastic’ young students.
“I signed up for the mentoring scheme because I felt that during my time at sixth form college and to a lesser extent, secondary school, that I was somewhat lost, with little idea of what I wanted to do in the future,” said Zachary Carrison from BAE.
“Now that I have overcome this, I would like to offer guidance or advice to any student who currently feels the same way and hopefully inspire them into a career that utilises STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.
“I personally was never offered the opportunity to have a mentor when I was in education so I feel that I can offer a student who is now experiencing the same uncertainty that I felt, some support, that could have a positive outcome on their further education or career choices.”
Paul Mellonby, from PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “I became involved with mentoring this year, when looking to forge links between the school and my employer PwC – so as to provide students with an additional level of employability support in future years.
“I view mentoring at Driffield as being an additional step between the excellent work that the teachers and school do and also advice being provided at home.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the meetings with my student, who was always well prepared, committed and professional throughout.
“Our sessions were always focused on what he wished to cover at the time, so as to get the most value – from discussing educational and career aspirations, through to CV guidance and interview techniques – used during his recent application and interview for an accountancy apprenticeship.
“My student has been a credit to the school and I would encourage anyone who is thinking about getting involved in mentoring to speak to the school, as mentoring is very rewarding – students are all the future of this country.”
One of them major successes from the scheme’s first year was Adam Storey, who secured an apprenticeship with global engineering giants Rolls Royce, which he will begin soon having recently completed his A Levels.
“I offered e-mentoring to Adam, who was looking to go down the apprenticeship route,” said Ryan Drewery from Rolls Royce.
“I offered advice on the application and selection process at Rolls Royce and supported him through his assessment.
“I was delighted to hear that he had been offered a Higher Level Apprenticeship with the company.”
As the industry mentoring scheme grows, Sarah is looking forward to continuing working alongside the school’s ‘dedicated’ students.
“The industry mentoring scheme has expanded but the focus is still on enriching the students so they are ready for the workplace and develop their skills beyond the classroom,” said Sarah.
“The students at Driffield Sixth Form have been extremely dedicated, hardworking and committed to the industry mentor scheme and other careers events that I have delivered over the past 12 months.
“They have shown true professionalism when visiting employer work places and throughout the mentoring scheme.
“They have made my experience at the school a very positive one and I look forward to continuing my work there next year as a result of this.”