23 February City leaders gather to discuss mental health and long-term physical conditions in the workplace
The value of mentoring in your workplace
At The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, our Inclusive pillar aims to create a City where everyone feels they belong. Through our Power of Inclusion initiative, we aim to increase opportunities for those from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to start, develop and progress their careers in the City of London.
Mentoring is a tool that plays a critical role in helping young people see their place in the City. Many of the businesses involved in Power of Inclusion prioritise mentoring schemes within their social mobility strategies to help young people from under-resourced backgrounds navigate early career opportunities and see City businesses as a place they feel they belong.
We spoke to Helen Walledge, Senior Network Manager at the Girls Network, about how mentoring can positively impact young people and your organisation.
"Our mission is to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities."
Tell us about yourself and your role
I am responsible for our mentoring programmes in London. Our mission is to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities, and we do that by connecting them with a mentor and a network of positive female role models.
How does mentoring help to develop young people’s career opportunities?
Many don’t believe they can have high-status careers or achieve their ambitions, and may have only been exposed to narrow, stereotypical experiences of work.
To break the cycle of disadvantage and inequality that many girls face, they need the self-belief to realise their ambitions, the opportunities to develop a voice and a platform for it to be listened to; and the support to tackle obstacles along the way, for however long they need.
"To break the cycle of disadvantage and inequality that many girls face, they need the self-belief to realise their ambitions."
What impact can mentoring have on the mentor?
Becoming a mentor is an opportunity to hone skills such as active listening, coaching and supervisory skills. Working with young people also requires different skills to those of mentoring a colleague or peer for example.
Our mentors have also report an increase in confidence and accomplishment, as well as connecting them to a network of like-minded mentors across our regions, they also forge links with colleagues within their organisation which creates a sense of community and shared values, and this is increasingly important particularly in the new hybrid working world.
Here are two quotes from several of our mentors, when asked 'What have you learnt the most from being a mentor?'
“Being a mentor gave me the confidence to apply for my job promotion. Seeing my mentee push herself out of her comfort zone gave me the courage to do the same. If she can do it, so can I.”
“That all mentees have a lot to share about their views and ambitions. My role is to help them find their voice and become confident to share it.
In doing so, they improve their self-esteem and belief in themselves and their abilities, realising that they can achieve anything they put their minds and effort into.”
How can employers use mentoring to support young people from socioeconomically and ethnically diverse backgrounds to gain insight into their industry and organisation?
Here at The Girls’ Network we always say, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ Mentoring is a way to be a positive, relatable, representative role model for a young person and it help break down any barriers that exist between the workplace and a young person, helping them to see the reality and believe what is possible.
You learn as much about what you do want as well as what you don’t want when you are learning about an industry or sector. It can help you see the possibilities and potential future.
Young people from socioeconomically disadvantaged communities don’t widely have access to these opportunities from within their current networks, and this is a way to give them access to people within those fields who can advise them on the industry and organisation, helping them build social capital through formal and informal networks.
"Mentoring is a way to be a positive, relatable, representative role model for a young person."
Employers and mentors can help bring young people closer to the job market, closing that gap and giving them access to opportunities they otherwise might not have, or even be aware exist and are available to them.
Find out how you can help to ensure your employees feel like they belong here