Want to know what a difference mentoring can make? Who better to ask than young people themselves?
‘I honestly don’t think I’d be here without my mentor’s push. I was the first person in my family to consider anything medicine-related and my school wasn’t much help. I was pretty clueless so it was really important for me to have someone I could ask about what I needed to do to get into medicine. She inspired me to go to Imperial. I realised that if I was confused at that age there were other people who must feel the same way. It really helped me so I thought it would be fantastic to give something back by helping others.’
‘Mentoring has changed my life. Without my mentor I’d probably be sitting around doing nothing but thanks to her advice I now have a clearer idea of my future. I really wasn’t confident but my mentor’s messages really motivated me, especially when she told me that it was my career and it was up to me what I did. There are always opportunities in the world but it’s up to you to grasp and use them in the right way. She told me that tomorrow is a different day and – no matter what happens – to keep on track. You always change your future but if you decide to stop now that’s your problem because you’ve done that for yourself. That made me more motivated because she gave me goals and future targets and made me realise what I want to do.’
‘I signed up to Realising Opportunities because I wanted every possible chance of getting into a good university. But when I sat my A-levels I was really tired and my concentration was awful. But my mentor explained how I could get them re-marked due to mitigating circumstances. That meant my grades were all marked up and I don’t think I’d have had my university offers if it hadn’t been for her. Online mentoring really helped me to get through the problems I had. It’s reaffirmed all my beliefs about how important it is to go to university.’
‘I would never have dreamt of studying law at university. I was so scared of speaking to my mentor at first because you have this image of a typical person working in law. But she was fantastic. She’s been through the same experiences as me so we got on really well. Her messages gave me the confidence I needed and I wouldn’t be here without her. The university didn’t like the fact I’d done a business A-level. So I wrote a letter giving examples of how business can relate to law and that I was really interested in doing it. They ‘phoned and made an offer a week later. She carried on mentoring me after the scheme and I know she will always be there for me. She’s been a great inspiration.’
Law is an exciting profession for people from all backgrounds, yet can appear almost impossible to get into for young people without the right connections and advice. Pathways to Law was launched in 2007 with funding from The Sutton Trust and The College of Law for students in year 12 and 13 students with no family history of higher education, who are interested in a career in law. The programme includes lectures and seminars delivered by members of the legal profession, a residential conference and a law firm placement. Supporting these activities, the scheme’s online mentoring provided by Brightside enables participants to access up-to-date careers and university advice, receive regular news feeds from the legal world and benefit from the specific experience of their mentor.