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Karen’s story

Started volunteering - 2009

Number of programmes - 10

Area of expertise - Business

I’ve been mentoring with Brightside for thirteen or fourteen years and I’ve answered very similar questions throughout that time. Young people have always wanted to know more about getting to uni and want to feel more confident in their choices.

I always try to advise them that uni isn’t the be all and end all and encourage them to look into apprenticeships too. Sometimes they have a definite idea in their head and I encourage them to broaden that out a bit so they have other options and back-ups.

I found out about Brightside through a post on our internal site at Aviva, where I work. I’d been on the lookout for another way to give back since I left my volunteering role at a school. I used to go in and help children read but couldn’t sustain it, so the fact that Brightside’s mentoring was online really appealed to me.

The platform has changed but it’s still the same simple formula; you send a message, it’s moderated, they reply and you can share resources.

Over the years, I’ve always felt really supported by Brightside. The training courses are great and they’re always there to help no matter how big or small the issue.

I really enjoy mentoring. I don’t have much interaction with young people so I get a lot out of it myself. They’re really appreciative and told me they felt they could be open with me. I’m someone different from who they have at home and school and they’re grateful that you’ve given up your time to help them.

I’ve mentored with Brightside for so long because it’s an easy way to help out. You don’t get bombarded with stuff and your problems get resolved. Online mentoring is a great thing to do and I often encourage my colleagues to do it too.

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