Case Studies

Careers and Enterprise Company

Careers and Enterprise Company aims to prepare young people for work.

Careers and Enterprise Company uses Brightside mentoring to reach and engage Year 9 pupils in rural and coastal schools in Cornwall. The project has a strong local focus, with mentors recruited from employers in the area, who help their mentees to prepare a presentation about local industries or how climate change could affect Cornwall. Mentees also get 1:1 advice about their future options.

‘Bodmin College found online mentoring to be very useful as a way of getting students to engage with careers in a different way. Students were messaging their mentors regularly and definitely tried to follow up on the advice they were given. I think they liked that someone was there just for them. I definitely found this of use to students which is why I was so keen to run this again.’
Melanie Thomas, Careers Lead, Bodmin College

Greater Manchester Higher

Greater Manchester Higher aims to increase the number of young people from underrepresented groups entering higher education, as part of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP).

Greater Manchester Higher is using Brightside mentoring Sector Insight projects to enhance young people’s understanding of different careers and the educational routes to reach them. These six week projects match young people with mentors working in a sector they are interested in. Together they work through a structured programme of online mentoring, supported by e-learning materials within Brightside’s secure and moderated online platform, providing young people with an insight into a sector of their choice. Greater Manchester Higher runs Sector Insight project in the following areas:

We have also designed and developed projects providing young people with an insight into university and higher and degree apprenticeship study.

‘Brightside has developed innovative projects for Greater Manchester Higher giving over 500 learners access to personalised 1-1 support. Some programmes have been designed to support specific target groups, including learners on the autistic spectrum and white working class boys. Others have worked with post-16 students to give them an insight into different career areas, explore higher education and support their applications. Brightside are excellent to work with and all the mentoring programmes they have delivered have been effectively planned and actively managed.’
Jamie Bytheway, Operations Manager, Greater Manchester Higher

My mentor was so friendly and helpful. I couldn’t be happier with who I got paired with. She allowed me to gain more knowledge about apprenticeships as well as uni courses for the subject I would like to study. She definitely provided me with the correct information instead of pressuring me to go to uni which I was unsure about when I first started the project.’
Greater Manchester Higher mentee

Imperial College London Schools Challenge

Imperial College London Schools Challenge, supported by JP Morgan, aims to help Year 9 pupils consider STEM careers and make important choices about their education.

The Schools Challenge uses Brightside mentoring as part of a wider programme of activity based around teams of young people developing a product or service to improve the city they live in. The teams send messages to mentors from JP Morgan and the environment and engineering sectors on our online platform in between group sessions where they plan and design their solution, before pitching to a panel of judges at a final event.

‘Brightside has been instrumental in helping the teams keep in touch, share updates and access support from their mentors when they need it. We’ve also found Brightside a fantastic platform for sharing useful links and videos to inspire students about future careers. The ‘Ask the Expert’ element has been a great way to kickstart the project and give students the opportunity to find out more from professionals working in their field of interest.’
Liz Hider, Schools Challenge Programme Coordinator, Imperial College London

John Schofield Trust

John Schofield Trust aims to increase social mobility in the media by introducing sixth form students from disadvantaged areas to careers in the news industry.

John Schofield Trust uses Brightside mentoring to match Year 12 students with journalist mentors working for organisations such as BBC News, who helps them find out what the job is really like and provides advice about the best routes into the industry. The project also includes online activities to develop journalism skills and a Journalism Insight day of practical experience at one of the partner universities Falmouth, Nottingham Trent and Sheffield.

‘In working with Brightside we wanted to broaden the pool of talent entering UK newsrooms. The scheme has allowed us to target students who otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to connect with someone in the media. Online mentoring has opened their eyes to the wide range of career opportunities available within the news industry. What is more, they realise that it is within their reach.’
Susannah Schofield, founder, John Schofield Trust

‘Online mentoring is really useful because as well as the knowledge you get from school you’ve got someone actually working in the industry who can give you advice. You don’t have to pick a time to meet them – if you think of a question you can just send it to them and they’ll answer it, which is a really helpful way of communicating’.
John Schofield Trust mentee

National Autistic Society

National Autistic Society uses Brightside’s online mentoring platform to run an e-befriending project, connecting people aged 16+ with an autistic spectrum disorder and their families with a trained volunteer. The project provides vulnerable adults who may have difficulty accessing other services with a safe space in which they can seek support whenever they need it, and a friendly link to the wider community.

‘We have worked with Brightside for several years to facilitate our E-befriending Service. Knowing that inappropriate language and attachments automatically go into moderation for checking gives us the security to run our service confidently. This is especially important to us as many of our users are considered to be vulnerable. The Brightside platform is easy to use for us as coordinators and for our mentors and mentees and we receive excellent support from our project coordinator.’
Michelle Englar, Lifeline Volunteer Manager, National Autistic Society


Pathways has run several projects in Northampton connecting Year 12 and FE college students with undergraduate mentors who provide personalised information, advice and guidance about higher education. Pathways has also used Brightside’s Sector Insight mentoring to enhance pre-16 students’ understanding of different careers and the range of educational routes they can take.

‘The HE Explore model truly works when both mentees and mentors engage with each other. At this point the mentees are able to fully explore all HE options with a relatable mentor who has been through a similar experience.’
Sam McKay, Pathways co-ordinator

‘It was an incredibly valuable and useful experience.’
Pathways mentee

Smarter Futures

Allen & Overy is aiming to tackle the issues of social mobility and unequal access to the professions by giving students an insight into business and law.

The Smarter Futures project uses Brightside mentoring to provide ongoing support to students in Year 13 who have participated in Allen & Overy’s Smart Start work experience programme. Young people are matched with a mentor from Allen & Overy or one of its clients, who provide personalised advice and support around education choices and career routes. The 12 month project also includes face-to-face mentoring and employability masterclasses.

All students participating in Smarter Futures can apply for a Smart Start Star Award (a bursary of £10,500 paid over a three-year degree).

‘Our partnership with Brightside enables us to ensure our award-wining social mobility programme, Smarter Futures is open to young people up and down the country – helping to tackle social mobility cold spots. As an employer based in London we know how important it is to provide opportunities to support young people nationwide. Brightside’s platform provides us with the most effective way for our employees to offer advice and guidance to support young people as they navigate the decisions in their final year at school.’
Emma Turnbull, Pro Bono and Community Affairs Officer, Allen & Overy

‘The mentoring platform has been so helpful- having someone there for you to answer any of your questions about University and beyond is extremely valuable. I was given advice that I would not have received at school.’
Smarter Futures mentee

The Sutton Trust

Brightside has worked with The Sutton Trust for a number of years across many of its social mobility programmes, using online mentoring to provide students with additional support to enhance a programme of skills workshops, placements and face-to-face interventions. These include the Pathways programmes for Law, Coding and Banking and Finance, alongside the Sutton Scholars and Sutton Trust Summer Schools.

‘Online mentoring allows our students to consolidate the experience of a face-to-face intervention and receive support long after they have left the classroom. It provides a safe space to ask questions they may not otherwise ask and get tailored advice and support from a trained mentor. A relationship with a mentor allows students to develop their confidence and communication skills and we have seen many success stories through our time working with Brightside.’
Laura Bruce, Head of Programmes and Partnerships, The Sutton Trust

‘Online mentoring gave me an opportunity to ask questions to people who are going through the process of studying law and their background, which to me was more valuable and relatable than such advice coming from teachers and career advisers. Being the first generation of my family to go to university, there were a lot of unknowns, both surrounding studying law and university in general. The programme allowed me a realistic insight into both of these things with support and guidance offered along the way.’ 
Pathways To Law mentee