Volunteer to become a Brightside mentor

Our volunteers are the beating heart of our programmes. 

We have thousands inspiring role models signed up to be mentors and we’re always looking for more as each person has a unique experience to share. Our mentors provide advice, guidance and support for young people to choose the right path for them.

How it works

We deliver our online mentoring using fixed-length projects through the Brightside Online Mentoring Platform. This means that we allocate relevant volunteers from our network to each project as it starts. We’ll send you invitations to each of our mentoring projects that we think you’d be suitable for, and you can decide which project you’d like to get to get involved with.

Our mentoring projects typically range from 10-12 weeks, and when a project ends we’ll mark you as ready to take part in another one. We recommend at least 6 weeks to our partners, in order for the young people to have a meaningful experience. We run our projects in collaboration with universities, schools and corporate organisations who will all require volunteers from different backgrounds for their different projects with us. The details that you give when you sign-up to our network will help us identify the right projects for you.

The majority of our online mentoring projects run during UK term time, and so we allocate volunteers to projects towards the end of each term ready for the next one. This means that if you sign up to volunteer with us between October-December, you will likely be allocated to a project in January. We do our best to allocate you to a project as soon as one becomes available, so keep an eye out for our emails!

We ask our mentors to commit 1-2 hours per week while their project is running to support up to five young people on our online mentoring platform.

Mentee stories

Tahmina’s story

If I had to describe my mentor in one word, I’d say amazing. She did the same A Levels as me so she also sent me her notes from Chemistry which were amazing; I’m still using them.

Rano’s story

I knew I wanted to be a lawyer but I was concerned about the workload. My mentor was a working lawyer, so not only gave me advice about my UCAS application and interview questions, but also reassured me that you don’t need to overwork yourself to be successful. He told me about his personal experience of finding balance and saying no, and reminded me how important enjoying your free time is.

Simran’s story

I always wonder whether I’d be thinking or feeling the same about university if there wasn’t a pandemic. I completely lost that in-person interaction and was struggling with the UCAS application because of it. But then, if there hadn’t been the pandemic, I wouldn’t have been able to do the virtual work experience and use the Brightside platform.

Daniel’s story

I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to do after GCSE and I had no idea where to start. I was interested in aviation, zoology and conservation but after that I was lost. I didn’t know if you needed a degree or an apprenticeship and I wasn’t sure which path to choose. Mentoring was a very useful tool to help with this; it gave me a push to start looking at new things.

Aliza’s story

Mentoring was so important for me, especially during a lockdown where you only see the people you already know. You get to connect with someone you’d never speak to outside of school and that’s really important because it forces you out of your comfort zone.

Caitlin’s story

My mentor was lovely; we bonded over our pets and that made me feel more connected to her. She made me feel calmer about applying via UCAS and the interviews process. It was so easy to talk to her because she’s not much older than me.

What you'll gain

We know our mentors have a positive experience providing guidance for young people on our programmes because they tell us. 

We always hear how they find it mutually beneficial and that they often learn something from the people they mentor. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on your experience, develop your skills and it looks great on your CV.

Anyone thinking of mentoring should absolutely go for it; I was worried I wouldn’t have a lot to offer but you always have more to offer than you think. It isn’t about knowing all the answers, it’s about being a sounding board and coming up with a solution together. The impact you can have on someone’s life is huge.

Eleanor, mentor

Volunteering FAQs

To get started, we ask you to register interest in our volunteering opportunities by signing up to our volunteer network. Once you’re a part of our volunteer network, we’ll invite you to relevant opportunities as they come up based on the roles you have expressed interest in.

Sign up here

Our mentoring takes place on the text-based Brightside Mentoring Platform and is built to be flexible to both yours and your mentees’ schedules. As opposed to live chat or video calls, the text-based platform offers you the flexibility to structure your own conversations with your mentees based on your availability and other commitments. We ask that you always reply to your mentees within 3-4 days to keep up the momentum of the mentoring conversation and with the Brightside Mentoring App, our mentoring is available on the go at anytime that suits you. Signing up to our network means you are eligible for any of our roles, though to be an online mentor you will need to complete a DBS check to make sure you can work with young people. Our Child Protection Policy is available to read here.

Our projects require volunteers from different backgrounds, and as we run them in collaboration with universities, schools, corporate organisations and charities, they all have different requirements. Projects typically recruit mentors based on education and employment experience. We’re looking for volunteers at all points in their careers, including people who’re not currently working but have professional experience. We’re looking for mentors in all areas of work and value mentors who can share different experiences of routes into work, whether that’s vocational qualifications, university or on-the-job experience.

The text-based platform offers you the flexibility to reply to your mentee at a time that works for you. Equally, the mentee can take part as works for them and it doesn’t matter if you and your mentee can’t be free at the same time as communication is asynchronous. For many of the mentees we work with, text-based communication is their comfort zone so it’s the easiest way for them to engage. It gives both the mentee and the mentor time to consider their messages before sending it so you can both bring your best and have time to reflect throughout.

Check out our FAQs page