Katy works at a local solicitors’ firm in Haringey and was looking for an opportunity to volunteer where she would use her experiences to help a young person.
Joyce [the mentee] came into the mentoring relationship feeling confused about her future plans. Katy supported her in choosing a course that she was passionate about and seeking opportunities that would provide her with knowledge in that field. Initially, Joyce wanted to study International Relations but realised that she was really interested in Engineering. Since then, the pair have been working together on Joyce’s UCAS application and finding opportunities in Engineering and employability.
When asked why she chose to volunteer with IntoUniversity, Katy commented:
“I was looking for somewhere to volunteer locally and specifically for some kind of mentoring programme. I liked [the charity’s] focus on university aspirations but I also liked that they work with students from a young age, all the way through to their first job, rather than a short term intervention at a specific time in their lives. I really enjoyed my move from college to university but no-one in my immediate family had gone to university before that, so I can understand how that jump can seem so huge – and I wanted to help young people with that.
I’ve really enjoyed seeing my mentee develop from when I first met her – she has made a choice about her future career goals, what she would like to study and is really focused on how to achieve that, as well as seeking more opportunities. It’s also good to get a fresh perspective on the world from someone younger and to see the world through their lens. It’s good to hear her plans for the future and to be able to talk them through with her to help inform her next steps.”
Katy also commented on the skills she has gained since volunteering with IntoUniversity:
“I wasn’t expecting to learn how to mentor online – but this year has brought many unexpected things to all of us! It’s good to be able to make a connection online in spite of internet issues, and to feel like not everything is on hold for her because of lockdown. I also think mentoring has helped me improve my own communication skills – especially in terms of active listening and discussing with young people. I’ve also learnt more about the online UCAS system, which is very different from when I applied to university.”
When asked if she would recommend volunteering with IntoUniversity to a friend, Katy replied:
“Yes – definitely! It’s a really flexible way to volunteer, we can arrange appointments around our diaries and it does not take a huge amount of time but…it can help at a point where a young person needs extra support and guidance. I think it will be really rewarding to see where she gets to in the next 9 months or so. So far it has been really rewarding seeing her progress.”