Why you should mentor by John Mulgrew

Posted on December 5, 2018

John Mulgrew is a ProjectScotland Mentor. He was kind enough to share his experience in the hope of encouraging more people to give the gift of their time. John talks about how both the mentor and mentee have much to gain through our mentoring programme…

“If you are considering volunteering as a mentor, let me encourage you to do so. ProjectScotland has made a significant commitment to helping Scotland’s young people who find themselves in need of support. These young people come from across Scotland and they have a range of needs. ProjectScotland offers each of them tailored support through matching them with a volunteer mentor.

There is no doubt that mentoring is a very rewarding process which uses a wide range of skills. That is why the initial process of matching the skills of mentors with the needs of mentees is very important.

One of the significant skills for a mentor is the ability to listen carefully to the young person with whom you have been paired. This is vital to establish how best to proceed. What is being formed is a participative partnership reacting and advising as carefully focused meetings are arranged and developed. Meetings should not be lengthy but give adequate time for a balanced exchange.

I have met many young people presented to me by ProjectScotland. No two have had identical needs or background. Ensuring that a bond of trust between participants is developed, these sessions have all gone very well. For the mentor, this is both a challenging and rewarding involvement.

To be a successful mentor requires preparation proceeding on the basis of commitment to helping young people. The skills that you deploy depend on the identified needs of the mentee. At all times a pathway for advice and action requires to be developed in a flexible and positive manner. As a mentor, you are a guide offering well-balanced advice. The ability to evaluate the progress being made as the partnership evolves is very important.

In addition to ensuring that the young person is benefiting from the involvement in the partnership what does the mentor stand to gain?

I have always found it most rewarding to see a mentee progress and achieve secure direction over a carefully planned number of meetings. For the mentor, this is a significant gain. Through helping young people achieve and develop, you recognise in yourself that you have experience and a variety of skills to offer. You can also gain insight into the needs of young people and the challenges they face in today’s society. As a mentor, you gain a lot personally through your involvement.

I offer you the encouragement to come forward as a mentor. You have much to offer and gain at the same time.”