Ablaze is absolutely delighted to announce that West of England Mentoring is a finalist in the National Mentoring Awards 2019!

West of England Mentoring (WEM) works with schools and businesses to provide business mentors to students aged 12-16 across the West of England.  WEM is run by Ablaze in partnership with Mentoring Plus, Babbasa and Bath Bridge.

The WEM group mentoring programme is aimed at students in years 8-11. Working with volunteers from a local business or organisation, students gain knowledge of opportunities, work-place skills and employability pathways. It aims to inspire and motivate students to raise their aspirations and stay engaged with education. The activities encourage students to set personal goals and work out their own plans for achieving them.

Six sessions take place over a twelve week period. Over time, students build trust and rapport with their adult mentors, helping to improve communication skills and confidence.

Each school is partnered with a local company which supports the programme by providing adult
mentors. The mentors are trained and given support from the WEM Project Manager.

Following a tried and tested model, the students build relationships with the volunteer mentors who provide positive role models throughout the programme. Mentors support and advise the students as they work through the activities in small groups.

At least one session of the six (often more) takes place at the business premises. The students have the extra benefit of experiencing the real life working environment.

The WEM programme has had a fantastic impact with students. In 2017/18, 264 secondary students who took part in our WEM business mentoring programme. Of those students, 97% are more confident in themselves and their ability to make decisions, 100% have better knowledge of careers and 98% have improved skills needed for employment. Further details of WEM’s impact can be found in the Ablaze Annual Report.