A new mentoring scheme has been launched in schools across Devon, Plymouth, Torbay, Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

The Mentoring Programme funded by The Careers and Enterprise Company and coordinated by CSW Group will support young people aged 13 – 15 who have been identified as being able to benefit from the support of a business mentor.

A network of mentors is being recruited from the world of business and industry and has already attracted volunteers from The Nationwide Building Society and the Armed forces. Their skills will be matched to individual students so that they can help these young people, many of who will be disadvantaged, to fulfil their potential and gain a brighter future.

Project lead Yvonne Paddon of CSW Group said: “Disadvantage is not a choice for young people so it shouldn’t be allowed to impact on them, this initiative is all about nurturing talent and creating opportunities,” adding, “ CSW Group have spent over 20 years building bridges; connecting students to training and education, enabling them to flourish and broaden their horizons. The mentors involved in this project will do just that.”

Paddy Bradley, Director of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), said, “The SWLEP is delighted to endorse this partnership between the schools and businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire. Connecting our students with experiences from business very early on will make a huge impact on their learning and help them make more informed career choices later on in life.”

The project has also received important matched funding from both Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council to support this exciting initiative.

Phil Whalley, portfolio holder for education and skills at Wiltshire Council said: “This provides an excellent opportunity for young people to have the support of a mentor at some of the critical times in their lives when they are making key decisions on study and future careers. I wish the project every success.”

The 16 month recruitment will be targeted at recruitment of over 500 mentors who will help more than 600 students.

Debra Scarratt from Inspired to Achieve, a subsidiary of Yarlington Housing group said: “we are delighted to be a part of the Mentoring Programme which will help improve the partnership between schools and industry to give young people an opportunity to strive.”

Sheena Awdry Mentoring Project Co-ordinator pointed stated: “Mentoring produces amazing results, all young people deserve the very best we can offer them regardless of their personal circumstances and I am looking forward to getting involved in this inspiring project.”

Potential mentors may be currently in business or recently retired and only need to need to offer as little as one hour per month. CSW Group will offer any training and support that they may require, carry out a DBS check and match them to appropriate students. If you feel you could help please contact Caroline.Ward@cswgroup.co.uk for mentoring opportunities in Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset or Sheena.Awdry@cswgroup.co.uk for Swindon and Wiltshire.

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