Claire Williams, Cycling and Walking Development Manager, Transport for West Midlands
I have been a mentor for nearly six months. I was interested in giving something back to my local community and when I spotted the email at work I signed up straight away. Once I had completed the training I was pleased to see that a local college was looking to take part in the scheme, and I was matched with a student who was interested in local government, which is my background. We meet each month, for an hour, and we have explored a range of things, mainly relating to his career and how he can make the most of the time at college before embarking on employment.
We all need a helping hand at some point, and it is really useful to be able to use your experience to help others. I enjoy spending time within a different type of environment rather than the office, and interact with different people – not only with my mentee but also the other students and staff at the college.
Mentoring has given me insight into the challenges that people face when making life choices and how powerful just having another person to talk to can be. It has given me a new perspective on things, and it has definitely made me value the support I have had over the years.
Mentoring is not only rewarding but also gives you great perspective of the challenges all around us. You don’t have to be super qualified or have decades of experience behind you – you just need to be open to help others and provide a safe and supportive space for an hour a month. It’s a win-win!