Caroline Snape, Mentor Coordinator at City of Wolverhampton College: Moving to positive destinations

Caroline is co-ordinator at the college’s Student Hub department – a one-stop shop for all student enquiries. Caroline has embraced the 1MM programme for the benefit of her students, as she strongly believes in the importance of role models for student success.

Please can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Having worked in frontline services at the college for 26 years I felt that a mentor role would be very rewarding. The college’s ethos is ‘the student is at the heart of every decision’ and staff in the hub ensure that they give every student an appropriate level of support for their individual needs.

Why did you want you want/your company want to get involved with 1MM?

The college’s purpose is Defining Futures to ensure that student have the opportunity to move to positive destinations – either continuing their education or moving into employment. The college has a set of corporate values – it values students, values success and progression, values sustainable businesses and values role models – and all staff working together in line with this collaborative approach will continue to make us a successful organisation.

What challenges do you see facing young people today?

Many of our students face issues – such as mental health, financial constraints, personal/home situations – pressures of social media, low education attainment – which can affect their performance at college, their confidence and self esteem

Are you a mentor for anyone yourself?

As part of my role in the Student Hub I discuss different issues with students on a daily basis. One particular student talks to me on a regular basis which I feel has had a positive impact on him.  He will come to see me when there are problems at college or at home and has said he trusts me and can open up to me without me being prejudiced or judgemental.  This is what I would hope for with all mentor/mentee relationships.

Have you enjoyed your work with 1MM?

I have really enjoyed working with 1MM particularly this year so far as we have the support from Cameron & Wesley which has made the role less isolated & more defined in all aspects of the whole process.  On a personal level I really hope to continue with the mentor role.

Has the wider organisation been involved with the 1MM programme? If so, in what way?

Yes, we have staff who have registered with 1MM & are currently mentoring within the organisation.  My manager takes a very active interest which forms part of our one to one meetings on a regular basis & our Principal is very supportive in reaching out to as many students who may wish to be mentored as partof their college experience. He will be speaking to Wolverhampton Council to try to gain interest from staff there who may wish to register with 1MM & therefore mentor at City of Wolverhampton College.  As a college we are now going to raise the profile once again for 1MM by contacting all staff as we realise that we need more mentors sooner rather than later

Have there been any positive outcomes for your young people as a result of your involvement with 1MM?

Initially getting mentees on board with the programme was slow, we had more mentors than mentees.  However, this has now reversed, mentees ratio outweighs the mentors!  I have recently received feedback from one of the mentors who said their mentee had felt more comfortable in talking to them about their course & the challenges they faced. The mentee has also asked the mentor for help with their Maths homework as they felt less under pressure or judged by asking him rather than asking in the classroom environment. There have been no work placements secured so far.

Have you personally learnt anything through your involvement with 1MM?

Although I have worked in education for a number of years it makes me realise even more so the challenges young people face today, some that we wouldn’t even think about.  It has also made me realise how many good people we have in our communities from all walks of life who want to devote time to being a mentor to these young people

What would you say to someone who is considering partnering with 1MM?

I would strongly recommend other youth partners to work with 1MM.  There is a lot of support available, as with everything there is work to be done particularly at the start of the academic year, but it does give a great sense of satisfaction when mentors and mentees are matched and mentoring sessions have begun. Personally I will look forward to gaining feedback from our students who are being mentored this year and seeing how their journey has helped them for their future careers and personal achievements.