Steve Perham, mentor at St Teilo’s: A new adventure with One Million Mentors

Steve has worked in education and training with the RAF for the past 10 years, and 1MM is delighted that he has decided to share his skills and experience by mentoring a local young person. An adventurous spirit who is invested in youth development, Steve brings energy and expertise to unlock the potential of his mentee.

Please can you tell me about yourself?

I decided to join the Royal Air Force in August 1988 and last year, while the RAF celebrated its 100th year anniversary, I was delighted to be quietly celebrating 30 years of service in the RAF.

I am passionate in advocating the wide and varied world of work opportunities available to young people, and as an avid STEM Ambassador and Business Mentor I spend time offering Personal Development Training, Life Skills, and Teamwork, Leadership and Communication workshops to a variety of young people, sports groups and youth associations.

I enjoy all sports and outdoor activities, and have been very fortunate to have played many different sports and experienced a wide variety of adventurous training activities, with a 3 week trip to Nepal on a trekking adventure to Everest and the surrounding glaciers and mountain ranges probably one of my life highlights.

What challenges do you see facing young people today?

My perception of their challenges is probably somewhat different to their perception, but I do feel that young people today are put under much more pressure at an early age than I can ever remember being under. Social media has an awful lot to answer for, and lots of the young people I work with are worried about many things and focus on fitting in with image, fashion, being body perfect, in the right social group, and sadly all these behaviours are aligned to just feeling as though they are fitting in, when we were all born to stand out.

Why did you choose to mentor?

I have been very fortunate to personally gain from people who have taken the time to assist me develop, and I have had some fantastic mentors myself over the last 30 years. Looking back, I strongly feel that a huge amount of my success, personal development, and professional growth has to be attributed to the fantastic people who have helped me at different times of my career.

There is always something we can offer young people, and I see “time” as one of the most important commodities we own, have control of, and more importantly if used properly can help shape, change and positively influence lives more than we realise. Only by reflecting back on how I have been helped by my mentors over the years do I realise its real importance.

Is there anything you personally want to get out of mentoring?

Quite a difficult question, I didn’t enter into this project with any personal aspirations, if I am honest I just didn’t want to let my mentee down in any way. However, just the satisfaction of seeing someone grow and succeed beyond their original expectations is all I need to continue to offer any help I can.

What activities do you and your mentee engage in?

My 1MM mentee is an incredibly talented young person who has really encouraged me to focus on our sessions and the outputs we want from them.

Apart from our initial meeting where we got to know more about each other and set our goals and boundaries, we agreed to both take ownership of our joint goals and what we wanted to achieve over the mentoring period. I always start our session with some form of problem solving activity or exercise which we either work on together, individually or, on occasion, compete against each other. This then helps to provide quick and easy lessons identified from a safe environment which can be taken forward onto the remaining session focus.

Are you enjoying your mentoring experience?

Absolutely, I am in an extremely busy but hugely rewarding job, and sometimes I find myself being unconsciously competent in what I do.

Yet when we have a mentoring session scheduled, it makes me stop and focus on what our next 60 minutes are going to look to achieve, and in order to maximise our time I need to be prepared.

Can you see the impact that mentoring is having on your mentee?

Definitely! Our rapport level has really grown over the last 6 months or so, and now my mentee is much more confident to share his personal thoughts and feelings, along with things he hopes to achieve in the future. We are much more comfortable working together in our sessions and I have been reliably informed from one of his teachers that they have also noticed how his confidence has grown not just inside our sessions but also outside the sessions. And I am confident this will continue for the remainder of our mentoring partnership.