Manpreet - Former mentee to Intern

Manpreet has just finished year 12 at The Petchey Academy and is currently undertaking a Work Experience Internship in the ReachOut London office. He was a mentee with ReachOut for 2 years and believes that the programme helped shape who he is today. We asked him some questions about his experiences…

When were you a ReachOut mentee?

My name is Manpreet Singh and I studied at De Beauvoir Primary School and the Petchey Academy. At both schools I was a ReachOut mentee, during Year 6 and Year 8.

Why is mentoring important?

Mentoring can be really useful for young people whether they are from deprived areas or not. Mentors provide guidance and help young minds to develop. From the point of view of the mentee, working with someone who has gone on the journey you aim to follow is quite inspiring, and gives the mentee some ambition to keep going along the right path.

Not only is mentoring beneficial for the mentee but the mentor also gets an eye opening experience. Most mentors are at university or starting their paths into the world of work, which can be stressful. To work with young people and have some fun can be quite relaxing and helps a mentor escape from stress, take a breath, and enjoy what they have at this current moment. Overall, mentoring is important because it helps both mentee and mentor mentally and emotionally.

What do young people gain from having a mentor?

There are various things mentees can gain from mentors, but the most important would be learning from other people’s experiences. To be able to work with someone who is at a point where some children think is impossible to get to, such as university, can be inspirational and motivating for the mentee. Also mentees are able to develop other key life skills such as confidence, as they are moving out of their comfort zone of working with people they may be comfortable with. Furthermore, a mentor can become someone who the mentee is most comfortable with and that mentor could be one of the few people who a mentee can open up to and ask for advice, which is hard for young people to do due to social stigmas.

How does mentoring help young people use the character strengths in their futures?

The four character strengths; Good Judgement; Self-Control; Staying Power and Fairness are key skills for one to be successful in the future. Having a mentor allows for the mentee to see and hear experiences of those character strengths being used. A mentor is able to show how to implement the four strengths into everyday life. Being able to learn how to use these strengths at an early age makes it possible for a person to be able to have less troubles in the future as they have been taught how to stay strong and act accordingly, whereas others may be lost on how to act towards problems they are facing.

Where I am at now

I have just finished year 12, at the Petchey Academy, and I am now doing an internship with ReachOut during the summer. I study 3 A levels; History; Government and Politics and Business, and plan to go to Oxford to study either politics or classics.

The area of work I would like to go into would be Law. ReachOut has played an important part in my life to help get me to where I am now. I would personally say I am already an analytical person, a key skill essential for a lawyer, however I always lacked confidence in public speaking. However, by having a mentor during Year 6 and 8 I was able to practise and develop my confidence and public speaking. I am now much more confident and not as shy as I once was. I now feel like I am able to speak out and express my opinion without fear.

ReachOut helped to shape me into the person I am today and as a result, I have achieved great things such as winning debates apart of the Debate Mate programme, also I am a part of the student leadership team within Petchey and represent my fellow students. I have won trophies with the Petchey football team and at events at sports day due to having developed character strengths such as Staying Power. It is clear to see that ReachOut has played a role in getting me to where I am today and I am hugely thankful hence why I have come back to help the team during this internship.

Written by Manpreet Singh

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“At first, I was really hesitant to take on the Project Leader role, despite having mentored with ReachOut. However, with the support of the team I’ve really developed my skills. For example, at the Mentee Graduation, I stood up in front of 200 people and presented an award which is something I would never ever have been able to have done before, and isn’t an opportunity I could gain in my other situations.”

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“Being able to spend the summer working at Rede Partners, was an amazing experience. Whether it was working in HR or Finance, I learned so much about the world of private equity, made great connections with fantastic people and I got to learn first-hand what it would be like to work there! I really believe that I can go onto build the career I want now I’ve been a part for a workplace for real”

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“When I first my mentee, she was very reluctant to participate in the sessions. Now, I see a completely different person! Her confidence has grown and she is happy to join in! She still has some self-doubt when it comes to academic work, but that’s what I hope to help her overcome, because she is a very bright person!

Through mentoring, I’ve learnt I’m a lot more patient than I realised. There will be days where she refuses to participate and those are the days that I really see the importance of the character strengths, for both the mentees and the mentors. It also makes it easier for the mentee to understand the character strengths, when I use them myself”

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“There are more distractions than ever outside of school, and the commitment of our students to attend ReachOut sessions is testament to the value they place on the relationships they foster there, and the challenge and enjoyment they provide.

ReachOut’s focus on communication skills and character development has become an important aspect of our provision of support for these students. The opportunity to relate to a positive role- model other than their usual teachers is key to the programme’s impact, and the evidence of this has been seen in the students’ attendance, resilience and to their overall progress across all the subjects in the school.”

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