Our ReachOut at 20 Panel Discussions

Earlier this month, we held our ReachOut at 20 supporters event. We heard from a fantastic panel of speakers on the role of mentoring when it comes to social mobility as well as from our amazing alumni on what ReachOut has meant to them.

Role Models, Mentoring and Social Mobility

Charlie Allen – tailor and lecturer, told us it can be the role of a mentor to introduce young people to new experiences and industries. He also shared the value of welcoming ReachOut mentees to his Savile Row tailors as part of our programme of workplace experience visits.
Soprano Joan Rodgers CBE, shared her thoughts on ensuring young people from under-resourced communities are given the opportunities to get involved in the arts. It’s vital, she said, to make sure that everyone has the support they need to follow their passions.
Greg Forde, Director at Deloitte, shared the impact of mentors on his life and career. He talked about the importance of giving back and how, no matter who you are and how far you go, you can be the bridge that brings young people into your field.
Mala Manku CEO of the Cavendish Group, reflected on how good mentors can’t just focus on their successes, they also have to be honest about their challenges and failures. Being a positive mentor means showing the journey you’ve been on, not just where you’ve got to.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to our panel for sharing their expertise and insight, and to Steven McCann for chairing an excellent discussion.

Mentoring and character education for young people

For our second panel, we were joined by an amazing panel of alumni to talk about what mentoring has meant to them.

Wasim told us that, growing up, he found it challenging to find his place in the world. Being at ReachOut, and having a mentor, helped him find his way. He told us he wouldn’t be where he is today without the conversations he had.

For Jedan, being part of ReachOut offered him opportunities that no one else did. He was excited to learn new skills and it kept him coming back every week.

Elizabeth told us that she started ReachOut in year 7 and initially was very shy. She loved coming to every mentoring session and came out of her shell, feeling so much more confident and comfortable.

Jaffar talked about how ReachOut isn’t just a place to meet new people, it’s a place where you can meet people you know will be there for you.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to our panel for sharing their stories and to mentor Matt Barham for chairing an excellent discussion.

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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.”

Amy McCutcheon, Project Leader at ReachOut Academy, Dean Trust Ardwick, Manchester.


“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”

Victor Adekunle, 18 years old, ReachOut Ambassador, London


“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”

Myrtle, ReachOut Club mentor at Tufnell Primary School, London


“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.”

Thomas Janvrin, Assistant Vice Principal at the Petchey Academy London