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In celebration of National Mentoring Day 2019, we wanted to share this blog from Beth Edwards, who works for the charity, The JD Foundation. In this blog, Beth writes about the power of mentoring for both the mentor, and mentee.

My role JD Sport JD Foundation

I’m the Marketing Executive for The JD Foundation, a registered charity of JD Sports Fashion. We as a charity receive 100% of net proceeds from the sale of carrier bags and are able to support nearly 20 chosen charities across the UK who work with disadvantaged youth. My role involves many things like running our social media, working on different projects we do with our different charity partners, fundraising, and helping with events.

Inspired to Aspire

The Inspired to Aspire mentoring program has been running in our JD Head Office since 2017 and we’ve been able to mentor over 160 students in local schools. I’ve been really hands on with the Inspired to Aspire mentoring program with Salford Foundation, as I help to coordinate the visits to our Distribution Centre in Rochdale, so I have the pleasure of meeting all of the students who take part.

Students can often have no idea about how many diverse jobs a company can offer them – I’ve been questioned many times when I have told students my job involves social media! For the mentoring programme, we like to send a pair of mentors to each school with really different job roles from JD Sports Fashion plc. so that when students get to know them, they’re getting different experiences from the world of work. This is vital, particularly when students still aren’t sure what they’d like to do after they finish school or college .

From a personal experience, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my career when I was at school. Understanding of the types of job I could actually get would have benefitted me. Mentoring helps students not only develop these skills they’d need in a job, but know what employers have to offer them when they’re ready to enter the world of work.

Seeing progress

Completing the sessions on important topics such as team work and communication is vital for young students to understand future workplace scenarios. These sessions include presentations and time management activities.. I hear from many of the JD mentors just how much the students improve their confidence over the six-week period of the programme. I saw it first-hand when I completed the mentoring program myself. It can be a bit daunting for young people to walk into a classroom and see someone unfamiliar – but as the weeks pass, they become more inquisitive and want to know about what happens behind the scenes at work. This opportunity allows these young people to develop themselves by creating an opportunity to meet new people within the company – who they wouldn’t necessarily have met before.

The Inspired to Aspire program is a brilliant way to inspire young people for the world of work – and take their knowledge beyond the classroom. Mentoring provides them with an opportunity to work on different skills while having guidance and a strong connection between education and work. It’s really rewarding to have students tell us that they feel more confident now compared to how they felt before they began the program. Young people are developing more of an understanding about new and emerging careers – much like mine, even though it doesn’t mean they get to sit scrolling Instagram all day!