Spirit has awarded £50,000 to youth leadership organisation UpRising to develop an online mentoring platform. The pilot version is now live and currently looking to recruit mentors from Manchester, Cardiff and London. The aim is to attract large numbers of professionals and train them to become effective mentors who can help maximise young people’s talents and get them into the world of work.
Following the recent One Million Mentors launch events, we spoke to Alvin Carpio, who has benefitted from mentoring and is now working on the Project...
Alvin – great that the project has now been launched in Cardiff, London and Manchester. But what exactly is One Million Mentors?
"One Million Mentors aims to train, recruit, and connect a million mentors to a million young people in the UK to help them maximise their talents and get into the world of work, over the next decade. We want to build a world where mentoring for young people is a right, not a privilege, and in turn, build a better future for Britain."
Explain the purpose of the online site and why that is unique?
"There are several mentoring programmes out there that are doing brilliant work. We want to scale this up exponentially using our new online platform. What is it? It’s a website which allows mentors to explore mentoring opportunities with different youth organisations. For example, you could choose to mentor someone from a young women’s programme, or a young person who is participating in a leadership programme. Also, we provide a comprehensive online training curriculum written by experts to ensure you know how to make the most of your mentoring relationship. What’s great about the online platform is that we can then analyse the data to understand the real aggregate impact of mentoring UK-wide."
That makes sense - so how did you come to be involved?
"I have had many mentors who have helped me throughout my education and career. I was then asked to join the One Million Mentors emerging leaders’ advisory board before taking on a part-time secondment as Head of External Affairs for the pilot. It was a great opportunity to give back after having gained so much from my own mentors, and I couldn’t resist the prospect of helping recruit mentors to help other young people."
What have you personally gained from mentoring?
"So much! When the now Mayor of London Sadiq Khan sat down with me for a mentoring session, he helped guide me through career opportunities in my mid-twenties. My first ever mentor from Channel 4 showed me the basics of how to run a professional meeting - essential advice which young people with parents from non-blue-collar backgrounds just don’t get. Overall, my mentors have proved to be inspirational figures in my life who have shown me what is possible."
Why should people sign up to the One Million Mentors portal?
"We know mentoring works. It’s a simple idea, and a way for people to have a real and direct way of making a difference in someone’s life. That’s what’s great about it. It’s good for mentors, it’s good for mentees, it’s good for business, it’s good for community cohesion, and it’s good for opening up opportunities for disadvantaged young people. Given the world we live in today, one which is unpredictable and unclear, we need a new generation of diverse leaders, and mentoring helps bring new people into the fold."
What are you hoping happens next with the programme?
"I hope we change the lives of one million mentees and one million mentors, and the collective millions those people engage with in the future."
Thanks for talking to us Alvin. One final question... who would you most like to be mentored by on the entire planet (living or dead?!)
"Great question! There’s too many to choose one, but a few people include Jose Rizal, Martin Luther King, and Angela Merkel."