What’s in a Mentor?

By April 15, 2020 No Comments


Yesterday, I attended an event at The Landing in Media City. Salford Foundation hosted the day, bringing together the city’s industry and education leaders, as well as young people interested in mentorship.

Salford Foundation offers a scheme designed to develop the employability, social, academic and digital skills of young people, as well as connect them to the wider business infrastructure of the city. The goal of SF is to help young people understand how the wider economy works, and how industry requires the skills the scheme develops to thrive.

Media City is a vibrant, growing part of town. The place has a real buzz, housing cool media and tech businesses. People watching in a local coffee shop provides this insight. ITV and BBC lanyards abound. Haircuts much cooler than mine adorn bright young things whose animated talk light up the atmosphere. The Landing epitomises the vibe. A trendy bar compliments an event space which, situated on the 7th floor, provides a panorama of the city. The individuals in residence are likely forging careers in areas that will shape the local economy for the next 50 years.

Salford Foundation aims to bring people like this together with young people in the local education system. The scheme offers training to develop a host of employer-valued skills, as well as the force multiplier of the programme?—?access to mentorship.

Ferghal O’Hanlon of BNY Mellon told a story about the founder of the bank he now works for. Alexander Hamilton founded the Bank of New York in 1784. His career would’ve been illustrious had that been his sole achievement. In his spare time, he was a founding father of the United States. He has had a Broadway musical written about him. That’s when you know you’ve made it. Hamilton had a famous mentor: George Washington. I’ve no doubt that George Washington’s influence contributed to Hamilton’s success.

Washington mentored Hamilton during his military career. Herein lies the beauty of mentorship and the real lesson for the young people who attended SF’s event. We remember Washington as president, yet he had a career before this accolade, and had to work his way up the hierarchy like everyone else. Hamilton forged a relationship with Washington before he reached this peak. He was his top aide in the military, and likely caught Washington’s attention because he worked hard and provided a helping hand. People recognise energy and a willingness to learn. Hamilton had this in spades and Washington took interest. As Washington’s career progressed, he remembered the great job Hamilton did.

Mentorship is rarely a formal agreement. The best mentor / mentee relationships are often driven by a hard-working, eager mentee who reminds the mentor of their younger self. They recognise hunger and want to provide a helping hand. Access to the kind of individuals who can provide effective mentorship can often be difficult, especially for young people from tough areas with little exposure to the world of work. Salford Foundation is working hard to provide this opportunity.

The young people in attendance yesterday have a golden opportunity. They can connect with individuals who can shape the rest of the young person’s life. The real skill is to see this as a two way process. How can the young person show willing, hunger and desire to make the relationship profitable? How can they impress upon their mentor that they are hungry for advice and are willing to apply this advice to become successful? The danger with formalising a relationship like this is that it can promote entitlement. It is up to the young person to show they are worth an investment of time.

I hope the event yesterday inspired the young people present and they take the opportunity with both hands. Often, standing out is as easy as getting involved. The majority sit on the fence, making small acts such as participation appear impressive. Salford Foundation is something I wish I’d have had access to. It’s a game changer.

Phill

About Phill

Phillip is co-founder of Kloodle.

Leave a Reply