Mentoring for the Future: My Journey with One Million Mentors

Putting Aire Time to good use - Jody signs up for One Million Mentors (1MM) and talks about his journey so far.

I decided to use some Aire Time and sign up for One Million Mentors (1MM). The goal of 1MM is to transform society by connecting one million young people with one million opportunities. They use a digital platform to match professional mentors with young people through partners such as schools, colleges, universities, and charities. Although I had experience mentoring in a professional setting, I was in initially apprehensive about mentoring young people and helping them with their future goals but thought I would give it a go.

First, I determined my objective for the program. Given my background, I aimed to help people from similar or underrepresented backgrounds pursue careers in STEM. I quickly onboarded to the 1MM platform, and Holly, the regional coordinator, provided two online training courses, which included creating a profile and setting goals for my mentoring journey. The website offers extensive supporting material, including essential information on safeguarding when working with young people.

I was paired with a mentee from Oldham Sixth Form College. Mentees create a profile and provide information about themselves and using this information from 1MM, I curated a list of questions and prepared for my first mentoring session.

Since my mentee is in Year 12, all sessions are chaperoned by one of her teachers. After some paperwork and formalities, we got into the session. I tried to keep it informal, knowing it might be daunting for her. We discussed her interests, goals, strengths, and weaknesses. She has a clear career plan to attend medical school and train in neurosurgery, inspired by her own medical challenges and a desire to help others.

Although my mentee understood the process of getting into medical school, we identified areas to work on: confidence, self-presentation, and responding to feedback. She has shown great resilience and determination, though she might not fully recognise these qualities in herself. The next steps are to secure a summer placement and write a personal statement, both crucial due to the competitive nature of medical school admissions.

I set her tasks for our next session:researching potential summer placements and finding ways to improve her acceptance chances. Initially, she planned to apply to a hospital, which is unlikely without connections. I encouraged her to consider other organisations where she could demonstrate relevant skills. Next, we will work on her personal statement. Mentoring so far has been insightful, rewarding, and a bit daunting, and I hope to make a significant difference in my mentee's journey, and I am really looking forward to our next session.

Jody