For many children and young people 2020 was a year of extreme difficulty and 2021 has continued in the same way. National lockdown brought with it six months of not being in a formal educational setting, then there was some respite when schools embarked on a new normal and children went back to school, Then, another lockdown closing schools once again.
Children and young people are now back in school, but the uncertainty, fear and worry has not gone away. Likewise, for those children in alternative education provision or excluded and not in formal education, the difficulties and challenges they face are even more stark.
The demands of our current situation caused by this worrying and stressful global disease pandemic brings with it, ever increasing anxieties for children and young people locally, nationally and internationally.
Long before this pandemic took hold, we all knew we needed to find solutions to tackle social inequality and address the issues that far too many young people face such as difficulties at home, mental health difficulties and criminal exploitation.
We need to listen to and support young
people so that we can truly help them to address their vulnerabilities and further instil the belief they can achieve.
The question is how do we do this?
The solutions are there. We know that effective mentoring in our communities can positively change the lives of young people. We understand that the provision of collaborative support can equip young people with the right knowledge and skills to succeed. But we now just need help to make this happen in a far more effective way.
Youth mentoring organisations do a fantastic job and the vast majority of mentors within communities are volunteers.
We need to support youth mentors in our communities with certified training to further equip them to support young people.
A lack of training comes with such a huge risk to our mentors and we definitely should not be imposing any additional risk to already vulnerable young people. We should also not risk the reputation of those people we are asking to mentor young people without providing them the appropriate skills, knowledge and ongoing learning support.
In was asked by a business leader that I have known for many years "what can you do within the business community?"
You can sponsor the training and certification of a number of youth mentors in a community for a relatively small cost. Perfect for any medium to large organisation that wants to really make a difference and positively change the lives of young people in communities as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
Together we can raise the standards of mentoring and start genuinely investing in young people.
Mentoring has the potential to positively change lives, let’s make this potential a reality.