“Sometimes it’s not turning up and looking cool – it’s just turning up”

29th April 2021

Meet Michael, a Ypeople volunteer, who is part our intandem mentoring service for  young people. He’s been matched with his mentee, Andrew, for 8 months throughout lockdown and is loving every minute! Read his story of why mentoring matters to him.

“I think I’ve been quite lucky where I’ve ended up. At school, I was a very average student who flew below the radar. I remember having it drummed into me that only route to a successful life was through a university degree or equivalent and that’s something that weighed heavily on my mind as a young person.”

“When I left school, I fell into a job at local insurance broker which set me on a path to where I am now. It does sound strange that an industry like insurance would be a “calling” of sorts but helped me realise that I could be whoever I wanted to be.”

“When I first arrived at the office I could barely write a letter, but there were doors open to me that would allow me to study and work which was exactly what I needed.”

“Looking back at  high school, I realise that there were a lot of things that I’d wished I’d had the confidence to do and that’s a big part of what lead me to volunteer as a mentor.”

“I often think that even if I had had a slightest nudge out of my comfort zone at times, it would have made a huge difference to my life and confidence for the better”, he recalls.

“In my short time as a mentor, I’ve learned so much. Like most people starting out, I thought being a mentor was about being this cool, admirable person that young people will look up to and want to be like.  And we’d have to do fun and exciting activities each week and we’d have outdo ourselves again and again, but it’s so much simpler.”

“Sometimes it’s not turning up and looking cool – it’s just turning up, Being supportive and consistent is so much more important than fun and flash.”

“My mentee and I have been cycling, hillwalking and boxing but we’ve also had days where we’ve sat on a bench with a chippy and just chatted or had a game on FIFA online.”

If I had to summarise the message that I’d like to pass onto mentees it’s that the decisions and actions we take as young people may guide our future selves, but they don’t need to define our lives.

“As mentors, our job is to make sure we stick around and support them to reach their potential even if it’s a slight nudge in the right direction.”

Our intandem service, in partnership with Inspiring Scotland, is Scotland’s mentoring programme for young people looked after at home. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to become a Ypeople intandem mentor get in touch with our team at


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