The positive power of mentoring

8th October 2018

Following a report by Education Scotland which claimed mentoring appeared to have little or no positive impact on positive outcomes, Ypeople’s CEO Joe Connolly outlines the value which volunteer mentors bring to young people.

Most people can pinpoint someone who, in their formative years, provided a positive influence, helping them choose a particular path in life.

Mentors such as parents, elder siblings, teachers, sports coaches and employers can prove crucial at a time in our lives when we’re confronted with difficult choices.

I was amazed, therefore, to recently read official guidance from Education Scotland suggesting ‘mentoring appears to have little or no positive impact on academic outcomes.’

Ypeople’s three mentoring services – Ypeer, intandem and the Calm Project –  are community-based and allow our volunteer mentors to offer a service which doesn’t focus solely on academic goals but also addresses social and emotional needs.

While Education Scotland’s report is presumably referring primarily to school-based mentoring, it nevertheless seems bizarre to claim this has no positive impact.

Our services support youngsters, who have previously had long periods of non-attendance at school, back into attending regularly.

Mentors also offer assistance with managing stress and anxiety during exam periods, helping youngsters study more effectively and achieve better results.

For young people who have gone through adverse childhood experiences, mentoring can significantly improve their mental and emotional wellbeing and build resilience which has a positive impact on their school performance.

Many of the young people we’ve worked with have progressed to college and university and attribute their academic success to the mentoring support they received during their time at school.

In short, there is a considerable body of evidence to support mentoring which demonstrates that the presence of one reliable adult in a child’s life can have a significant impact on their social and emotional development.

< back