We are in lockdown, but the future of young people cannot be on hold.

In April, the Support my Future Programme promoted by Volunteering Matters in partnership with Deutsche Bank and Harris Academy Bermondsey moved online.

“Young people may experience increased feelings of isolation, uncertainty and anxiety, it is therefore vitally important for us to engage and connect with them continually so they are reminded that they are part of a community”, explains Nomso Oranu, Business Mentoring Lead at Harris Academy Bermondsey (HAB). “Equally, for mentors the opportunity to engage through the programme will bring a sense of community during these uncertain times– and will help to alleviate feelings of anxiety or low mood.”

The programme matches students with numeracy, literacy and employability mentors to support students through their final years at school.

“The programme is far more than just engaging with students and providing advice. Students are benefiting from the opportunity of receiving guidance from experienced professionals who offer a different perspective to their teachers.”

“The focus of the programme uniquely combines tutoring and guidance on school subjects that are pertinent and relevant to the students, with career and aspirational mentoring – it is this bespoke nature that is highly valued by the students.”

“HAB is committed to engaging and developing business links and the volunteering programme as we recognise adds significant value to our curriculum. I personally have received lots of personal and professional satisfaction working with Volunteering Matters. As the school coordinator, the professionals who I liaise with are engaging, energetic and arrive with a real sense of purpose. Volunteering Matters is highly organised, communicative and recruits volunteers who are highly knowledgeable, professional and who recognise the positive influence they can impart to students.”

Thanks to our dedicated numeracy coaches, HAB students can continue developing their numeracy skills at home, in a safe environment.

“I have spent the past 5 years tutoring GCSE Maths, most recently with Volunteering Matters, as I have a real passion for helping students to gain confidence and skills in Maths”, says Sally Emerson, Deutsche Bank  numeracy coach at Harris Academy Bermondsey.

“Achieving GCSE Maths is key to the opportunities available to young people – choosing a college/ sixth form, enrolling on an apprenticeship or getting a job. The current restrictions may have shut down schools but this reality has not gone away. When the opportunity to continue support as an ‘e-Mentor’ arose, I jumped at it!”

Mentors use video conferencing to deliver the lessons online using a whiteboard tool and screen sharing to go through exam questions, “It is my view that the need for the students to explain their workings using their voice rather than showing their paper has enhanced the learning process.”

“I’m really enjoying the sessions and preparation; during these uncertain and distressing times it is great to have a focus which positively impacts the community. Thank you to Volunteering Matters and HAB for the organisation and technical set up!”