In August the ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute) launched ‘Leaving School in Ireland: A Longitudinal Study of Post School Transitions’ which highlighted the relationship between students school experiences and their post school outcomes. The report found that young people rely on formal and informal guidance in making decisions about what they do after school. The Schools’ Business Partnership student mentoring partners School Completion Programme schools with a local business to give valuable one-on-one support in encouraging students to stay in school, increasing their self-esteem and developing an awareness of the workplace. The programme is aimed at reducing the levels of early school leaving in Ireland while providing students with a positive school experience that they will take with them beyond their secondary school years.
The business mentor provides an additional positive adult view on the working world and the opportunities it can present. Participating schools report a significant impact on the students’ self-confidence and their attitude towards the Leaving Certificate examinations. The programme pairs employee mentors with a student in their local community in their final two years of education where they spend quality time once a month at the company addressing these decisions. Not just purely business or academic focused, each partnership also arranges a number of outings throughout the year to develop the relationship and bond between the mentors and students with many participants maintaining these unique and strongly supportive relationships beyond completion.
Positive role models can help influence a young person’s attitude towards work and help them realise thier goals. For the majority of Irish students, the period between Junior and Leaving Certificate is when they’ll make decisions and choices that will set out their future career path including whether they’ll progress to further or higher education or whether they’ll seek to move directly into the workforce. Many young people who are facing challenging circumstances may find these decisions especially difficult. It is at this time students need guidance and mentoring in order to become fully aware of the opportunities available to them for the future.
Businesses that participated and completed a 2 year programme this year include some of Ireland’s leading companies: KPMG partnered with CBS Westland Row; Diageo partnered with Presentation SS, Warrenmount; Allianz Worldwide Care partnered with St. Dominic’s SS, Ballyfermot; Kraft partnered with Deansrath CC, Clondalkin; Limerick Institute of Technology partnered with St Nessan’s, Limerick; Investec partnered with Marino College, Fairview; Pramerica partnered with Mulroy College, Letterkenney; Irish Life partnered with Patrician College, Finglas; Communicorp partnered with our Lady of Mercy, Drimnagh and Horseracing Ireland partnered with Curragh Post primary, Kildare.
This year alone 208 students completed the Student Mentoring Programme and on the 12th May were awarded certificates by the then Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Charles Flanagan, TD. We want to encourage more companies to sign up to this programme for the 2014-2015 school year. To find out more read more here or contact Germaine Noonan, Programme Manager, on 018743809.Photos: Jamie Ivers, Gillian Marley and Conor Doherty of Mulroy College Milford, Donegal with Charles Flanagan, TD at the 2014 Mentoring Celebration Event, Dublin. Student Evan Kelly, St. Nessan’s CC, and his mentor Barry Coleman, Limerick Institute of Technology, during one of their mentoring sessions.