The Student Mentoring Programme, run by Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) partners mainly School Completion Programme (SCP) 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 business mentor provides an additional positive adult view on the working world and the opportunities it can present, with participant schools already reporting a significant impact on the students’ self-confidence and in influencing positive attitudes towards the Leaving Certificate examinations. The community based programme is part of BITCI’s on-going work to help businesses have a more positive impact on the communities in which they do business and on the 12th of May, 208 students and mentors were presented with certificates by newly appointed Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Charles Flanagan T.D.
The programme pairs employee mentors with a student in a local school 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. Employee volunteers indicate that the benefits from participating in the programme include developing their communication, interpersonal, team-building and leadership skills. To date the programme has seen 1, 184 employees give their time and experience to work directly with almost 1,284 students since the programme began.
Speaking at the event, Charles Flanagan, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs said: “The awards being presented today recognise the value of innovative collaboration by businesses, government and the not for profit sector in supporting positive outcomes for our young people. I believe that collaborative programmes like the Schools’ Business Partnership play a pivotal role in young peoples personal and social development, increasing their life-skills and employability.”
Ellen Dorian, student from Mulroy College, Co. Donegal who was awarded with a completion certificate stated: “I have had a great opportunity in having a mentor who has helped me look at every option and opportunity and also helped me to make a decision about what I want to do in the future. With their help and support, I now have the belief that I can do it.”
Businesses that participate in and support the scheme 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 Foods 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, Letterkenny; Irish Life partnered with Patrician College, Finglas; Communicorp partnered with our Lady of Mercy, Drimnagh and Horse Racing Ireland partnered with Curragh Post Primary, Kildare.Pictured above: Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Charles Flanagan TD with Jamie Ivers, Gillian Marley and Conor Doherty from Mulroy College, Letterkenny. Photo by Jason Clark.