Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he wants a “new generation of high-flying mentors” from Britain’s leading businesses to mentor “at-risk teenagers”.
In a recent speech Cameron announced a new national campaign targeting businesses, charities and public sector employers to recruit “high-quality” mentors to “help struggling teens fulfil their potential and improve their life chances”.
Claiming that around 25,000 pupils about to start their GCSEs are at-risk of under-achieving or dropping out, Cameron said: “Many people can look back at their younger selves and point to someone – perhaps a parent or teacher, a sports coach, or their first boss – and say ‘that’s the person who found my passion. They’re the ones who made the difference’. No mention of careers professionals, though he may have also had this in mind – what do you think?
He said “But if you haven’t ever had someone in your life who really believes in you – who sees your potential and helps bring it to the fore – the sands of time can drain away, and your talents can remain hidden.” Personally, I had always understood that well trained careers professionals, good at their job, work in this way i.e. encourage individuals to believe in themselves and support them with independent and impartial information.
The Press Release states: “Government will spend £70 million on its strategy to improve careers education and guidance in this Parliament, including continued funding for The Careers and Enterprise Company, which was announced by the Secretary of State for Education in December 2014 and set up a year ago.”
The new campaign will be led by Christine Hodgson, chair of CapGemini UK and the Careers & Enterprise Company.
“We’ll direct £70 million towards careers in this Parliament, principally to the Careers and Enterprise Company, who will lead this major new effort to recruit mentors for young teenagers, with a focus on the 25,000 about to start their GCSEs who we know are underachieving or at risk of dropping out.
I’ve seen this happen, in some London state schools, one I went to a couple of years ago where every single child coming up to GCSE had a mentor and I think we can be far more ambitious about what is possible in this area.
So by finding inspirational role models and encouraging them to give up some time, I believe we really can help young people make big plans for their future.”
Hodgson said she is “pleased” that the Careers & Enterprise Company has been asked to spearhead the campaign. She added she hopes the effort will “highlight even more opportunities for people to get involved in a meaningful way to help young people who are in danger of becoming disengaged”.
The Careers & Enterprise Company was first put in place under the coalition government in March 2015: Secretary of State for Education evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee available to download at: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/education-committee/careers-guidance-followup/oral/17257.pdf
Cameron’s announcement comes as part of a broader government strategy that Downing Street says aims to combat poverty and improve people’s life chances: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-speech-on-life-chances