What do NASA, Mentoring and Schwarzenegger have in common?


Have you ever overcome difficulty or trauma?

If the answer’s yes, then you may well have a superpower!

A government related report shows that when a young person has a mentor or adviser at post 16 years old, there are improvements in outcomes of 20% plus, especially in young people who are vulnerable and looking for education or employment. (This reflects a possible £150m saving from annual NEET costs – Young people not in Education or Employment- annually across the sector where mentors/careers advisers are provided).

This saving may just be the tip of the iceberg, when you consider future healthcare costs, policing, social services and lost innovation.

When governments and large organisations get involved, translating this into cost savings can be hard for officials in safe jobs to relate to, it can get overcomplicated, but it is very clear providing mentors for young people can change lives.

Unfortunately, many people have a narrow view of the pathway a young person can take, particularly when it comes to academia. At Transitions UK we pride ourselves on working with mentors from a wide variety of variety of backgrounds, because we believe communicating with someone should be ‘person-centred’, not ‘target centred’. This is the only way results become sustainable.

What we’ve learnt from working with mentors from varied backgrounds is that if you’ve faced challenges in your own life then you are probably going to help people as much as anyone whether you have academically been labelled a high achiever or not, because overcoming difficulties is just as relatable and powerful if shared with the right intentions.

An example of a very famous organisation taking this exact same approach and doing so very successfully is NASA. They actually avoid recruiting straight A students, as the last thing you want is someone who has never had a problem, trying to save a rocket ship that is off course!

Another person to look at for inspiration when it comes to mentors and what they can do for you is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He literally turned what many would have framed as his biggest weaknesses into his USP’s (unique selling points).

He was told he would never become an actor because of his accent, his body was too large and his name too hard to pronounce. Yet he literally became one of the biggest movie stars in the world, with the most recognisable accent and name. Why? Because he didn’t let doubters stop him and he made sure he sought out hugely influential mentors, such as Charles ‘Wag’ Bennett, who invited him to East London, to coach him in bodybuilding in his gyms. It was during that time that he improved his rudimentary English and later achieved his dream of moving to America with the help of Joe Weider, the promoter, who he considered a ‘father figure’. Would Arnold be the man he is today without those mentors, it’s likely not.

And the history books are filled with people that have changed the world, but were mentored by others that came before them for example:

· Socrates mentored Plato.

· Gandhi mentored Nelson Mandela through his books.

· Oprah Winfrey had Maya Angelou.

· Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs.

If all of these greats needed mentors, then surely so do the young people in our community who are most in need and are at risk.

The society we live in and it’s get rich quick adverts, and constant seeking of statistics and results before relationships, tends to work with finished products, missing 99% of all the raw talent out there.

At Transitions UK we believe every young person can achieve their potential if they have the desire to change. You could be part of the support pathway that changes a young life!

If you have ever thought “I think I could help prevent a young person making some of the mistakes I did”, you could make an amazing mentor.

If you are interested in finding out what becoming a volunteer mentor can do to change a young person’s life and also do for you, then speak please get in touch. It changed my life; I have no doubt it could change yours!

Michael Green, Aspire Plus Hub Coordinator, Central Bedfordshire, Transitions UK

If you are interested in mentoring and changing a young person’s life please visit us at: https://www.transitionsuk.org/volunteer or if you prefer a conversation please email: Michael.Green@Transitionsuk.org

Ref : https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/sites/default/files/uploaded/1488_destinations_report_final.pdf