Learning mentors work on a group or one-to-one basis with children of all ages. The job typically involves supporting school students but some learning mentors work with young offenders or adult learners. Typical responsibilities include:
- working with school staff to select students for mentoring
- discussing the aims of mentoring with pupils
- supporting pupils inside and outside of the classroom
- agreeing and writing action plans
- making home visits to talk to parents about issues and to offer advice about strategies to deal with problems
- liaising with schools, teachers, social workers and educational psychologists and making referrals where appropriate
- organising and running drop-in sessions and music and sports events for pupils
- aiding pupils with the transition to secondary education
- helping pupils to increase their confidence and self-esteem by listening to them and devising appropriate strategies
Learning mentors are typically employed by primary or secondary schools or further education colleges.
Prior experience of working with young people, whether on a paid or voluntary basis, is essential, and mentoring experience is an advantage. Voluntary mentoring schemes are organised by many universities and some local authorities. Paid job vacancies are advertised in newspapers, online and in local authority jobs bulletins.
You can enter this area from any degree background, and roles may also be open to those who do not have higher education qualifications, particularly if they have gained relevant experience through work or volunteering. It may be an advantage to have professional qualifications or training in areas such as health, psychology, education, guidance, or youth or social work.
It can be helpful to have a degree or higher national diploma (HND) in psychology or social science, or a national curriculum subject – particularly English or maths. You will need to demonstrate a good standard of general education, and you will need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance in order to work with children.
- Interpersonal skills
- Listening skills
- Organisational skills
- Problem solving skills
- Communication skills
- A non-judgemental approach
- Ability to relate to young people and act as a role model