BT Launches mentoring programme at Hounslow school

Ten teenagers to work with BT mentors in bid to raise aspirations 

Heston Community School in Hounslow is the latest school to take part in a new schools mentoring scheme launched by BT, which aims to support students as they prepare for the transition from education to employment. 

The ten students from Heston Community School, who hail from diverse backgrounds, will start their mentoring programme today. They will have six mentoring sessions in total and complete their programme in June 2014. 

BT’s new schools mentoring programme has specially chosen mentors who will be working closely with students in London schools over the coming year. 

The pilot Schools mentoring programme, which started in September 2012 and has been very successful in schools based in Croydon, Harringey and Leytonstone, is designed to help the teenagers reach their full potential. The mentoring programme shows the students how their interests and skills can steer them towards the right career path. 

Recent government statistics reveal that nearly 17 per cent (16.9) of 16 to 24-year-olds in London are not in education, training or employment 1 and mentoring is one key way of trying to address this issue. 

The BT mentors are all members of the BT Ethnic Minority Network. The network’s aim is to support fellow staff to ensure that people from all walks of life are able to flourish and integrate fully at BT. 

The skills and experiences developed by the members of this network are being shared externally, as the mentors work closely with 14 to 16-year-olds, in the London borough of Hounslow. 

Tony Chanmugam, BT’s finance director and also the company’s diversity champion, explained why BT developed this programme. He said: “At BT we know how the right support and guidance can really help an individual navigate their way through obstacles and issues. Our mentors will work closely with students, with the support of their teachers and parents, to offer a fresh perspective and a real insight into how to forge a successful career path. It is critical that we invest in our young people and equip them with the skills they need to succeed in life. This not only benefits them, but benefits the communities they live in and helps London and the UK as a whole.” 

The schools involved have chosen students who they feel will particularly benefit from the support of a mentor; some need a boost in confidence and others want a different perspective or just the opportunity to talk to someone who may share similar life experiences.

Maria Mateos who is a student from Heston Community School, said: “I’m looking forward to working with my mentor as he has given me lots of advice about the importance of school and plans to put in place for the rest of my life. This will be the first Business Mentor I have ever had and I’m looking towards the future with a different outlook.” 

Phil Ward, Headteacher at Heston Community School, said: “We are about to embark on an exciting new venture with BT’s Ethnic Minority Network. Students will be able to learn from their personal challenges and setbacks, and turn them into positive opportunities for success. The students are eager to be part of the mentoring programme and to create constructive chances in life for the future.” 

Seema Malhotra MP, Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston, said: "I am delighted to see BT launch its ethnic minority network mentoring scheme in Heston Community School. This mentoring scheme will help our local students aim high and grow their own aspirations. I have no doubt that those involved with the programme will be inspired by the programme and themselves become role models to other pupils in the years to come." 

Each mentor will work with two students and they will complete two sessions in each of the three school terms. As the relationship builds, they will develop a plan which will support and encourage the students, building their aspirations and enabling them to discuss anything from finding work experience placements and apprenticeships to exploring further education possibilities and sharing experiences. 

Malcolm Weston, chairman of the BT Ethnic Minority Network, said: “Mentoring the students who are in transition to either post school education; training or employment is a great way of supporting and contributing to the community.” 

Notes to editors 
 1 Statistics taken from Department of Education website. 

Mentoring can play an important role in helping young people to raise standards, tackle and learn from challenges and setbacks thereby creating a new culture of opportunity and success. The BT EMN has successfully operated a mentoring scheme for its members within BT for a number of years. As a result of this success the BTEMN expanded the mentoring programme into the community, by introducing a pilot scheme to with 3 schools in the London area for the academic year. The aim of the Mentoring Programme is to support young students in their transition to post-school education, training, and employment. 

We recognise by investing in and supporting our communities, we can help to build a more economically sustainable, educated and socially-inclusive society. That’s why we invest one per cent of our annual pre-tax profits into programmes which benefit communities and the environment. 

About The BT Ethnic Minority Network (BTEMN) 
The BT Ethnic Minority Network (BTEMN) is one of the employee networks within BT and was established in 1994, to play an active part in delivering the business value that diversity holds. The BT EMN’s mission is to provide ethnic minority individuals and groups with access to opportunities and platforms, to thrive in a changing BT - enabling them to develop, contribute, work collaboratively, and drive forward the benefits of diversity to the company, to our members and to the local community.