Employer mentor case studies

What's it really like to be a YC Hertfordshire mentor?

This is what some of our mentors had to say about their experiences of mentoring young people.


Danielle French

CSR Manager, T&B Contractors (Limited), mentored a Year 10 student

When I found out about YC Hertfordshire mentoring scheme, I couldn’t wait to get started! I had requested to mentor a student from a school for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). I wanted to challenge myself, but also to be able to understand all the different disabilities and how to manage them when working with a young person with SEND. It was so rewarding watching the young student progress throughout the sessions and being a part of making that difference. I also learnt about their disability and how they portray themselves. Throughout the six months I also learnt a lot about myself. It opens your eyes as to what teenagers go through. I would definitely recommend anyone to join the programme, especially mentoring a student with additional needs.


Shelley Owide

Partner at Dr Clean (previously Director of Merchandising at TM Lewin), mentored a Year 8 student

When I heard about the YC Hertfordshire mentoring scheme it really appealed as I wanted to do something that would help young people and also use the experience I have gained in 35 years of working in the retail industry. The mentoring scheme helps young people with all areas of their school life as well as building relationships and choosing a career. My mentee also wanted to discuss a broad spectrum of other topics, which was enjoyable but at times challenging.

This was my first experience of mentoring a young person and it exceeded my expectations. I feel I have benefited from the experience and have learnt that people’s experiences are very different and have a huge impact on their views of the future. I’ve also learnt that you have to be really open and inventive when looking for solutions and be prepared to ‘think outside the box’.


Liz Mitchell

Sales Assistant at F Hinds Jewellers, mentored a Year 10 student

I feel strongly that young people go through a lot: they are faced with big decisions, such as career choices, and often have to deal with personal challenges at home or at school at the same time. I think having a non-judgemental adult to talk things through with is hugely beneficial for them and shows them they are not alone.

My mentee was a young carer for her mother and had some behaviour problems at school. She felt she was not listened to and that she wouldn’t be able to go to university/college, which was one of her goals. I think our meetings helped her realise that she could achieve what she wanted to and gave her an increased sense of self-worth and self-belief.

I found mentoring a very rewarding experience and I found my mentees resilience and upbeat nature very inspiring. To be a mentor I’ve learnt that you need to be open, inquisitive and be yourself. Young people are intuitive and respond well when they feel they have an adult on their side who is being genuine and who wants to help. To anyone considering mentoring - you should go for it!


Chris Mason

Director & owner of Intelligent people Ltd, mentored a Year 10 student
I developed a good relationship with my mentee over the five months I supported him, and I certainly noticed that he gained confidence as the sessions went on.  We talked about what he wanted to achieve and problems he was experiencing. He didn’t really have any goals before we met and was living day to day. I tried to help him understand the importance of school work and its connection with what happens in the future. We talked a lot about post-school options and that he was very much in control of his own performance and that the time to influence his grades was right now. I hope that this helped him to focus and make subtle changes to his attitude and outlook on life.                                                                                                                             

I found mentoring a very rewarding experience and was very well supported by my supervisor and the school.


Tracey Walton

Retired teacher who now works for several charities including Carers in Herts and Family Life’s helpline and owns of an education consultancy business
I am a retired teacher and began mentoring young people eight years ago Safe Space mentoring programme. From my experience of working in education I know that young people in a crisis are looked after as well as possible, but many more lacked guidance which could perhaps prevent a crisis and help them achieve their potential. A couple of hours a month spent listening to a young person, allowing them to be heard, is impossible for already stretched professionals, yet is invaluable in the long term.

I love mentoring young people and feel that young people respond well to being mentored by a volunteer who is not a parent or a teacher, but is just there for them, even though we do not always have the answer or solution. I have gained so much from being a mentor – it is both rewarding and fun. I would unreservedly recommend it. Expect a few tears and some anxious moments but, in the main on every drive home, you will smile and enjoy the feeling and privilege of supporting a young person at a key time in their lives.

Paul Goldstone

Managing director of Homebrands Outlet Stores Ltd, mentored a Year 8 student

I decided to volunteer as a mentor as I wanted to use my life experiences to support young people to realise their own potential. My first mentee had very little direction in his life and the school needed some help to identify his issues and what could help him.

My mentee wanted to improve his behaviour and ultimately his experience of school. He certainly made progress in this area and the school is now providing him with more support. Throughout mentoring my mentee has also realised that if he takes more responsibility for his actions he will not only improve his behaviour but also his grades.

I believe that most people can remember a time when they needed somebody to talk to, who was on their side, willing to listen and able to offer support. Being a mentor really can change the outcome of a young person’s life and can be very fulfilling. To be an effective mentor you need to be a good listener, be very patient and read between the lines. All mentees I have come across have really appreciated the support, even though they may not have said so!

Lucy Hammill

Support Officer, Bishops Stortford & Rural Family Safeguarding, Hertfordshire County Council, mentored a Year 8, female student

I feel I was definitely matched with a suitable mentee who I could relate to and empathise with. We discussed courses at local colleges and the importance of getting GCSEs beforehand. We also talked about future goals, personal interests, social media, decision making, confidence and work, looking at option choices and qualifications. I built up a good relationship with my mentee and we were also able to talk about her social life and situations with school peers and friends.

Personally I feel like I have benefitted greatly from mentoring. It has given me the opportunity to carry out one to one work with a young person and make a difference in their life. The initial mentor training was thorough and enjoyable and I felt supported by my supervisor, YC Hertfordshire and the school. I also benefitted from the extra training given, such as the online-safety CEOP training. I enjoyed the experience and it has given me the experience and skills to progress in my career.