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Counting on corporate support

The important role that corporates play in the mentoring process and the mutual benefits Jonathan Freeman May 15, 2015: Mosaic’s mentoring programmes create opportunities for young people growing up in our most deprived communities. At the heart of this is a vision for all young people to be supported to realise their potential. With the help of volunteer mentors acting as role models, the aim...

The important role that corporates play in the mentoring process and the mutual benefits

Jonathan Freeman

May 15, 2015: Mosaic’s mentoring programmes create opportunities for young people growing up in our most deprived communities. At the heart of this is a vision for all young people to be supported to realise their potential. With the help of volunteer mentors acting as role models, the aim is to bridge the aspirations-attainment gap. By linking young people with inspirational role models in this way, not only does their confidence receive a boost but so too does their self-efficacy and long-term employability.

Mosaic currently operates in five UK regions – London, North West, South East, West Midlands and Yorkshire – and has international reach through its International Leadership Programme. In the academic year 2014-15, it will directly support over 6,500 young people in over 200 schools and other institutions including prisons, supported by almost 1,200 volunteers. 80% of our UK beneficiaries were drawn from the 20% most deprived areas of the country. Mosaic’s International Leadership Programme currently supports 80 young leaders from 18 countries

The role the corporate community plays in all of this is vitally important and the value of mentoring cannot be underestimated. Since its inception, Mosaic has continued to work tirelessly with a diverse range of corporate partners to help recruit and train volunteer mentors.

Mentoring is open to all types of businesses. The corporate partners involved with Mosaic vary in size and represent a wide range of sectors. This huge amount of diversity is what helps make the programme such a great success. We recently held the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge 2015 Grand Finals in London involving 4,000 students competing nationally in an inter-school business competition designed to encourage entrepreneurial behaviour and to inspire knowledge and enthusiasm about business. This year, over 400 business mentors from organisations, including Marks & Spencer, HSBC, Jaguar Land Rover, PwC and Ernst & Young to mention a few, have all generously donated their time and expertise. Without their involvement, the initiative simply wouldn’t happen.

Mosaic’s business mentors come from a variety of backgrounds and draw upon a range of knowledge and skills to educate and inspire students. Working with students to link theory with real life is crucial for students’ understanding and adds real value, especially with an initiative such as the  Enterprise Challenge.

One corporate supporter we work very closely with is Al Rayan Bank. Formerly, the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), Al Rayan Bank is the UK’s only wholly Sharia compliant retail bank. It has been pioneering British Islamic banking since 2004.

Al Rayan Bank provides mentors to participate in Mosaic’s mentoring programmes. Employees are encouraged to volunteer from all areas of the business from sales and marketing to HR. All share their experience and knowledge with the young people they are assigned to though a range of activities, such as primary and secondary school mentoring programmes. Some mentors like to get even more involved, offering further inspiration by speaking publicly at events, something that they might not have done before. This is providing new experiences and challenges for the mentors which can be of great benefit to their employers as well as their own career development.

What is very apparent from working with corporate partners is that every business is in a different position in relation to its ability to support good causes. At Al Rayan Bank, which was very much in its first phase of development when the relationship was first explored, the option to provide support through participation and time contribution was much more viable than through monetary means alone. Supporting and providing for charity is an important aspect in the life of a Muslim. As a sharia compliant bank, Al Rayan Bank views charity as a key part of the banks’ ‘business as usual’ activities.

As with many of our corporate partners, Al Rayan Bank is fully committed to supporting and engaging with the communities that it serves and links with local schools are a key element of this commitment. The bank also encourages staff to undertake personal development wherever possible and the programs run by Mosaic are seen as key ways in which staff can develop themselves as well as others, in areas such as coaching skills.

The power of mentoring is undeniable. The opportunities it provides for both parties are considerable and the legacies created enduring. Long may these partnerships continue!

If you would like to help inspire and guide young adults and would like further information about mentoring or any of the Mosaic programmes, please call 020 7566 8734, visit www.mosaicnetwork.co.uk  or email: mosaic@bitc.org.uk

Jonathan Freeman is Managing Director of HRH The Prince of Wales’s charitable mentoring initiative Mosaic

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