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City Lions mentoring programme delivers positive outcomes for both young people and working professionals in Westminster

Recruitment begins for the next cohort of the council’s mentoring programme after 100% of young people on pilot rate it as excellent and 90% of working professionals recommend it to others.

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Mentors and mentees at closing ceremony

Published: 9 November 2021

In response to the loss of and disruption to careers education caused by the pandemic, Westminster City Council’s dedicated youth team, City Lions, developed a mentoring pilot to respond to the changing needs of young people.

Its objective - to empower a group of young people to explore their career choices, broaden their horizons and help nurture their ambitions with the guidance of mentors.

Young people’s careers education has been significantly impacted due to COVID-19. Remote working and home schooling resulted in many opportunities such as work experience being cancelled and uncertainty remains about how these opportunities can take place in the same way.  

Having access to a professional work environment or inspiring individual is highly effective for young people. 1 in 3 young people do not have access to a role model or parents who are able to support them in accessing the labour market so an opportunity to speak to or work alongside a mentor can make a huge difference to their confidence and future aspirations.  

Recognising the importance of this issue, the City Lions team launched its mentoring pilot in May 2021.

The City Lions team engaged thirty-four young individuals from school years 10 and 11, including young people in care, who are young carers or neurodiverse. Working professionals were recruited from a range of creative industries, including TV, marketing and advertising, theatre, technology and engineering to become their mentors.

Over the four-month pilot, the mentoring pairs met virtually every two weeks and the mentors supported the young people to develop their skills in areas including goal setting, confidence, communication, creative thinking and careers. Some mentors also took their mentees to their workplaces.

A mentor and mentee at a workplace

The pilot proved hugely successful - an incredible 100% mentees rated their overall experience as excellent and 90% of mentors said they would recommend their experience with City Lions to others.

One mentee said:

I would say it teaches you a lot and can inform you about yourself and help you in so many ways. You are in a safe space to talk and can have a lot of fun.

A mentor said:

I really enjoyed this opportunity. The City Lions team were great, and I can strongly say I feel both myself and my mentee got some great learnings and development from the programme.

After the success of the pilot, the City Lions team has now begun recruiting mentees and mentors for the next programme running from January to June 2022.

Councillor Timothy Barnes, Cabinet Member for Young People and Learning said:

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge amount of upheaval for our young people. We are determined to help bring a sense of normality back to their lives and this includes helping them boost their confidence and explore the many future work opportunities for them in Westminster. I am delighted we had such a strong positive response from the first cohort on the mentoring pilot and I’m excited for the next mentors and mentees to benefit from an even more enhanced programme from January.  

If you would like the opportunity to help shape a young person’s future by sharing guidance and insight as a mentor, find out more about the City Lions programme including an opportunity to attend a virtual information session on Friday 12 November