'Real benefits for both the mentees and mentors'

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Thames Water is supporting two mentoring programmes that have the potential to kick-start the lives of young people.

The first, run in conjunction with mentoring charity Adviza, is focused in Berkshire and helps a range of teenagers.

The second programme, called Behind Every Kick, centres on the east London area and combines football with an ‘off-the-pitch’ syllabus which develops resilience building, time management skills and key character traits like ambition, commitment and discipline.

The project uses sport to reach young people at GCSE level and includes group and personal development sessions with experts, Lane 4. Their clients include the England National football team.

Project coordinator Jason Mckoy said: “This is a great project with some heavyweight support. We have a group of talented young men at a crossroads in their lives. The project seeks to provide support from the platform of their involvement in football. However, mentors needn’t share the boys’ passion for football.

“We’re looking for people with life experience willing to use it to help support a young man with his life ahead of him.”

Thames Water has been working with Adviza for three years and so far 14 employees have helped make a difference to young people in the Thames Valley.

Thames Water’s Mike Dick, who has been involved in this mentoring programme for two years, said: “I’ve really enjoyed the experience – it’s had real benefits for both the mentees and mentors.  One of the youngsters I mentored showed a real improvement in self-confidence over the time we were meeting. The experience helped him take more control over what he wanted to do next.

“I’ve also been involved in helping people back into the workplace with support on writing CVs, job applications and mock interviews. I think this helped people appreciate the skills they have which sometimes they don’t recognise themselves."